As an economist, I tend to couch issues in an economic paradigm, quite often in terms of supply and demand. The above is meant to show that there is potential demand for ghostwriting in business setting. So, one wonders about supply. In today's Inside Higher Ed there is yet another piece about something different, the excess supply of PhDs in the Humanities. Now we make a wave of the hands, heroic assumption, but again it seems reasonable to me. A good fraction of those PhDs who don't find faculty positions would be willing to work as a ghostwriter at some company, or to work for a ghostwriting agency that serviced multiple companies, as long as the pay was decent.
Another core economic hypothesis is that once a double coincidence of wants has been identified, a market will emerge to satisfy those wants. So, if there is some reader of this post out there with an entrepreneurial spirit, go for it.
* * * * *
I am going to switch gears here. In much of the volunteer work that I do now, ghostwriting is the essence of what I contribute. I'd like to describe that briefly, to give a better sense of what I mean by ghostwriting.
First, there is an ongoing dialog with the principals. Trust is built up gradually over time as the discussion pans out with some deliverables, and some improvement in the strategic thinking of the group. In this sense, writing is codified conversation and the dialog itself is formative thinking that advances toward firmer positions that can be turned into action items.
Second, any writing task can be subject to being ghost written. It can be an email message, a training document, a grant proposal, really anything. In some cases what the ghost writer will do is to produce a tolerable second draft after one of the principals has produced a first draft. In other cases, based on a prior conversation, the ghost writer might be the one to produce the first draft.
Third, the principals and the ghost writer together develop a sense of pace for work to get done. So the process gets easier over time and expectations regarding what will be produced become more realistic.
Last, the better the ghostwriter knows and understands the principals, the better the rest of this works out. So the ghostwriter becomes part of the team. There is then the question whether the ghostwriter should ultimately get recognition. There may be strategic reasons why the ghostwriter is not actually entirely invisible but nevertheless remains in the background.
Whether my experience can generalize, I really don't know. In other words, it may be not just writing skills that matter here but my prior administrative experience might also matter quite a bit. In the setting where it is an agency that provides ghostwriting services, perhaps people with similar experience to me might mentor humanist ghostwriters who lack those sort of experiences, to see if they can acquire some of that type of thinking through the mentoring. Alternatively, ghostwriters might be paired up with business decision types in a team that offers a joint service of this sort.
* * * * *
I'm also aware that many individuals want help with their writing. Again, I can see a double coincidence of wants. But here it might only be quite well off people who could afford to hire a ghostwriter. Someone who is more entrepreneurial than I am should work this through.
So there are a lot of unknowns here. But I find the general idea quite intriguing.