Ghost Writing or Byline


It was a shock to my system – like cold water spilled on you in a nice warm bed. I’ve been writing content and articles for companies over the last couple of years – some refer to it as ghost writing – which I knew were sold without my name adorning the work. The companies have been putting the work on the internet through press releases, their own websites or other avenues. Today was the first time I saw my work with someone else’s name.

I’ve had friends that would ghost write an eBook or report and then would get it as an offer from one of the forums that they were on. It is not unusual for something like that to happen to a successful ghost writer. You stumble over your content that isn’t really yours. Today was the first time that it has happened to me and I was a bit surprised at my feelings.

There is no reason for me to be hurt. As a ghost writer I knew that I wasn’t getting a byline and I was paid relatively well for the article. But there is still just a twinge of disappointment that my name wasn’t below the title.

This empty hollow in my stomach now has me wondering if I should be sending my “children” off to be on their own without any connection to me. Is it worth the paycheck to see my work with someone else’s name? This was so much easier before I had to see it face to face.

What are some of the benefits of ghost writing?

    1. My name isn’t on it. As much as I hate to admit it, if I’m not getting a byline then I’m not quite as meticulous as I am when I know my own name will be stamped on the top.

    2. I get to write outside of my expertise. No one in their right mind wants to know what I think about cars, or computers or anything else that isn’t baked, diapered or alive. I’m NOT mechanically inclined, but I can play someone that is on the internet through my writing.

    3. The jobs can be easier to find (and sometimes you are even compensated for NOT getting a byline). There are so many companies, individuals and groups that are looking for help to fill their website with content.

Ghost writing is a great way for me to earn a few extra bucks each month with out the added pressure of being responsible for the work. I will continue to do ghost writing – only now I intend to avoid following the links that I know will lead to ghost content so that the emptiness can be replaced by my trip to the bank to cash the check.

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  • Hi Kathryn –

    I’ve never ghostwritten, but have done work for hire. While I got a byline, I can’t sell reprints.

    Personally, I’m avoiding the whole issue as much as possible. If I’m writing something I want a byline. Maybe things will change down the road, but that’s my thinking right now.

    Susan 🙂

    • Hey Susan – I like ghost writing for some things, but I’m finding that I prefer my name on my work – especially when I see it somewhere and someone else is getting the credit ;).