Ghostwriter FAQ

For information on the typical ghostwriting process, visit our service page and for a brief outline to all of our author services, visit the writing services section.

What is a ghostwriter?

A ghostwriter (or ‘ghost writer’) is someone you can hire to write your book in an undisclosed fashion. Professional ghostwriters (‘ghost writers’) in the publishing industry are writers who write books for authors in this way.

Although they are normally invisible, there are collaborative authoring options and sometimes a ghostwriter will feature as a co-author. This collaborative co-author approach is often the best choice for certain books as this can increase the chances of a book being published. Therefore, acknowledging the ghostwriter through the use of ‘and’ or ‘with’ can be an author’s preference, although most of the time nobody will ever know they were involved.

Why would I hire a ghostwriter?

Because you don’t know where to begin, how to do it, or have the time. Whether it is a short business e-book, a deep literary memoir, or a factual book on the history of a shop, writing will take time, research, dedication and commitment. Writing well is a specialised skill that a lot of people just don’t have the time or interest in mastering. This is where a professional writing firm can help you. Often people search for a ghostwriter when they are in need of an editor or some general guidance but people hire a ghostwriter when they have ambitious publishing goals and need help turning a general idea of a life story into a complete, well-written creative product.

How does a ghostwriter help me to write my book? What is the actual process?

To begin, they will need to gather information. Telephone calls, video meetings and face-to-face sit-downs are normal. The amount of time needed will depend on the project. Following any information-gathering stage, contact will continue but you will also want to leave a writer to do their professional work in private while remaining contactable. As the project hits different levels and continually evolves, the process shifts and the relationship changes. Sometimes it is just video meetings with your ghost, other times it is field research – meeting the family, returning to crime scenes, or diving into the National Archives.

We will lead you through the development process – your job should be mainly talking and answering questions but this depends on who you are as a person. Often, we set our clients writing tasks such as journaling or even putting down a skeleton or sample chapter.

My life story would make an excellent book or film, can a ghostwriter help me?

Yes. Lots of people have had fascinating lives and have been told ‘that would make a great book’. Biographies, autobiographies or memoirs are among the most common things that we are asked to work on. Our goal will be to identify the message at the heart of your story while making sure the writing grips the reader’s attention. Although the narrative adventure of your life story is exciting, the execution of the writing will need to match the adventure. Writing styles will be stress tested but through behind-the-scenes workshops and meetings, we’ll eventually align the tone and form with the story. This increases the chance of getting published and having any commercial success which is to start a very difficult endeavour.

I want to shop around; how do I find a professional?

Use a search engine to start with and change your term from ‘ghostwriter’ to ‘ghost writer’. ‘Find a ghostwriter’ and ‘ghostwriter services’ are also helpful key search terms. Business index websites can be helpful. Outside these basic approaches, you can contact publishers or agents and use more traditional directories such as the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook or Publishers Global. As members of the IPG we will be recommended as a trusted ghostwriting company.

Can you get my story published as a book or produced as a film?

Some of the most surprising results come out of manuscripts that were ambitious enough to be submitted to a literary agent. Timing and persistence are important factors here. If a project is submitted to an agent who happens to be looking for ‘that very thing’ at ‘that very time’, you will be happy you invested in having the work written professionally, packaged appropriately and submitted with a quality cover letter.

Publishing houses and literary agents in the UK/US are easy to approach when submitting but they require a specific submission package and approach for a new author to be taken seriously. Standing out is essential.

We know from agents and publishers that the majority of creative projects – books or films – are not accepted because the standard is not high enough. Our process increases the chances that your book will be considered for publication and a lot of this is to do with the time we spend on the proposal document. We will submit with you or on your behalf and our contacts become your contacts. Because the goal is normally to secure a publishing contract we will be developing the project with this intention.

Once you get in contact with us and we workshop your idea, we will offer you our opinion on the project, sometimes via a paid Manuscript Assessment and this appraisal will help us all understand its potential, and this will then be squared with the various options.

Different projects find different homes in different markets and the publishing industry is refining itself with the rise of self-publishing services and a greater variety of author services – some of which compete with traditional houses. As a result, new opportunities are presenting themselves for new writers who want to self-publish but people do judge a book by its front cover and publishers are well aware of this. Professional designers and other specialists in production make a huge difference to sales and credibility all round. Most self-publishing companies use cookie-cutter templates for design with only limited graphics that are very basic, so if you’re self-publishing your book we will want to partner you with the companies we recommend.

How much does it cost to hire you as my ghostwriter?

Your project will be categorised as a mini-scale, mid-scale, large-scale, or full-scale piece of work. This depends on the number of weeks or months we will need to invest, as well as who will be working on it and when. Visit our Prices page for more info.

How long does it take?

