Ghostwriter Checklist

Before you hire a ghostwriter to write articles for you, here’s a simple checklist you can use to make sure you don’t get taken for a ride or find your EzineArticles account suspended:

____) Will the content be original works only?
____) Will I own the exclusive rights to the content?
____) Have I checked each article received from the ghostwriter in CopyScape or performed random complex sentences searches in Google, Yahoo and MSN to make sure it’s really original works?

What else should be on your ghostwriter quality checklist?

29 Comments »


1
Dr.Q writes:

I trully believe that if a person would really like to publish an article, it should be written by that person.
hired writers for a biography is another thing apart.

Comment provided September 22, 2006 at 7:00 AM

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2
Ruth writes:

Good Morining,

Do you have any idea how many authors do use ghost writers?

Comment provided September 22, 2006 at 7:04 AM

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3

Ruth,

Gut feel is a very small percentage.

We don’t target or consider an author who hires a ghostwriter as an ideal EzineArticles author because their expertise is displaced or not to be trusted the same.

For experts who can’t communicate however to save themselves with the written word, ghostwriters give them equal-footing chance to participate in sites like ours, etc.

Comment provided September 22, 2006 at 7:07 AM

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4
Ruth writes:

Chris

I have learned some very good and interesting info from you.

A lot more than some of the false info I have learned from some of the marketing “gurus”

Thanks,

Comment provided September 22, 2006 at 7:33 AM

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5
Pamela Beers writes:

If a person can’t write their own original articles, then they shouldn’t be writing. Furthermore, I do not understand how someone can take credit for something they didn’t write, and as an author there is no way I’m putting someone else’s name on my work.

Comment provided September 22, 2006 at 9:05 AM

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6
Edward Weiss writes:

Pamela, some people have a VERY rough time writing anything let alone a 300-600 word article. Hence the ghostwriter market.

Comment provided September 22, 2006 at 11:05 AM

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7
Pamela Beers writes:

Perhaps non-writers should take a writing course.

Comment provided September 22, 2006 at 12:08 PM

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8
Ruth writes:

Does EzineArticles give teleseminars on article writing?

Comment provided September 22, 2006 at 12:12 PM

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9
Dina writes:

People hire other people to write ads, articles, letters, etc. for them all the time. It’s really not a big deal.

Dina

Comment provided September 22, 2006 at 2:52 PM

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10
Lance Winslow writes:

I think it is a Lie to have someone write an article for you and then use a Byline that says you the so-called expert wrote it? That is really fraud. It is straddling a category of deceit using the theories of freedom of the press. It is a lie? What else can you call it.

Likewise creating BUZZ Marketing, and then throwing out some “Made-Up” name is also borderline fraud and some day that too will become an issue.

Besides that it is “Cheating” but that is apparently what “human societies” feel is acceptable. As the world becomes closer together there will be more fraud, deceit, cheating and such because whereas modern civilizations do it rather hush-hush in other third worlds, everyone does it, everyone knows it and it is the norm.

It takes no brains or intelligence whatsoever to cheat, anyone can do it. Anyone can make up a lie and run with it. Oh, they think they are smarty pants and all that and create a who intricate story. But the true intelligence comes from having integrity and making that work.

Hiring someone to write for you is not bad I suppose, but hiding the fact that they did is wrong. Hiring an editor to help you write I suppose is okay, because in the end it is your thoughts and ideas that are there, not someone elses.

Humans like to imitate, copy, plagiarize, cheat, lie and tell sneaky secrets for fear someone will find out that they are fake. With all the time they spend doing all this, they could have simply really done whatever it is they are pretending to be or do.

Look, I wrote all my articles myself, obviously with no help, you can tell from the first couple of thousand due to grammar and mistakes. It would be nice to have those edited or go back of course, that would be acceptable I believe.

There are some articles online at some article submission sites written by a group of people, that are using fake names and Buzz Marketing Bylines, to send targeted Internet Traffic to them.

