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Ghostwriting

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by writesolutions, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. #1
    Hi all,

    I have been a freelance writer for few years. However, all my work is as a ghost writer.
    Now, if I want to expand my writing base, I do not have any writing samples, published in my name except few at ezines and my blog.
    I want to develop a professional website for my freelance writing business.
    Can I link those ghost written articles as my own samples?
    Please suggest how should I build my portfolio?

    Looking for genuine suggestions.

    Thanks
    SEMrush
     
    writesolutions, Jan 26, 2010 IP
    SEMrush
  2. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #2
    You cannot take credit in any way for ghostwritten material without the client's permission. That's what ghostwritten means -- you're a "ghost." No one is supposed to see you within the scope of the project. If you want to link to them in a portfolio, you're claiming authorship. You should talk to your clients and see if they'll grant you permission. In the future, you might want to include a clause stating that you can use work in your portfolio (of course, then it's not fully ghostwritten, so if it's important that the client be seen as the sole author they might not be willing to sign on).

    In the meantime, do some credited work for a nonprofit, guest post on some popular blogs, etc. Those are ways to get credible by-lined samples for your portfolio. There's nothing wrong with using your own blog posts in your portfolio, so for now put them to use.
     
    jhmattern, Jan 26, 2010 IP
  3. seojonrich

    seojonrich Peon

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    #3
    its a shame but i would say no, you need to spend a couple of weekends smashing out content just to use as examples.
     
    seojonrich, Jan 26, 2010 IP
  4. Shyflower

    Shyflower Peon

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    #4
    I think it depends upon how you are using the phrase "Ghost Writer" and what copyright terms your contract specifies for your writings. A Ghost Writer is usually one who allows their client to publish the work under the client's name. If your work is published anonymously, you should be able to keep it in a portfolio.

    For instance, unless I specifically agree to Ghost Write, my contracts specify that the work must be published anonymously or with my name in the byline.

    However, I don't link to the work unless I have the client's permission and then I generally link to the live work to give the client the benefit of a link. Other work I keep in a portfolio to send by pdf (no print, no copy, no change) to answer inquiries.
     
    Shyflower, Jan 26, 2010 IP
  5. writesolutions

    writesolutions Active Member

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    #5
    Hi All,

    Thanks for your suggestions.
    Actually, I want to work in my name, but most of the clients want to buy copyrights.
    In that case, I do not have any option.

    Thanks
     
    writesolutions, Jan 26, 2010 IP
  6. taminder

    taminder Peon

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    #6
    make a website and linkback to it.
     
    taminder, Jan 26, 2010 IP
  7. reagent

    reagent Active Member

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    #7
    I think the very meaning of ghostwriting is that you sell your authorship and other rights to another person, so you can't claim them back anymore. But it seems, copyright differs from authorship, i.e. you can sell rights to use your article, but retain your authorship on it. You'd better ask a lawyer about all that.
    If you spent "a few years writing" it shouldn't take you long to write, say, 10x500 words articles or 3x2000 in your field of expertise and publish them on your blog. I think you could even contact editors and offer a couple of articles to some reputable sites for free, without obligations, only for portfolio. And so on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
    reagent, Jan 26, 2010 IP
  8. Mystique

    Mystique Well-Known Member

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    #8
    Why don't you spend sometime writing short, new sample articles to showcase your writing style.

    I feel that linking to posts and articles credited to you as a part of your portfolio should be optional.
     
    Mystique, Jan 26, 2010 IP
  9. tech_savvy

    tech_savvy Peon

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    #9
    Ghost writing does hand over all your rights over thatt article to the client who would have paid yu for that article. but that should not stop you from sending that article to another new client as a sample of your work. after all you are not gaining any monetary value from that particualrt article at that very moment that you send it as a sample
     
    tech_savvy, Jan 26, 2010 IP
  10. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #10
    It doesn't always have to do with monetary value. The point is that the moment you tell someone else you're the author, you potentially damage your original client's reputation by saying they're not the author they claim to be publicly -- something they have the right to do. Ghostwriting generally involves copyright transfer or the acknowledgment that you have no actual rights to the material. If you want to claim authorship in any way, you need to work that into your agreement with the paying client up front so you don't risk a dispute later.
     
