The Truth About Ghost Writing
Years ago, before I even considered writing for publication, an acquaintance made me an offer. I would write a book about a subject I knew quite a bit about, and she would publish it under her name. She knew only a little about the subject, but thought a book would be good for her career. I would be paid, but my name would not appear, and I would sign an agreement to never disclose this connection. I felt funny about the whole thing and turned her down.
At that time I had no idea how common this sort of arrangement is.
Years later, before I was published but after I told friends I was writing, I got a similar offer. By then I had not only learned about ghost-writing, but knew someone who had done it. The ghost-maven advised me that this route is fraught with problems I cannot even begin to imagine. Because I knew only a little about the second book’s subject and was not drawn to it, it was easy to turn down.
After I was published I had two such offers, both from acquaintances who felt they didn’t have the time to write their books, but had the money to pay for their books to be written in their names. In each case I knew little about the subject, and cared even less. These, too, were easy to turn down.
Sounds like I’m a quick turner-down, ey?
I have an aversion to secrecy, so while I am discrete, I don’t want to invite a mega-dose of covertness into my life. I cherish ghost stories, not ghost writing.
A few years ago I watched an illuminating interview on the subject. A well-known writer, Michael Korda, who by then had come out as the ghost writer to a few people- (presumably they allowed this revelation) said that almost all books written by people who are not professional writers were in fact not written by them. This blew my mind.
By now I have come to accept it. Most anything can be bought. Why not this service as well? Only live performances can’t be faked, er…, pardon my Milli-Vanilli memory lapse.
Things ain’t what they seem, and never were.
I don’t know how you feel about it. Surprised? Scandalized? Shoulders-shrugged?
At this point, I’m not sure how I feel, either. The world is what it is. Just saying.