Some day the FTC will crack down on these people, because of the above before mentioned reasons. Perhaps you folks might like to educate yourselves. The FTC and other groups are not only after Spam, Phishing, Identity theft and online scams. They are after Buzz Marketers pretending to be objective consumers and fake names of authors qualifies as pretending.

http://blj.ucdavis.edu/article/637/

http://www.technologymarketing.com/bw/news/recent_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001307628

http://www.ftc.gov/speeches/majoras/060503eraspeech.pdf#search=%22buzz%20marketing%20scams%20ftc%22

Despite what some people think. This article-marketing niche does indeed straddle many online regulated industries and categories. It is for that reason that anything that is not transparent is at risk of being targeted by consumer groups, Federal Agencies and regulators. And when they do, they do not play by the rules either and if you are an online article author who straddles the fence you are indeed possibly to be targeted as an example.

So the agencies can prove self-worth to the consumers that they are indeed doing something about online fraud. Irregardless of your good intentions or defense stance; “Well Everyone Else is Doing it?” or “I did not write it, I paid someone else too” or “You can’t blame me that is not even my real name.”

Why not just write your own articles, stop over-hyping things you sell, stop hiding behind pen names, stop paying someone else to do your work because you are lazy, weak and unwilling to give it 110% in everything you do! That is all for now, have a nice day.

Comment provided September 22, 2006 at 6:13 PM

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11
Dominic Dirupo writes:

I spent some time in the ghostwriting market to get my feet and refine my technique.

You can experiment a lot in this phase as most people are happy to get anything decent and original.

The great majority of ghostwriters churn out dry content, which is a copy of a copy of a copy so the tips given by Christopher in the post are really useful when trying to hire a good pen.

Comment provided September 22, 2006 at 7:34 PM

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12
Jeff Pettit writes:

I’m just starting to write my first article. I considered going down to the local uni and finding some students to work on a few articles, but thought I will learn a lot more by putting them together myself.

Comment provided September 23, 2006 at 1:28 AM

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13
Dina writes:

Lance, I agree with your assertions regarding buzz marketers who use fake names. I also think it’s a great idea to have your articles professionally edited, absolutely, yes.

But I don’t agree with your opinion that every “expert” should be writing his or her own articles. Dangle a participle in the wrong place or use too many ambiguous pronouns and you’re looking at a lawsuit because “you said something that came out wrong and someone messed up or got hurt because of it.”

This is particularly so in the case of highly technical subjects– engineered structures, machinery, and so forth. Such content demands a writer who knows how to communicate exactly what is meant, and not a hair less or more.

With respect to author names: there is no way of getting around the “by line” of a web article because this is how web article content is structured. If you really feel that guilty about having someone else write your articles for you, you’re free to state the truth of the matter in the copy. “This article provided by so-and-so.” There you go, problem solved!

You mention the “so called expert,” well, yes, you’re still the expert, providing the information and assuring the correct facts, even if you didn’t craft the sentences. It doesn’t take away your credibility to have someone construct an article on your behalf.

And while I’m mostly disagreeing with you, dear Lance, I don’t think that “ethics” and “intelligence” have anything to do with each other. After all, computer programmers are the ones who create viruses. High IQ + No Scruples or Integrity = Dangerous Individual.

Finally: you don’t need a phony name to go marauding as an expert on a topic about which you actually know little. All you really need is a sounding board and a healthy dose of self entitlement.

Comment provided September 23, 2006 at 8:26 AM

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14
Lance Winslow writes:

Dina, Regarding your issues with Experts allowing others to write their articles for them; Well if an expert in an industry does not have the knowledge to write their own articles then they are not an Expert are they? I mean if someone else is writing your articles then it is their brain and mind doing the work not the expert.

If however an expert is talking into a new Song Digital Recorder with 37 hours and 64mb memory card and having someone take his ideas and put them into words that is different.

