When you think of an "author," who do you imagine? Someone who's got a way with words? Who has written several books?
Sure, some authors are eloquent. And many have published multiple books (note the use of published, not written). But the essence of an author is much more than the end result of a book. They are creative thinkers with original ideas who want to inspire, motivate, or entertain. They want to share their ideas with as many people as possible.
And an author can be anyone: businessperson, veterinarian, plumber, nurse, clerk, homemaker -- anyone who has an idea that others can learn from or be enthralled by.
These individuals are known as "non-writing authors."
Think of the memoirs by politicians, actors, athletes, etc. These are high-profile people with busy schedules, whose jobs do not involve extensive writing. It's likely (or most certainly, in many cases) they provided the ideas and experiences for their book, while a ghostwriter handled the "technical" parts of writing it.
And yet the high-profile person is still referred to as an author, they are invited to talk shows and speaking engagements, and their name proudly graces the title page.
All because it's their ideas on the page, their tone of voice. A professional writer (the ghost) simply brought it all together into a cohesive narrative.
This is where we come to another common misconception -- that an author and writer are interchangeable terms. Seems like they should be, right?
When you think about it, though, a writer does not necessarily need to have an original idea. Journalists and technical writers work from facts; many web copywriters work from existing material provided by businesses; and ghostwriters...well, we work with what our author clients share with us!
All of the above mentioned are writers in the technical sense. We know how to communicate (existing) ideas to the average reader. It's our job to make sense of the details so they make sense to the general public.
An author on the other hand, does not need to know how to string words together coherently. All they need is a good idea. That's it. (Plus the willingness and determination to promote their idea, but that's a topic for another post!)
If you have a book idea but don't feel confident writing it yourself, or you would like the help of a professional writer to make your ideas look good to the public, a ghostwriter can guide you through the book writing process. Sometimes it helps to have an accountability partner when undergoing a significant task. A ghostwriter becomes a mentor who expedites your book goals so you can enjoy your name in print faster!