Business Idea: Vanity Ghost Writers

It occurs to me that there are millions of people out there who “Want to write a book” but either don’t have the time or talent to do so or are too lazy to bother trying. But these people have a “Really good idea for a story” which would “Sell millions of copies if they ever got the time to write it”. I can hardly criticize, I have posted several story ideas on this very blog, some of which I think are pretty good seeds for a story some of which are utter bollocks.

It also occurs to me that there are hundreds of starving artists out there who would love to live the bohemian dream of writing for a living rather than serving overpriced coffee to business men, if only someone would pay them to do it. Some of them might actually be talented writers who haven’t been discovered yet, some might just actually be a waste of space.

The business idea is to get the people who want to write a story but don’t have the time/inclination/talent/whatever and exploit their vanity by getting them to pay someone with some combination of time and talent to write the story for them. They pay by the hour and have editorial control of the story, and the ability to veto/suggest any ideas the ghost writer comes up with and or steer the story the way they want it to go. And the writer goes away and writes the story.

The Credit for the story goes to the “visionary” behind it, the Ghost writer meanwhile is given credit somewhere inside the book. After having run this for a while you can establish an economy for ghost writers, particularly good ones can demand higher prices and new ones cost less to hire.

I guess the business model is kinda of like what happens with hair dressers, you compliment someone on their hair and 90% of the time you don’t care who did it. But if you are looking to get a good haircut, and can’t do it yourself you go to a hair dresser. Top hair dressers charge an arm and a leg regardless of what you want done to your hair, but you can also get a really good deal on a student hair dresser who may be just as talented as the superstar hair dresser just not as well known.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Do you think it would work? Am I just mad? Probably…

3 thoughts on “Business Idea: Vanity Ghost Writers”

  1. There are a couple of forums in place which caters to the ‘ghost writers’. One is a place where a request for a ghost writer is placed and then potential writers ‘bid’ on the job. I think it’s pretty uncivilised myself and like the idea of a business which specialises in the field rather than leaving it to an ‘ebay’ style brawl.

    However, in saying that, how do you market to someone who ‘wants’ to write a book? How do you find those people?

    Another potential roadblock is that most people who have an ‘idea’ also want to write it themselves. Most of the time a ghost writer will only be called upon for people who need a book for PR purposes, rather than entertainment, such as politicians, or celebrities who have recently come under fire for some sort of indiscretion.

    Also, I’m pretty sure the ‘ghost’ wouldn’t get any sort of credit inside the book, otherwise it would negate the purpose of having a ghost in the first place.

    Clearing these roadblocks means it would be a good business plan. If I find the ghosting websites again (for your research), I will pass them along so you can get a look at what being ‘thrown to the wolves’ looks like ;)

  2. I think it was a hypothetical business idea rather than a full on I’m going to go out and spend money doing this idea.

    You never know though it might work and if it does you heard it here first :)

  3. Really? I hope for the sake of writers out there trying to make an honest living, we (re: you) could figure out a way to make it work.

    That site I told you about…writers bid to get the time and cost down as low as possible. It’s ridiculous and sickening.

    Imagine if someone who could do your job approached your employer and offered to do it for £2,000 less. It would simply undercut the market so much that the ripple effect would be that anyone doing a job like yours would be forced to then lower their salary expectations.

    Anyhow, so, I digress, etc, but what I mean is that since ‘everyone can do it’ (write, I mean), those in need of a writer think they should be able to get it for next to nothing.

    (and at this point I stamp my feet, fold my arms and pout)

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