But simply having paying someone else to write 45 articles in the next thirty days on Trademark Law, Business Management and Diet Plans to prevent Diabetes and then the so-called expert puts their name on it, just so they can increase their PPC advertising on their website, well that is dishonest and I believe it to be unacceptable. They did not write it, someone else did and they are taking credit as if they wrote it; that is lying. I think it is just as bad when people pay for a mail order Diploma without studying and then put that on their resume as proof of their education. That is fraud.

Editing is one thing, or a writer taking an Experts main points from a digital recorder, email to them or a lousy article they wrote and turning it into a perfect article, well that is fine and yes proper editing can keep someone out of trouble with political correctness, media or potential lawsuit in this unbelievable litigious society. However, at the same time hiring someone else to write your articles, without knowledge can also get someone into trouble and if the expert does not know what they are doing then how would they know that the writer made a mistake. We had NYT writers plagiarizing and making up news remember? And they were suppose to be best of breed writers after all they worked at the self proclaimed and with award winning NYT journalists right? Thus hiring someone to write your articles does not guarantee that they will keep you out of trouble.

You state; ‚¬“This is particularly so in the case of highly technical subjects‚¬€ engineered structures, machinery, and so forth. Such content demands a writer who knows how to communicate exactly what is meant, and not a hair less or more.‚¬

Indeed, however if the Expert is truly an expert of the highly technical subject then he or she should be able to write it them selves or collaborate with others who together have all their names on the research or white paper.

You state; ‚¬“With respect to author names: there is no way of getting around the ‚¬“by line‚¬ of a web article because this is how web article content is structured. If you really feel that guilty about having someone else write your articles for you, you’re free to state the truth of the matter in the copy. ‚¬“This article provided by so-and-so.‚¬ There you go, problem solved!‚¬

Sure that would solve the problem and yet have you ever once seen an article author come clean and write something like that? I agree that would solve this issue, but those who cheat would most likely never do that. Their integrity level is so low, that would be a shot in the dark. So, Dina, this is in an interesting conversation, what say you?

You state; ‚¬“you’re still the expert, providing the information and assuring the correct facts, even if you didn’t craft the sentences. It doesn’t take away your credibility to have someone construct an article on your behalf.‚¬

Well I do not disagree, but really my point is addressing those who just pay others to write all their articles and provide no input and then take credit, while not caring because they are merely hoping to attract target traffic in some endeavor. Now if Tom Clancy has some ghostwriters, well they are already writing fiction, not non-fiction and they generally do give the other writers some credit as Co-authors.

You state; ‚¬“I don’t think that ‚¬“ethics‚¬ and ‚¬“intelligence‚¬ have anything to do with each other. After all, computer programmers are the ones who create viruses. High IQ + No Scruples or Integrity = Dangerous Individual.‚¬

Well my comment is that it takes little intelligence to take the easy road and cheat, as anyone can cheat. It does take much more intelligence do it right and do it with integrity. You comment about dangerous individuals seems to be true in observation of human behavior.

You state; ‚¬“Finally: you don’t need a phony name to go marauding as an expert on a topic about which you actually know little. All you really need is a sounding board and a healthy dose of self-entitlement.‚¬

Perhaps, however if you put your name on your words and stand by them you do so with transparency, honesty and integrity; even if your opinions or perceptions are not the most widely accepted. Additionally, it is amazing how many people Think they know something due to education, when in reality they have been brainwashed into believing it; educated derelicts motif. Simply supporting a party line, industry association view, an entrenched cultural or religious way of thinking does not mean you are right. Limited and linear thought due to accepting established rhetoric does not make one a learned man, it just proves that they are still within the cave staring at the flickering flame. He who challenges the experts trusts their thoughts and observations is the true man of knowledge and not the other way around.

Regarding the phony name and then claiming to be one with knowledge is a silly notion, in that if you are a nobody and know something then you are a somebody with another motive. So then what is the motive and why hide in the shadows.

Comment provided September 23, 2006 at 8:15 PM

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15
Matt Keegan writes:

The majority of my work lately has been ghostwritten material for one or two clients. I won’t defend what I do as I see no need to do so no matter what someone else may think about the subject.