The majority of books take between 1 and 2 years to complete. This can change depending on the material we are given to get moving, the amount of research required and the size of the project.

Which writer will I be working with at The London Ghostwriting Company?

This will depend on the kind of project you have. Our team all have specific areas of expertise so we are able to partner every client with the most capable lead writer. You will be in contract with LGC, the company and the process will be managed. A lead writer will be assigned, an editor, and often a consultant. When specific specialist subjects are being explored, we bring on external consultants to provide their advice.

It is important you get on well with your lead writer (and our entire team) so video and 1 to 1 meets are always arranged. Each enquiry we receive is unique so every project is managed differently, and every team we run is always slightly different (and at times changing during production). Our writers are in high demand and are subject to availability, so you may have to wait up to six months for us to service the project. You will normally work with us as a whole team but interact for the majority of the process with your lead writer. We are editors and ghostwriters based throughout the UK but the majority of us are London-based ghostwriters and editors.

How do I know you are capable as a firm? What is your experience as a company?

Always request samples from your proposed editor or ghostwriter and go with recommendations. If you are not fully convinced, keep searching. It is important to remember ghostwriters are ‘invisible’ and may not be in a legal position (due to confidentiality) to send you many samples of their past works. You may, however, see work they have published in their own names. You can request they release samples via NDA or pay them to produce trial chapters.

At The London Ghostwriting Company, we write fiction and non-fiction for all kinds of people from all nationalities and backgrounds and will never take on a project that we are not well suited for.

A good ghostwriter will be able to write in numerous styles and genres to deliver different messages and themes. The reason LGC have a team and then a wider pool of creative writers is to widen the availability – not all writers are going to be able to execute and deliver the prose in the style that is right for the book. Descriptive, poetic, direct, dense, remote – there are different types of writers writing in different styles and it is our job to organise a set-up that is right for you and accommodates your publishing goals. In addition to natural ability, our writers have spent years mastering the craft and have careers outside of LGC; in publishing, as teachers or as established authors.

We work with professional editors, consultants and proofreaders who are some of the best in our industry.

How do I know you will fulfil your contract and finish my book?

You will sign a ‘Writer for Hire’ contract where all of the specifics are mentioned regarding issues of responsibility, confidentiality, warranties, etc.

Can a ghostwriter use the work they have written but I have paid for? How does Copyright work?

In the contract, you will sign into an Ownership Rights clause which shall assign ownership and intellectual property rights for the project to you as you pay for it.

What if there is a disagreement and the ghostwriter will not do what I want them to do?

You are paying for them to write what you want as best as they can. They will upgrade and enhance your idea and this process will require clarity during conversation as well as flexibility from both parties. You will also need to take into consideration your own publishing goals. Often the writing is accommodating that as well as your own requests.

What if I don’t like what my ghostwriter has done?

With us, this is a rare occurrence due to the amount of time a client will spend with their ghostwriter during the pre-production and the development of the book.

Do I need to sign a contract?

With us – yes. Legally you do not need to sign into a contract but there are benefits to this and it can enhance, motivate, and lock in progress, helping to see things through from a deposit payment all the way to completion.

Are you a team of professional writers? Are you a professional company?

Our writers are academic professionals and are represented by independent agents. Luke Shipman is the Founder of The London Ghostwriting Company and is a member of the SOA, the ALCS, the WGGB and other UK publishing associations and groups such as the CWA and the HWA. LGC’s editors are Advanced Professionals at the CIEP. The London Ghostwriting Company and LGC is the trade name of Ghostwriter Services UK LIMITED which is a fully insured incorporated business with positive reviews and a comprehensive company history. Luke Shipman has an MA in Scriptwriting (Goldsmiths College, University of London) and has been working as a professional writer for hire since 2005. LGC is a core team of five story specialists and has immediate access to the work and collaboration of a pool of over thirty other professionals. We continue to partner with professional and reputable groups, nonprofits and associations in UK publishing. Our industry connections in the UK and the US in mass media range from big corporates to single freelance artists.

We believe we offer the highest ghostwriting standards in the UK and some of the best editorial and writing too. Our writers are all published professionals with literary agents. LGC will carefully vet and interview all of their writers qualifying them over a period of months. The in-house team will discuss and agree new writers together.

Some of our ghostwriters have bestselling titles to their names, have won awards and are known in the industry and although our clients get to know them, many of them won’t be featured on this website.

What is the history of the company?

On November 16th 2016, the business was incorporated as a limited company. Ghostwriter Services UK LIMITED now trades under the brand name The London Ghostwriting Company or LGC. The company number is 10482126 and our registered office is located with publishing specialists in South London.

The Regent Street address listed is now a business address only. Please do not send any manuscripts to this address as they will not be read.