Everyone from Britney Spears to your maid of honor can benefit from professional ghostwriting — and The New York Times recognized that in recent weeks, featuring two separate stories in the Style section that showcase the wide breadth of ways ghostwriters offer an essential service. The section reported that the Princess of Pop enlisted three ghostwriters with a range of personal perspectives and professional experiences to collaborate on her memoir and also highlighted how speechwriting specialists are meeting the increasing demand for memorable wedding vows and speeches.
While it’s always heartening to see prominent publications acknowledge the field of ghostwriting, both of these stories go a step further: They showcase the wide spectrum of projects professional collaborators may be called to work on, from speeches of just a few minutes long that cut to the heart of a relationship to book-length works that encompass someone’s entire life.
These stories also bust the myth that ghostwriters merely churn out content others don’t want to write. As we know well at GG, “ghostwriting” is a term that encompasses many valuable skills and specialties, including brainstorming, interviewing, humor, and, perhaps most importantly, collaboration.
As the Times piece on ghostwritten vows notes, both Brian Franklin of Vows & Speeches and Tanya Pushkine, the “Vow Whisperer,” send their clients extensive questionnaires before putting pen to paper — after which they exchange multiple drafts with clients. It’s a detailed and extensive process that likely sounds familiar to most ghostwriters but may surprise those with a superficial understanding of the craft.
Spears likely employed three different ghostwriters not just because she could but because she valued the unique contributions each could make to her memoir. As prominent literary agent (and GG friend) David Kuhn explained to the Times, celebrity authors such as Spear may want a millennial ghostwriter to ensure they shape her writing to ensure millennials relate to the book, or a male editor “because you want it to appeal as much as possible to a male audience, as well as the more obvious female audience.”
So whether it’s a celeb tell-all or a heartfelt bridal speech, a ghostwriter’s ability to skillfully cull the most illuminative stories from their subject to tell the best story possible is a true talent that not just anyone can cultivate, and we’re glad to see The New York Times recognize that.