I do find the majority of people do know how to write, but they simply have a difficult time conveying their thoughts on paper. Several times I have been in the midst of a phone conversation with a client who told me what they wanted and I was able to repeat back to them in my own words what they were attempting to say. I merely crystalized several points I felt that they were attempting to say and added a “wrap” that was designed to help their readers take further action.

Hmmm…we have had many presidents and other politicians give speeches that were written almost entirely by their staff. These writers capture the essence of what their bosses want to say, but in the end the overwhelming majority of their words are formed by speech writers who are familiar with the “voice” of the speech giver.

The same can be said for those of us who ghost write; we attempt to learn the “voice” of our clients and take it from there.

Regards,
Matt Keegan
http://www.thearticlewriter.com

Comment provided September 26, 2006 at 11:56 AM

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16
Ruth writes:

Matt,

What an excellent descriptions of the duty of a ghost writer. I do not think any public figures write their own speeches. I believe they all have writers to do that for them.

Comment provided September 26, 2006 at 1:26 PM

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17
Lance Winslow writes:

Matt, what you describe does not sound like anything negative, sounds like a great service and much needed service. And it is done with integrity, I think my beef is with the outright creation of stuff that someone else signs their name too and has no clue as to what it is about. Yet these people who do this, also claim to be ghostwriters? I think in that case they are co-conspirators not ghostwriters. Besides someone who is good at what they do should be able to write their own speeches and give them with conviction. Article Marketers claiming to be in the know, ought to also know how to write what they mean. If they hire someone to help them, that is one thing, if they hire someone who simply does all the work and they put their name on it, that is akin to paying someone to write your term paper while you go skiing on vacation. And when they ask what topic, they say, who cares pick something good.

Comment provided September 26, 2006 at 4:00 PM

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18
Ruth writes:

Just think how many secretaries used to be ghost writers:)

After all, as secretaries they wrote the letters, and their boss just signed them as his own :)

Personally, I think ghost writing has its place.

The only objection I have is the darn article bombartment that is going on with the hundreds of spam blogs. And often ghost writers are used to accomplish this.

When the articles are used that way, it ticks me off.

Comment provided September 26, 2006 at 4:16 PM

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19
Lance Winslow writes:

Ruth, I agree, perhaps you might hire a ghostwriter to write for you too one day. I also believe when someone writes about their cats and their loving eyes and makes that an article, that those truly belongs on a Blog, not an article site. Indeed, those who sell and endorse products should be living examples of how good the product works. So if someone is writing articles to sell sports equipment and is over 300 Lbs and says it is the be all end all of health equipment, I think that this Buzz Marketing fraud no matter what flag they live under.

Comment provided September 26, 2006 at 4:38 PM

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20

Lance,

I think you may be looking at this issue a bit “black and white” as I know many articles on our site don’t solve any problems, offer any strategies or tips for that matter… but rather they relate a story or continue a conversation… dialogue.

My point: Articles about cats and their loving eyes can ‘entertain’ someone and thus provide value from the entertainment alone, even if you’re laughing at the author instead of with her/him.

Personally, I prefer articles with tips, lists, bullets, 2-5 sub-heads, with strategies or solving a problems… but others have their own ideas for how they want to provide value from the written word.

On defending ghostwriting:

I’ve got a friend who has done 6 figures in sales from less than $1000 worth of ghost writing (ebook)… so I’m convinced ghostwriting can be a good thing, but I have not been able to bring myself to hire a ghostwriter for my own desires… but I would hire one to help me do research or case studies or supplemental report writing that aides or add value to my core work in a given report.

Just thoughts…

Comment provided September 26, 2006 at 9:01 PM

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21

Ruth,

I don’t think Splogs are using ghostwriters as that would be too expensive for their evil model.

Instead, I think most splogs are using those frankenstein PLR article regurgitators to create auto-generated article vomit.

It’s as if these people have never heard this business basic 101: There is no way to a long-term fast buck. It doesn’t exist over the long haul.

