What is the Difference Between a Nonfiction Ghostwriter and an Editor?

28 Jun 2019


With so many different terms used in the process of writing a book, it’s easy to see how someone might get confused.

In our previous blog, we explored what a ghostwriter is and what they do. But, how does their job differ from that of an editor? And can a ghostwriter and an editor be one in the same?

First, let’s definite exactly what an editor is.

An editor is the person who prepares a manuscript for publication by polishing, refining, and enhancing it. An editor:

  • Helps organize the manuscript so that it flows
  • Makes suggestions to improve clarity and readability
  • Makes sure that style and tone are consistent throughout the manuscript
  • Corrects spelling and punctuation errors
  • Helps verify facts

Unlike a ghostwriter, who generally does the bulk of the writing, an editor does not actually write a manuscript. An editor’s job is to take work that is already written, and improve it.

Another difference is that an editor will not generally do any research for a manuscript. Research, as well as story development, is something that is done by the ghostwriter. 

Both an editor and a ghostwriter must have the ability to look at the rough beginnings of a manuscript and understand the author’s vision and what they are hoping to ultimately achieve with their book. They also both have to have a keen understanding of the author’s voice, so that the final product will sound like the author (and not the ghostwriter or the editor). And, ultimately, both and editor and a ghostwriter are responsible for turning the author’s book into the very best it can be.

There are vast differences, though, in what an editor and a ghostwriter do.

If you are looking for someone to essentially turn your thoughts and ideas into a well-crafted manuscript, it is a ghostwriter you want. However, if you have already written your manuscript and just need someone to polish it and make it better, you are probably looking for an editor.

And though there are ghostwriters who also occasionally moonlight as editors, it is highly encouraged that you do not use a ghostwriter to write AND edit your manuscript. Having a fresh pair of eyes to look over and refine your completed piece is an important step to getting your book publish-ready.

Jennifer Rizzo 
Jennifer Rizzo is a Denver based writer with a background in Healthcare, International Tour Management, Genealogical Research, and a passion for travel and languages. She studied Spanish at the University of Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico and also lived and studied in Ancona, Italy. After spending nearly a decade working in the health care field, Jennifer has a well-rounded knowledge of hospital functionality, medical terminology, and disease processes. She has extended work experience with government medical benefits as well as Social Security law, which has allowed her to fine-tune her ability to sort through large amounts of medical records, research, and data, and turn that information into well written reports and case briefs. Since joining The Writers for Hire, Jennifer has written on vast array of topics and has done many in-depth ancestry research and family history projects. She has worked as Project Manager for various client websites, family history books, and RFPs, as well as other projects. She enjoys working closely with clients, and loves any opportunity that allows her to indulge her creative side.

Related Content

  • 0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *