Hammett Ghostwriting Services (HGS)

Ghostwriting Scams: An Exposé

Most companies advertising ghostwriting services are, in reality, nothing more than vanity publishers trying to sell you package deals for print-on-demand, marketing, and distribution. They get many of their clients by offering ghostwriting as a sideline and then convincing them to self-publish. Like most vanity publishers, their promotional services are sorely lacking. Approach these companies with caution and be aware of the following points.

  • Contrary to their claims, most of these vanity publishers do not have bestselling in-house ghostwriters sitting around waiting for assignments.

  • Most in mainstream publishing, such as agents and editors, have never heard of these companies.

  • Many are owned by entrepreneurs who have no writing or publishing background whatsoever.

  • Work is usually subcontracted to writers across the country, many of whom are inexperienced or moonlighters.

  • They deal in volume, and the work is sometimes riddled with errors that would make a high school English teacher cringe.

  • Many have been sued and reincorporate under different names.

  • The ghostwriting and publishing "packages" rarely yield any significant sales in the literary marketplace. Books published by ghostwriting firms are almost never available in conventional bookstores.

  • Vanity publishers offering ghostwriting services spam reviewers and newspapers with press releases that may be of no interest to reviewers.

  • To maximize profits, these companies try to limit the length of books to no more than 225 pages. No such limit exists in traditional publishing.

How do I know the above? Because the companies, looking for writers, regularly call me or my colleagues. We all turn them down. I have also been to New York many times and knocked on the company doors. They are usually locked or just mail drops. Sometimes, there is no address at all and the contact info with the New York Secretary of State is a post office box. Let the buyer beware.

(Please also consult Ghostwriting Marketplaces to learn how bad writers take good money from clients.)