Comment provided September 26, 2006 at 9:04 PM

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22
Lance Winslow writes:

Chris,

Indeed I have hired my research Internet Teams in the Past to write up information they discover to our franchise team. We had Bravo Research Team and Alpha Research Team and they always had good information I would send out to our franchisee team.

I suppose if someone sent out an email newsletter this also makes sense, as it is similar just 1000s more subscribers involved. Yes I see the need for ghostwriters. As long as it is indeed done with integrity, The Alpha and Beta Research teams helped me collect information which has assisted me in writing, as the information would have taken months of time to assimilate, they have helped me with much, but at the same time if I used their information, I always said this is from Alpha Research or Team Bravo.

Those authors who pound books, novels, non-fiction have to have folks helping to verify data just to keep up. But these people should get credit and if non-fiction the reader should know it was a team who put it together; an example would be; Collins with “Built to Last” or “From Good to Great”.

Personally, putting my name on an article someone else wrote; no way, I can’t do that, I feel it is cheating, if an editor assisted that is different I would agree.

If someone paid me to write something and they put their name on it? Well that is up to them, I would have been paid and handed them the work, thier integrity is their own issue I would suppose.

You see I have been accused on this board of not writing my own stuff just too many times to not defend myself. And therefore I speak out for other high-volume authors who do the same on my way to 10K.

Comment provided September 27, 2006 at 12:52 AM

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23
Jennifer Thieme writes:

I don’t have a problem with ghostwriting, because I don’t see a difference between legitimate ghostwriting, and buying or selling any other commodity.

Comment provided September 29, 2006 at 1:19 AM

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24
Chuck McKay writes:

I wonder if the folks who find ghost writers to be unethical have a similar problem with interior designers, caterers, or personal shoppers?

Comment provided October 3, 2006 at 7:00 PM

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25
Ruth writes:

Re: “I wonder if the folks who find ghost writers to be unethical have a similar problem with interior designers, caterers, or personal shoppers?”

Only if they pass it on as being totally their own creation.

I think in ghost writing the concern is to sign one’s name on another’s work. NOT to have someone else do the work.

Comment provided October 3, 2006 at 7:28 PM

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26
Chuck McKay writes:

How does it differ from “work for hire” for copyright purposes?

Comment provided October 3, 2006 at 10:13 PM

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27
Mo Bailey writes:

Funny you should ask…I just finished a job today, as the ghostwriter. It is for a Trade Journal and the person I wrote it for is a very smart business man, a CPA, yet, he is not a writer. That is how he sold himself to me, and it is a subject that is in his bailiwick, not mine. I had to interview him and put the words together. With him, it worked out okay, yet I have decided in the process, that it is a job I am unlikely to ever do again. I will only write about my passions, not someone else’s. The stress of getting it correct and “flying” with an expert was not worth it. I got lucky as research was available as was my client. Yet, still not worth the compromise. That is just my experience and decision…other’s must enjoy it!

Comment provided October 4, 2006 at 5:39 PM

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28
Chuck McKay writes:

I have a client who speaks English as a secon language. He was able to explain to me what he wanted to say, but was having trouble articulating it in English.

I was able to say it for him in the language of his adopted country, in order that he make a good impression on his prospective customers. To appear “truthful,” the message had to come from him. But to be truthful, it was.

I’m more than a glorified grammar and style checker, but I have absolutely no guilt feelings… nor does my client.

Comment provided October 4, 2006 at 8:26 PM

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29
Mo Bailey writes:

To Chuck McKay – well put!!! That does not sound arguable to me at all. These instances do happen and using someone else’s knowledge and passion to get a point across in understandable and even admirable in the instance mentioned. Guilt free – no judgement here. You have a craft and used integrity. You are right, people hire copywriters all the time. I am sure ethics and morals come into play in some situations, yet a generalization might not be the best route to tout! Good for you!!!

Comment provided October 4, 2006 at 8:36 PM

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