Posted By : August 30, 2023
If you want to start a career as a ghostwriter then you need to understand something very important about ghostwriting and it is not just about providing quality content.
Ghostwriting is also about doing everything legally which means having a ghostwriting agreement or a writing services contract.
This is something that is not a formality but it is a necessity because, without an authorship agreement, you will not find any serious grade of content writing work in any industry.
This agreement primarily consists of a confidentiality agreement which certifies the client that you are going to keep the content confidential. This is the code of any ghostwriter. Without confidentiality, you cannot have ghostwriting.
Along with that, you can have things like a copyright transfer agreement and even collaboration contracts if there are multiple ghostwriters working on a single project.
Along with that the ghostwriting contract comprises of a lot of details, we shall talk about them later in this blog. But before that, let us understand the importance of this contract or agreement.
The entire reason why ghostwriters should have a ghostwriting agreement or any other kind of content creation agreement is for a single reason.
It is trust.
When a client comes to a ghostwriter, they expect the ghostwriter to not only write the content with integrity but also not disclose that a ghostwriter has written that content.
But word of mouth is not very reliable and there has to be some legally binding document. That is why there are contracts like the ghostwriting agreement with Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) within it.
The NDA is simply there to ensure that the ghostwriter cannot disclose the content and the fact that they have written the content. If the ghostwriter violates this agreement, then they are liable for legal consequences.
Similarly, every other agreement in the book ghostwriting contract is there so that the client can trust the ghostwriter.
In rare cases, there might even be a royalty agreement but that is usually not the case for 99.99% of the ghostwriting contracts.
Now that we know why the ghostwriting agreement is such an important d document, let us look at what are the most important things that you should have in your ghostwriting agreement.
However, we must tell you that you should always have your lawyer create the document instead of learning it from someone who does not understand how legal documents work.
Every ghostwriting agreement is different and you must customize your ghostwriting agreement according to your needs and not blindly follow any example online.
Having said that, let us look at some of the most important elements of a ghostwriting contract.
This is one of the most important documents when it comes to a ghostwriting contract because this document should contain every detail that the ghostwriter must keep in mind.
You need to put all your expectations into this document which means you need to mention all the specifics that are required from the ghostwriter.
That means there are going to be things like the word limit expectations or the word count of the manuscript. You must also specify how you require the ghostwriter to submit the work.
If you want regular samples then you need to mention it too.
Let’s say for example you need 50,000 words, you might need it all at once or in increments of 10,000 words every week. You must mention that too.
You must mention everything about that in this document.
Additionally, you must also mention the actual goals of the entire project. You might provide examples to the ghostwriter and attach them to this document so that they might get an idea.
You must also make sure to mention everything else that the ghostwriter must provide which might include illustrations and additional information as well as research materials.
This is a very important document as this document will showcase your expectations completely.
You must always have the payment contract in the ghostwriting agreement. The payment contract should be in simple language with a simple breakdown.
You must mention in what form of payment you are going to reimburse the ghostwriter and you must also tell them the exact payment amount.
This is very important if you do not want to have any misunderstanding with the ghostwriter.
Along with that, you must also tell them if the payment is going to be completed after they complete the project.
If you want to give them an advance then that should also be mentioned in simple words.
This is not a final contract and you might go back and forth with the ghostwriter to negotiate on the payment but everything should be in writing so that there is no confusion.
You must also break down the payment structure into simple slabs and specify to the ghostwriter what kind of payment plan you are providing them.
You can choose between a payment plan for every word where the payment is calculated based on how many words they write. This is the most common form of payment.
There are other forms of payment where the ghostwriter is paid by the hour or by the day or even by week. This is mostly in the case of complex ghostwriting projects.
There are also projects where you pay the ghostwriter according to the project and the payment is calculated on the whole project and not just how many words there are.
When we talk about ghostwriting, it is not just writing the content because ghostwriting is a very involved service that has multiple services under it.
The primary service is of course writing the content but just writing the content is not enough to get a complete manuscript.
In order to get a complete manuscript the ghostwriter must also do the research for the manuscript even before they have started writing it. You must also specify if you are providing any research material to the ghostwriter.
If it is an autobiography or a memoir and the ghostwriter has to arrange interviews with you or some other person then that is also considered as a service and you need to mention that too.
Accordingly, after the content has been written, if you want the ghostwriter to do the proofreading then you should also mention that as a required service.
The client also has to specify if the require the ghostwriter to do the editing. In rare cases, there might also be other service requirements.
These service requirements might be publishing requirements where the client might require the ghostwriter to publish the entire manuscript after they have written it.
