How to Create a Ghostwriter Contract

In today’s digital economy, content marketing is essential for business success, but most businesses don’t have the in-house staff to write content regularly. This is where finding ghostwriters for hire comes in.

A ghostwriter is somebody who is paid to write content but remains anonymous. Credit and authorship for pieces produced by a ghostwriter are transferred to the ‘author’ who hired that ghostwriter. 

A ghostwriter offers a way for you to be able to have your name on something without needing to hire a full-time content writer or deal with the pressure of producing content on your own. 

Like all other projects that require outsourcing, it’s important to make sure you have a well-written ghostwriting contract that specifies all the terms and conditions of the project. That way, both parties are on the same page and there’ll be no room for misinterpretation or disagreements.

While each ghostwriter and project will require a different contract, there are some key sections that need to be included in all contracts.


Like any agreement, its standard convention to include preliminary information in your ghostwriting contract. This typically includes the name of both parties involved in the contract, their contact details,  followed by the purpose of the contract and duties.


Every ghostwriting contract needs a description of the deliverable. This could be as simple as a couple of sentences outlining the type and topic of the content, or as complex as multiple pages of detailed information. Your description will vary based on the scope of the project and the amount of creative freedom you wish to give your ghostwriter.

Start and end dates

While writing is variable and it is not always possible to give an exact date for when the project will end.

There needs to be a schedule in place for when the job will commence and an estimated turn around date that the project is expected to be complete by. Some contracts may also have additional due dates for project milestones to ensure the project stays on track. 

Payment schedule 

There should be a section describing how and when the ghostwriter will be paid, including any down payments and additional costs, like third party proof-reading.

The ghostwriter may either be paid at an hourly/per word rate or as a flat fee for the entire project. This payment often includes a set amount of free revisions, with a separate charge for additional revisions.

It is also important to specify how the payment will be made, whether it’s weekly, monthly instalments, or a single lump sum. For payment services like PayPal, it’s important to also state who is responsible for paying these payment fees. 


Although the entire purpose of hiring a ghostwriter is that you get to have your name on somebody else’s writing, it’s important to still state in the contract that all authorship will be transferred to you. 


In international copyright law, is a well-known rule that the creator of the work owns the copyright.

Naturally,  there will need to be something in your ghostwriter contract which states who has ownership over the product, whether that be a shared rights or work-for-hire agreement. In some cases, the ghostwriter will own a small part of the copyright in exchange for a smaller payment.


Many ghostwriters promise a lot but don’t deliver! There should be a section in your contract stating that all work produced is to be original, otherwise you may end up receiving a slightly rewritten copy of somebody else’s work!

Unoriginal content like this can damage your search engine rankings and even the trust of your customers. Protect yourself from plagiarism charges! 


In most cases, the author will require complete confidentiality. Nobody but you and the ghostwriter should know that you hired a ghostwriter without your permission. 

But it is not uncommon for the author to give the ghostwriter permission to use the piece to help them land future clients. 

Additional expenses

Depending on the scope of the project, there may be some extra expenses involved, such as research-related costs. The contract should clearly outline what the expenses are and it should be noted who is expected to pay these expenses. 


In a regular project, the contract is terminated after the job is completed. But what happens if the ghostwriter is unable to complete the contract, or if the author wants to hire a different writer?

The contract should have reasons and consequences for if either party wants an early exit should either party choose to do so. A common practice is for ghostwriters to charge an early termination fee on top of the charge for the work completed so far.

The bottom line

Hiring a ghostwriter allows you to attach your name to somebody else’s words when you’re too busy to write on your own or don’t consider yourself a very good writer! 

While most people are generally honest, a contract gives peace of mind that they will stay that way and both parties have the same expectations about the project.

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