Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ghost Writers!

The LA Times has an interesting article on ghost-writers.

No, not writers who write about ghosts, or writers who are real ghosts (tho' that would be cool), but writers who write stuff that is then published under someone else's name. Sometimes this someone pretends to have written the book; other times they don't even bother.

Viz., James Patterson. Among others.

The relationship between ghost writer and fake writer can be lucrative, the LA Times reports, but it can also go sour, particularly then the ghost writer realizes that they want some of that literary limelight. If I do all the work, a ghost writer might reason, shouldn't I get some of the glory? Well, if the name is more valuable than the talent, this reasoning can lead to real problems. On the other hand, when ghost writers strike out on their own, they often have a running start.

Not for me to cast judgment on ghost-writers--surely they are just trying to get by, to make a career in writing, and that's a pretty hard row to hoe. I do, however, often wonder at the hubris of people who use ghost-writers--who want the credit without having done the work. It's all about the brand, people. Bookstores like to sell brands, apparently, not books. Which can be a rather disheartening realization for any writer to have. What if you are not a brand? Does that mean you are nada?

Now, I have to admit that all that all my stories are ghost-written.

Who is that ghost?

Me! I am my own ghost. And pretty diaphanous sometimes, with a penchant for blood curdling screams. But a pretty good typist.

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