To the People Practicing Exploitation of Ghostwriters

I have a message for the people on YouTube bragging about how they hire ghostwriters to make cheap books for a few hundred bucks and then turn them for five figures or more. Hint: It’s EXPLOITATION.

dollar bills and coins communicating the idea of exploitation

What’s grinding my gears

For the record, I have no problem with someone hiring a ghostwriter and then making a profit. That’s business and it’s paid my bills. What I DO have a problem with is people seeing me as cheap labor. I take issue with not receiving an appropriate level of compensation within the profit being made.

Even worse is that these people then are trying to make even more money. After paying the writers pittance, they’re pedaling courses that explain exactly how to repeat the process they use. So…in essence, teaching more people to treat writers badly.

Fighting back against the exploitation

So, how do you address this as a writer? Simple. Just don’t accept a flat fee rate for books you write that you know are going up on Amazon or similar places. Instead, ask for an hourly rate plus a reasonable percentage of all earnings from sales. That way, no matter what the book sales are, the ratio of pay to profit isn’t ridiculous. It’s not all that different from a company paying an advance plus royalties in traditional publishing.

I won’t dictate what your negotiated percentage should be. That really depends on elements like how much money an individual invests in the production of the book. And let’s say the book is poised to do fairly well because marketing is excellent. Then it’s a little tricky to measure what that extra exposure is worth if the person who hires you acknowledges you as the ghostwriter. But don’t allow people like this to continue exploitation and take advantage of you or others. Fight for what’s fair, not only to protect yourself, but to protect the craft. Petitioning places like YouTube not to allow these types of ads is one option to start the fight.