“Honesty is the best policy.” - Shakespeare
At a recent Gulf Coast Writers Association meeting, the speaker, Chris Angermann, editor-in-chief of New Chapter Publishing, mentioned that about 30% of the books on the New York Times Best Seller list were ghostwritten. I found this figure shocking and I’ve been thinking about the business of ghostwriting since.
I knew ghostwriting was fairly common in non-fiction books but was surprised to learn that the practice was also used in fiction writing. I understand that a well-known author or a celebrity name sells books and selling books makes money. But does that make it right? It simply doesn’t seem honest to me to take credit for something that someone else wrote.
It’s also hard for me to distinguish the difference between a person paying someone to write a book for them and a student paying someone to write a term paper. However, the pretend ‘author’ receives accolades and a nice royalty check while the student is kicked out of school.
On the positive side, I understand that some people with good stories to tell may not be good writers or some good writers may lack for ideas. A ghostwriter probably receives a nice fee and is not expected to participate in promoting which has its appeal as well.
I have no qualms with teaming up. I only wonder if a book clearly stated, “idea by Big Celebrity Name as written by John Doe,” would really sell fewer copies than one with just the celebrity name. In other words, would sharing the credit be a bad thing?
This blog is not to judge ghostwriters or the people who employ them. Quite the contrary. I’d love to hear their views on the subject. I’m keeping an open mind because I feel I’m missing important points on both sides of the argument of whether the practice is right or wrong.
What are your feelings on ghostwriting?
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: Shakespeare, ghostwriting, Gulf Coast Writers, Chris Angermann, New Chapter Publishing,