This is a rare service but this is something that some ghostwriting agencies do.
And in rare cases, the ghostwriter or the ghostwriting agency might also be required to create promotional material for book marketing as well.
All this is done so that there is no misunderstanding between the client and the ghostwriter.
One of the other important things that you must include in the ghostwriting agreement is the agreement about the timeline.
Timeline is the time duration allotted to the ghostwriter to complete the project. Any kind of service-based project always has a timeline.
You might not choose to provide a timeline but mentioning a timeline is generally done in the ghostwriting industry.
This is because you might belong to an organisation such as an academic institution that requires the continent on a specific date because the institution might start its semesters.
That is why it is important that you also mention the timeline in the ghostwriting contract.
You can have a single timeline by which the ghostwriter should finish the entire project or you might have separate timelines in the form of milestones.
The Non-Disclosure Agreement(NDA) is one of the most important parts of the ghostwriting contract but it is not something that is necessary.
It might be necessary depending upon the type of project. Let’s say for example that the content is for sensitive government documents and in that case this is a very necessary document.
Non-Disclosure Agreements might also be for content that will get published such as book manuscripts and it might also be for movie scripts.
Non-Disclosure Agreements(NDAs) are usually added when the content is of very high value such as a movie script or a book my new script about a celebrity.
While you might not choose to include it but we we would suggest that you always include it because you should not take chances.
This is a very important and necessary part of the ghostwriting agreement because this is the part where you specify the rights and ownership of the manuscript to the ghostwriter.
The ghostwriter must sign this individually as it proclaims that the ghostwriter does not have any ownership of the content they have written.
This is a staple of any ghostwriting contract and you must be as transparent as possible in specifying the ghostwriter that they will not be able to hold any rights whether it is copyright or right of ownership of the manuscript.
This agreement should include everything that comes under the ownership rights of the client which includes all the work associated with this project.
That might include research material as well as notes and rough material and any kind of files whether it is included in the final manuscript or not.
And finally, we come to the termination agreement or clause where the client and the ghostwriter must mention when and how the project can be terminated.
The client must put some requirements for termination and must specify that that client can cancel the contract in case of certain violations or in certain specific scenarios.
The ghostwriter should also have their own termination clauses and they must also specify when they can opt out of the contract.
The termination clause should also contain the payment structure and what kind of compensation the ghostwriter can receive if a project is cancelled before completion.
We would suggest you to hire a lawyer before you draw up the termination agreement.
Then there is something called the dispute clause and it is just something the ghostwriter and the client must sign their acknowledgement that if there are any disagreements or disputes then this will come into effect.
Let us now look at some of the most common ghostwriting agreement questions.
This is an agreement that is signed between the ghostwriter and the client and it has all the specifics of the ghostwriting project which might include the terms of payment as well as the copyright and ownership agreements.
The ghostwriting agreement should also contain all the specifics of the project including all the requirements of the client. Additionally, there are things like Non-Disclosure Agreements(NDA) within the ghostwriting agreement and much more.
We would suggest you go through this blog in order to find out more.
It is impossible to specify a figure because most of the time ghostwriting fees and agreements are confidential and are not available publicly.
The reason is because of the nature of the industry as ghostwriting is a service where the client does not want the world to know about this service.
The ghostwriting fee might also vary depending upon which country you are in and the kind of ghostwriting project.
Ghostwriting is as legal as breathing in air in India because this is such a fundamental service that every industry utilises ghostwriters.
Even the government utilises ghostwriters when they need professionally written content for public announcements and much mode.
Celebrities utilise ghostwriting services and even educational institutions use ghostwriting services. There is nothing illegal about ghostwriting.
But yes when we are talking about ghostwriting we mean the kind of content that is harmless because if you want to write content for malicious or fraudulent purposes then that is of course illegal.
It is difficult to put a figure on this because it depends on the type of ghostwriting content and also the experience of the ghostwriter and the region of India.
Ghostwriting services might be expensive in metropolitan cities and relatively affordable in towns.
If you Google average payment rates then you are going to get a figure between ₹2 to ₹5 per word but even this figure is not accurate.
You will never get into trouble for ghostwriting and you will also not get into trouble for hiring the services of a ghostwriter.
But it is important to understand context because if you provide your services for bad and malicious purposes then that can get the client into trouble and sometimes even the ghostwriter.
The key here is to avail ghostwriting services services for honest purposes.
We hope you now understand ghostwriting contracts much better and if you are looking for one of the pioneers of the ghostwriting industry in India then we are here for you.
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