What’s The Difference Between A Ghostwriter And Freelance Writer

Difference Between GoastWriter and Freelance Writer (1)


This is a short one for you guys on the Memorial Day!

I hope you don’t spend to much time at the computer and enjoy this sunny beautiful spring day!

What is a Ghostwriter?

Maybe you’re still confused between what the difference is between a ghostwriter and a freelance writer and rightfully so. People use both terms interchangeably without a second thought. But is there a difference between the two? I’m sure you won’t be confused again by the time you’ve reached the end of this article.

Well, a ghostwriter is a writer who writes without credit to its name.  This means that they write and the client gets to put his or her name on the work, or leave the article or blog post without signature.  However, a freelance writer can also be called a freelance writer since he or she is paid to write anyway.

You might be surprised to how many autobiographies, articles and blog posts are written by  ghostwriters.

Ghostwriters write mostly, books, eBooks, newsletters, sales letters, email campaigns, articles, blog posts, and more.

People use ghostwriters because of two main reasons:

1)      They don’t have the writing talented needed.

2)      They don’t have the time to write their own content as they need to concentrate on other parts of their business.

A good ghostwriter should be able to adapt and write with the voice and style of their client, especially if they write an autobiography.  In such case the style of their client should come through the writing of the ghostwriter.  One of the best qualities of the ghostwriter is to be adaptable to take on any type of situations and writer styles.

What’s a Freelance Writer?

A Freelance writer just like a ghostwriter writes for pay, but his or she gets credit for the article or book by signing it.  Freelance writers write for blogs, article directories, online and off line magazines, websites, and more.

A freelance writer doesn’t have to “be” someone else but still needs to adapt their style to the different clients as the topics they are writing about can vary quite a bit.

Freelance writers need to be able to write flowers and weddings one day, and about technology and iPods the next.

A good freelance writer needs to be writing with the type of readers of whatever topic they are writing about in mind.

Can a Ghostwriter by a Freelance Writer and vice versa?

Yes, they sure can and they do for the most part.  All the freelance writers that I know (myself included) are all doing both ghostwriting and freelance writing.  As a freelance writer I do not necessarily look for work where I can put my name to every time.

It’s good that I am able to so sometimes, of course, because this is proof of my work that I can use in my portfolio, since I can’t use ghostwriting as proof of my work.  However, at the same time, I am not going to turn down a great well paid job, and a cool client, just because my name won’t be on it.

Pros and Cons Ghostwriter vs. Freelance Writer

Freelance writer

  • You name is on your writing piece and you can use it as a proof of your work for your portfolio
  • While you can keep your writing style and voice, you need to be adaptable to various different topics
  • You can charge as much for freelance writing as you would for Ghostwriting


  • Your name doesn’t show on your writing piece and you have to disown your work as you deliver it to the client
  • You need to adapt the style and voice of your client
  • You can’t use your writings as proof of your work in your portfolio for you future clients

Both freelance and ghost writing, however, give work to the writer, and both are acceptable work to take on for most freelance writers.

You turn now, did you know the difference between a ghostwriter and a freelance writer?
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23 thoughts on “What’s The Difference Between A Ghostwriter And Freelance Writer”

  1. Hi Sylviane,

    Simple, clean, nice article. I know the difference between a ghost writer and a freelance writer. However, this article made me understand the concept better.

    In my opinion, a ghost writer is not so well paid as a freelance writer. Actually, when you are just beginning the payment is symbolic. However, the work is real.

    This symbolic payment make a lot of people give up working as ghostwriters. Why should you ask for $1 when there will always be an eastern ghostwriter willing to work for 50 cents or less? This makes a writing career very, very tough.

    I would like to know more about your writing career. How did you manage to overcome those powerful roadblocks any beginner encounters?
    Have a nice day
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    1. Hi Silviu,

      I know what you mean by ghost writers being badly paid, but it doesn’t have to be. I would say that a ghostwriter is only paid what he asks for or accept.

      I remember, years ago, when I was a member of an affiliate platform where ghostwriters could offer their services. When someone was asking or accepting too low pay, it would make the other ones very upset, because of the obvious fact that if someone accepts low pay it lowers the value of everyone’s work.

      So, because of this, I’ve learned early on that I could ask for more money. I have to say that the more I refuse low pay gigs the less low paid gigs I get. I don’t attract them anymore. That’s what you need to look for.

      Also, the higher quality you can write, the more pay you can expect. Expect well paid gigs and that’s what you will get. On the other hand, expect low paid gigs and that’s what you’ll get as well. So beware!

      Thanks for coming and I hope that I answered your question.

  2. Hi Sylviane,

    Great and to the point post!

    I heard the terms Ghostwriter and Freelance Writer but to be honest I didn’t know the difference. You really explained it quite well here and you clarified the differences and the pros and cons of each.

    Thanks Sylviane for the clarification and for sharing your expertise with all of us here.

    Be Blessed,

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    1. Hi Neamat,

      Nice to see you here. This is really a lousy week for my blogs. It seems as nobody has come, but you sure did.

      Basically ghostwriter and freelance writer both do the same thing, but one gets to put his or her name on it:)

      Thanks for coming.

  3. Thanks for sharing the difference between a ghostwrite and a freelance writer. I’ve heard of freelance writers, but just recently heard about ghost writers by listening to Kevin Trudeau’s CD.

    To be honest with you, I thought Ghostwriters were this secret, esoteric group of writers that only the filthy rich in the secret societies hired to throw people off from being successful LOL… I guess that CD got the best of me LOL

    Thanks for sharing Sylviane!
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    1. Hi Sherman,

      Wow, I’m so glad that you now know who ghostwriters really are. I’m wondering what this CD is all about now 🙂

      A ghostwriter is simply a freelance writer that writes incognito, meaning their name don’t appear on the piece. I am both a ghostwriter and a freelance writer and so are many other writers.

      Thank you for your input.

  4. Hello Sylviane

    I love your post because of the information you provide to your readers.
    I did know the difference between a Ghostwriter and a Freelance Writer, but you really explained it with detailed.

    Thank you again

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  5. Hi Sylviane

    You did a great explanation of what each of these is and the differences. I have had a bit to do with people using ghost writers. Because I was involved with speakers who in the main were also authors we had a lot of others approach us with books or ideas to be books.

    I have seen people happy when they use a ghost writer but in the main I have seen disappointment. Mostly the person who hired the ghost writer feeling they did not portray their “voice”.

    I have not had any experience with Freelance writers except knowing you and a couple of others but I do understand the role.

    Great explanation Sylviane.

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    1. Hi Sue,

      I’m glad you’re mentioning a very important point here. The main quality of a ghostwriter would be to BE the voice of the person they write for, it not, especially in a book it doesn’t work.

      It’s like being an interpreter (which I also am) it doesn’t matter if you don’t use fowl language, for example, if the person you interpret for does, you’ve got to interpret that! The same thing goes for ghostwriters, it’s not you who’s writing it’s your client.

      Thanks for bringing this out!

  6. thanks for this valuable article. now i know what is freelancer . Now very much cleared thanks again

  7. Well I learned something new today Slyviane. I thought they were similar to be honest with you. I guess they are in some respects.

    Let’s take the sales page scenario for instance. So would you write that as a ghostwriter or a freelance writer? See, I want to learn about this so when I do approach people I won’t feel so stupid.

    The explanation was really good so I think I would just need to know which service I’m asking for.

    I hope you enjoyed your Memorial Day and you know where I was. I got online for a short time in the morning but I sure had a great time this week. Everyone needs a vacation. 🙂

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  8. Hi Sylviane!

    Just like Adrienne, I learned something here too. 🙂

    I knew a ghostwriter couldn’t get credit for their work but I didn’t know we couldn’t add it to a portfolio. No credit means no credit 🙂

    I don’t think I could write in another tone or someone else’s voice as you put it so I would prefer to write for someone who I can identify with through their post….i don’t know if I made sense there 🙂

    Thanks for pointing these differences. Definitely something to consider before committing to a project.

    Hope all has been well, have a great day and fabulous weekend 🙂
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  9. Hi Sylviane,

    I don’t mind being it short since it does add value here 😉

    You just solved a puzzle for me 😉 I’ve read the word “Ghostwriter” in many different places but never bothered to find out what it is. Just thought it’s some kind of freelance writing technique.

    I know about freelance writing for some extent as I have friends, like you, who does writing as a profession 🙂 First days I thought that freelance writer just need to be an expert in one subject, but as I dig in, got to know they need to know about more aspects before they becomes a professional freelance writer 🙂

    As I guess, ghostwriting seems bit more complex as they need to adopt and write in their client’s voice. Is it true or it’s freelance writing is the hardest Sylviane? 🙂

    You have a lovely weekend over there dear 🙂

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    1. Hi Mauyra,

      It’s very similar. Most freelance writers are also ghostwriters. I am too myself.

      I’m glad this clarify this for you, so next time that you see Ghostwriter you’ll know what it is.

      Thanks for coming 🙂

  10. Hello Sylviane,
    I’m sure that as Ghostwriter you can get more money for articles / books since you practically give up all your claims to the work. Or at least, you should!

    1. Hi Radu,

      No, you don’t necessarily make more money as a ghostwriter, it’s more about the kind of gig and client you get, but not about if you name is or isn’t on the work.

      Thanks for coming.

  11. Hi Sylviane,
    I didn’t really quite understand the difference between a ghost writer and freelance writer. This really helped out, thank you. I think it’s really cool that there are folks out there (including you) who perform this service. I hadn’t really thought much about it, but I’m sure it really comes in handy for a lot of folks. Thanks for the info. Warmest regards, Lisa
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    1. Hi Lisa,

      I’m glad if this was helpful for you to understand what the difference between freelance writer and ghostwriter is.

      Thanks for coming.

  12. Hi Sylviane,

    I know the difference because my husband David was a Ghost Writer for many years. He wrote mostly academic books and books on alternative health. When I met him I was so impressed by that!

    But because he did that for about 20 years, he is burnt out. I ask him often to do some ghost writing or freelance writing to make a few bucks….but he just shakes his head. he he

    Thanks for explaining to people this difference!

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    1. Hi Donna,

      Yes, writing a lot can, indeed, burn you out. I understand how he got to feel that way after so long. I don’t see myself writing all my life at a frantic pace to support myself only from that. NO. Coaching is easier 🙂

  13. Sylviane,

    I had no idea what the difference between freelance writers and ghost writers. Well I actually knew that a ghost writer did not use their own name and that is it.

    Sometimes I think I need to use a ghostwriter for my blog when I get really busy but I like writing my own post.

    I can see where using a freelance or ghostwriter would be benificial.

    Thanks for the great explanation.
    Dee Ann Rice
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