Re-Writing Existing Books: Why this isn’t okay!

Nothing to do with the topic at hand. Just my wonderful partner (and tech support) walking in a moody-looking forest with my co-worker (and dog).

Something I’ve noticed over the past few weeks is an increase in potential clients asking for me to write manuscripts to be translated into audiobooks. This is something I am more than happy to do! However, a startling number of these potential clients have asked for me to re-write existing books (which are not their own) for them to publish as audiobooks. This isn’t okay. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you know that this isn’t okay but I wanted to write this short blog post just to document this trend that I am seeing. There’s nothing wrong with using other books as reference materials and giving credit to the authors of the original book if you’re using some of their ideas. But re-writing an entire book is a no-no for a number of reasons.

First of all, it’s ethically wrong! You’re essentially stealing somebody else’s hard work and profiting off it. That’s not fair. Authors, especially indie authors, struggle enough to get recognition for their work and for you to take their book and re-word it is just not okay. No reputable ghostwriter will do this for you. Or, at least, I hope they wouldn’t.

Secondly, it could land you in hot water, legally speaking. I’m no expert on copyrights and intellectual property and all that stuff. I know enough to ensure that I can do the best by my clients. But as a person with common sense (at least a little bit) and somebody who has done two degrees, and my fair share of academic writing, I know that plagiarism is naughty and can get you into trouble.

The last quick thing here… With the recent surge in clients asking for rewriting of existing books, accompanied by the rise in people asking for manuscripts to be used for audiobooks, I can only assume that there’s some money to be made from this. Weirdly, on a tangent, every single person has asked for the audiobook to be around 3 hours long, if anyone knows why this is, I’d love to know! Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Making a quick buck off somebody else’s work, which is what it is even if you re-write the entire thing, is a crappy thing to do. By all means, use their work as a jumping-off point, but do the research yourself. Come up with new ideas and make it your own. Write a book on something you are an expert on. If you write a book on taxation, for example, but you have no experience or knowledge about it, people are going to smell a rat straight off the bat. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth.

Ghostwriters are out there to help you bring your ideas to life! It’s something we’re really good at. We’re not here to help you rip off other people. If you do want to write a book on something you have no idea about, ghostwriters are also really bloody good at doing that for you. With the correct citations and referencing, original ideas, and a unique spin on existing topics, you can be onto a winner. But please don’t ask me to re-write an existing book. Unless it’s your own (I can do that)!

That’s all for today folks. My little mini-rant about how naughty it is to ask a ghostwriter to re-write existing books. I look forward to hearing what you think of this topic. What are your opinions? Please feel free to comment or reach out via email or messages. Also, let me know if there’s a topic you want me to cover on anything from writing, editing, being self-employed, freelancing or the like.

As always, wishing you love and books that make your heart skip a beat,

Sarah Jules x

2 thoughts on “Re-Writing Existing Books: Why this isn’t okay!

  1. Another great post!

    A LOT of trouble.

    I found someone was selling books of mine through a website for over eight times what I was selling them for.
    It turns out they hadn’t bought them at all and were selling them online to then purchase from me to then sell on.
    So technically no drama, right?
    I wasn’t happy, they took them down.
    There’s several arguments from both sides. I could have increased my prices. I could be being really picky.
    Whatever the rights and wrongs I may have over reacted a teensy bit and kicked up a stinky poo.
    Either way in other news, my work will be on Audible one day but it will be my way and I’d not be best pleased if someone took my book to put on there or transform into anything without getting those rights from me first.
    Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m very protective about my writing.

    The poetry, not so much. However my autobiography certainly.


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