    jhmattern, Jan 26, 2010 IP
  11. writesolutions

    writesolutions Active Member

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    #11
    Yes, you are right. That's why I pose this question here. I just wanted to know what can be effect if I use ghostwritten articles as sample.
     
    writesolutions, Jan 26, 2010 IP
  12. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #12
    If you signed over the copyright, you might be infringing on it (especially if there's a non-disclosure agreement in the deal). Just ask clients for permission or use your blog as a sample. It's perfectly acceptable these days, and both are easy to do.
     
    jhmattern, Jan 27, 2010 IP
  13. Perry Rose

    Perry Rose Peon

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    #13
    writesolutions, what you could also do is to put a spin, rewrite, the articles you have written, and make them your own.

    But, of course, being careful to put in enough differences between the two.

    Also, don't worry about not having a portfolio.

    If the editors and or webmasters ask to see one, which most will not, simply tell them that you are just starting out, like so many others. If they like your article(s), and if they have a need for them, they will publish them.

    Besides, it is easy to get one going. Just approach as many (sites) webmasters as you can, including Yahoo and About, to see if they will put your article(s) on their site.
     
    Perry Rose, Jan 27, 2010 IP
  14. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #14
    Only problem with rewrites is if they transferred copyright to the buyer. If they did, they can't create a derivative work w/o the buyer's permission first. I know Indian law is similar to US law regarding copyrights, but obviously the OP needs to check on their local rules about things like that. It won't hurt to ask the client though. Many probably wouldn't care as long as it's solely for the portfolio and not a direct copy of theirs. Some would probably even be happy to let the OP link to the originals -- just about asking first before claiming authorship.
     
    jhmattern, Jan 27, 2010 IP
  15. acadianapa

    acadianapa Peon

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    #15
    I started with only two samples. A writer's website with two or three samples was plenty to get my business off the ground fast. Sign up for a site like Associated Content, if you don't want to do them for free, and bang out two or three quality articles about subjects you're interested in writing about. Submit them there, take whatever you can get, and make sure you don't give AC exclusive rights to the articles. That way, you can post the 2 or 3 articles to your writer's site and use them to build confidence in your writing ability. Good luck.
     
    acadianapa, Mar 20, 2010 IP
  16. goin

    goin Peon

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    #16
    good idea, i love it
     
    goin, Mar 23, 2010 IP
  17. Aotearoa

    Aotearoa Member

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    #17
    I'm a buyer, not a writer. I buy full and exclusive rights to the articles I commission, and occasionally lightly edit them, but, although I reserve that right in my agreements with authors, I haven't yet claimed authorship. So it's a bit different to a ghost writing deal.

    I can't see why I'd have a problem with an author with whom I had a good relationship wanting to cite an anonymous article one of my sites as an example of their work, it improves my relationship with my supplier and I might end up getting an extra link or two to the page.

    I suggest politely asking the content owners how they feel about it.

    If that fails, write some text of your own and put it up on some free hosting , such as Blogspot or Yola as a showcase for your work.

    You can even do both, show what you are capable of on your hosting and showcase your customer's sites (with permission).
     
    Aotearoa, Mar 24, 2010 IP
  18. Action Copy

    Action Copy Peon

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    #18
    Huh, I can feel your pain. I've wrote some fair size Direct Mail pieces...copywriting... not articles.

    And I've only got a tiny portion of the credibility. Oh well. That's how the game is played. That's why sometimes it's better to get into the realm of creating your own products and keeping 100% of the profits.

    I'll tell ya though, it's pretty cool watching 50,000 letters drop in the mail that you just wrote.
     
    Action Copy, Mar 24, 2010 IP
  19. kalpana.allu

    kalpana.allu Peon

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    #19
    what is the meaning of ghost writer.
     
    kalpana.allu, Mar 26, 2010 IP
  20. Aotearoa

    Aotearoa Member

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    #20
    Wikipedia describes it quite well "A ghostwriter is a professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person. Celebrities, executives, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, or other written material." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostwriter
     
    Aotearoa, Mar 26, 2010 IP