Is Ghostwriting Considered Selling Out?

ghostwriting Jun 03, 2022
The words 'sell out' in front of a bright pink background with various graphics around it.

by Mary C Long


It may sound like selling out, but ghostwriting can be an incredibly rewarding experience that enables you to help people fulfill your dreams and make an impact on the world in the process. However, there are also some downsides to this profession that you need to know about if you’re considering pursuing it as a career option.

Ghostwriting can be an interesting job to have, but you’ve got to know what you’re in for if you plan on being successful as a ghostwriter. The term ghostwriter usually refers to someone who writes on behalf of another person, generally someone famous or well-known in some way, either because of their career or their status in society. You may be asking yourself, Is ghostwriting considered selling out? That is, are you selling out by working as a ghostwriter? Here’s everything you need to know about ghostwriting before making your decision.

Why or why not?
It's true, you're not getting credit for what you've done. However, a large paycheck is still exactly that, a large paycheck. A good writer can be proud of the fact that their words are helping someone tell their story. As a ghostwriter, don't undersell yourself. It's a great feeling to get paid to do what you love.

Are you selling out though? In a nutshell, yes. And no. 

What? The real explanation is:

The artistic integrity of creative people is constantly weighed against their need for income. Is it possible to use your creative talent in a marketable manner (selling out) to accomplish your personal artistic goals as well?

Of course, it is.

If a writer can attain his/her dream of being published, then he/she has already sold out. There's nothing wrong with that. Don't let other people tell you that you've sold out. It's up to you to determine how much you're going to give away when it comes to writing and marketing your work. 

Pros and cons

Here are some pros and cons of ghostwriting:


  • Writers get paid for their work
  • Increasing your portfolio (understand what you're allowed to share)
  • Your name will be known in the ghostwriting world – not to the general public


  • Achieving anything isn't something you can brag about – not even if it's your best work
  • If the person you're writing for doesn't want anyone to know they're using a ghostwriter, it can be difficult to get additional work
  • Seeing someone else's name on your work is difficult – you need a thick skin and the ability to control your ego​

It's clear that the pros outweigh the cons, and since your ghostwriting work will remain confidential, you can continue to write – with no conflict of interest that might confuse your fans. Even if you blog silently for a high-end large corporation, you can still be the edgy writer your followers support publicly. This is the best of both worlds.

The Internet has changed everything, and there are almost no secrets anymore – except for that one, big secret you'll be able to keep once you become a ghostwriter!

Wrapping up
It's not selling out if you're providing a service that people are willing to pay for. And if you're good at it, you can make a lot of money. So if you're thinking about becoming a ghostwriter, don't let the naysayers get you down. I think it's an honorable way to make a living. And who knows, maybe one day your name will be on one of those bestsellers.