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What You Should Know About Ghostwriting Contracts

Rohan Bhalerao Aug 17, 2020
A ghostwriting contract is a legally binding document on the basis of which ghostwriters take up work. To ensure that not-being-credited doesn't end up in not-being-paid, read on to know more.
Imagine you are approached by a noted personality to pen down his/her autobiography and you put your heart and soul in the work to get it done in time. But then, when the time comes for your remuneration, the person backtracks. As good as his oral assurance may have been, you made a grave mistake of not documenting it legally.
To save yourself from such a situation, it's pertinent to get a contract done beforehand. It is a legal document clearly mentioning the details related to the writing job that the ghostwriter is going to do for the client.
These professionals are hired to write articles, research papers, book reviews, movie scripts, song lyrics, case studies, short stories, or even an autobiography.

Features in Ghostwriting Contract

Content Description

Identify the type and length of the content to be written which includes the number of chapters and total words. This clause is the most important given the fact that the client expects a certain style of writing and a certain number of pages which should be explicitly defined in the contract.

Review and Submission

A time period is fixed in which you have to submit your work. It can range from a few hours to write an article to even months if it is a book. The client may even ask for regular reviews of the work. Get the submission and review time specified in the contract so that it doesn't become overburdening for you or result in a delay for the client.


Cite the method in which you will go about the work. For instance, if you are writing a song for an album, your vision of the output should match with that of the music director. This will involve a great amount of interaction and discussion, for which the time period should be decided beforehand.

Payment Terms

The bone of contention in all contracts is the payment terms. Whether you will be paid on per page or per word basis needs to be mentioned. Also, whether you will be paid periodically or upon completion of a certain number of pages should be enumerated.


The ownership rights should be sorted out in which all the authority is formally given to the client and then you cannot claim any ownership on the written material thereof.


Through this clause, you provide a legally binding confidentiality agreement to the client wherein you cannot disclose any part of the written work through any medium.

Right to Publish

After all the effort you have taken, your work may not get published due to the client's dissatisfaction or change of mind. This right to publish the work lies entirely with the client. The clause of no guarantee of publication is what most clients are entitled to use. Study it thoroughly before giving your consent.

Changes and Termination

Neither you nor the client can abruptly disassociate from the agreement. You can keep a clause wherein mutually agreeable changes can be made to the legal terms. Also, a termination procedure must be included. Understand the steps specified where either party can come out of the contract through legal means.
So, whenever you are approached for any such assignment and even if you have faith in the person who approached you, a written agreement will go a long way in reaffirming that faith. A ghostwriting contract can ensure that whatever work you do, it won't go unpaid. It's equivalent to a job security in any field.