5 Books That You Never Knew Were Ghost Written
One of the most common questions a ghost writer can be asked is, "Don't you hate not receiving credit for your work?" The smart answer is; I don't mind one bit, as long as my name is on the cheque.
Ghostwriting is not a career for people with big egos who crave recognition. Going unnoticed is central to the profession and any ghost finds this face too hard to accept then they should probably consider another job.
Some people do nod to the input of the ghost writer in the acknowledgements and even occasionally on the title page, but others won't mention it at all. Indeed they may even heatedly deny they've used a ghost.
Although it is usually well-known in the publishing trade, most of the time the reader isn't aware of whether a ghost has been involved in a book. If you are interested to find out if a book has been written in collaboration, it can take some careful detective work. There are often clues in the acknowledgements, where the author might perhaps thank a person for 'helping to order their thoughts' of for 'their patience'. Sometimes, there may be an additional name on the copyright credits. To help you begin your search, here are five texts that you might not have realised had external input:
- Common Sense Rules by Deborah Meaden. I thought I'd start with the familiar; I personally assisted with the writing of this business-based book. It's a great example of a successful entrepreneur using the services of a ghost writer to put their vast wealth of industry-specific knowledge into an accessible literary form.
- Goosebumps by R. L. Stine. This series for children had such a high demand from publishers after the initial release that it actually had multiple contributions from various different writers so that Stine could match the needs of the contractors. By using many additional authors, Stine was able to meet the demand for the books by producing sequels far faster than would have been possible had he done it alone.
- Profiles in Courage. John F Kennedy, went to his grave denying he'd worked with a ghost on his book Profiles in Courage, which won him a Pulizer Prize for his 'solo' effort in writing it. It wasn't until years later that his speechwriter Ted Sorenson admitted in the Wall Street Journal he did 'a first draft of most of chapters' and 'helped choose the words of many of its sentences'.
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Although written by Anne herself, the collection of diary entries were collected and edited by her father Otto Frank; this classic text is a great demonstration of how a ghost writer doesn't necessarily write the text but instead can contribute through acting as an editor.
- Celebrity cook books - various. In the Spring of 2012, New York Times food writer Julia Moskin got into a very public spat with a number of celebrity cookbook authors, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Jamie Oliver, who adamantly denied the involvement of ghosts in their work, but did however hint that they knew of 'some' celebrity cookbooks that were written with assistance. Moskin was unrepentant, pointing out that it is a fine line between ghost cooking, assistance and collaboration and insisting it is hardly surprising that busy celebrities who had restaurants, brands and media empires to run, call in the experts.
Which books have you read that have been written in collaboration with a ghost?
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