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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Perry, Esq.

Ghostwriting Legal Tips

If you've ever been approached to ghostwrite a book, here are a few tips you'll need to flesh out in your next agreement:


Try to get the client to agree that you'll be the exclusive ghostwriter of their project (i.e., that they won't turn around and go to someone else, unless of course, either party terminates the agreement)


You'll want to insert deadlines for each milestone in the project, such as the initial outline you create for your client, your first draft of the manuscript, and the final manuscript. You may also want to break it down even further into stages of your manuscript (e.g., 50% of the finished product and 100% of the finished product).


Price is of course tied to your milestones. You'll want to establish an upfront fee for your services and installments based on the milestones you complete. You may also want to include refund language for your client if they're unhappy with your work as a way to easily get out of the agreement if things go awry.

Final Approval

Determine between yourself and your client how many revisions you are expected to do. You don't want to work on revisions endlessly.

Copyright Ownership

Your client will expect to own the copyright to the the final product.


Rather than go through litigation, insert an arbitration clause into your contract. It should be less time consuming and cheaper than a full-blown trial.


Your client needs to trust you. Keep the information provided to you and the project confidential.


Do not guarantee publication. You are performing a service (i.e., writing a book). That is it. You are not doing anything else. Do not put certain expectations in your clients' mind and have them say "I thought you were going to do this." Your job is to deliver a final manuscript that your client loves.

There are many other issues you'll run into, but here are just a few bigger ones. I hope this helps the next time you want to ghostwrite a book. Perry Law can help you draft your next ghostwriting contract. For more information about my practice areas, see


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