Thursday, March 19, 2009

Don't Look Now...There's a Ghost!

Intellectually, I know there are ghostwriters. And that they write for more than, say, celebrity authors or Nancy-Drew-ish series.

Still, when I read Scott Westerfeld's On Ghostwriting, I had a "no, really?" reaction:

I have written for name-brand authors, celebrities, and even for other ghosts who found themselves over-extended: I’ve been a ghost-of-a-ghost. I have written legal thrillers, historical nonfiction, mysteries, and even horror (that is to say, ghost stories). But my name doesn’t appear on the covers of these books, nor on the copyright page, nor can it be found by consulting the Library of Congress. My invisibility is complete except on a contract, a document that is kept under lock and key. Sometimes, even the publishers don’t know I exist.

It's kind of ... odd... to think that I could be reading something that, well, someone else wrote.

And -- given the hush, hush nature of the job -- how do you get that gig?

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy


Anonymous said...

When I read the last Janet Evanovich, I wondered if it had been ghosted, perhaps by her daughter. Just didn't read like her usual writing. I guess I'll never know . . .

Anonymous said...

I think I'd rather be the "writer" than the "author." You get to do the fun creative work, but you don't have to do the tedious sales work.

Marcia Calhoun Forecki
Better Than Magic
by Eloquent Books

Anonymous said...

When I heard Scott Westerfeld speak several years ago, he described his experience ghosting a YA novel for a famous boy-band member, in hilarious terms. I think he said that particular book was never published, however.

Beth Kephart said...

It all sounds suspiciously Cyranoesque...