This is just so interesting to me, from several different perspectives: Confessions of a Ghost Writer: the Good, the Bad & the Lovely

This is a post by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff at Book View Cafe, who has written occasional posts on this topic in the past.

I have been a full time writer since 2005. During that time, I’ve penned eight original or shared-world novels, had five of them published and am working sporadically on a tenth book (well, and an eleventh and a twelfth . . . you get the picture.)

That activity not withstanding, at least half of my income in a given year comes from [ghostwriting].

But most of what flows from my invisible pen has been fiction. This revelation inevitably leads to the question (delivered in a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding tone of voice): Who hires a ghostwriter for fiction?

Isn’t that interesting? Who would want to hire a ghostwriter to write a novel so they could put their own name on it? This just seems so odd to me. I mean, you could pick up the finished book and hold it in your hand and it would have your name on the cover, but . . . you didn’t write it. How could that possibly be satisfying in any way?

Here is what Maya Bohnhoff says about that:

In my fifteen years of being a full time freelancer, my fiction clients have run the gamut from people who thought of themselves as writers, but who didn’t have the time to write, people who knew they weren’t writers but had an idea they wanted to see realized, people who knew how to write a screenplay but had no idea what to do with 300 blank pages of a book, people who had natural talent and wanted someone to write them through the process of crafting a novel so they could learn how it was done.

And some of that makes sense, I guess? Although that last category sounds less like hiring someone to write a book and more like hiring someone to teach you, exhaustively, how to write a book. I wonder if that ever actually works as a way of learning how to do it yourself?

The idea of “thinking of yourself as a writer” after hiring a ghostwriter to do the actual writing just looks . . . well, frankly, it looks delusional.

Anyway, it’s an interesting column — click through and read it the whole thing if you have a minute.

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1 thought on “Ghostwriting”

  1. A common case I’ve heard of is putting the name of someone famous in another field on the cover as the author – e.g., William Shatner and Tekwar, actually written by Ron Goulart. The book presumably sold more than it would have under Goulart’s name, though I don’t know how it all divided out.

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