Saturday, January 20, 2007

Thoughts on Ghostwriting


Ghostwriting is something I hadn’t thought of writing about here, but the issue has come up on a couple blogs I read. I’m talking about when a book is seemingly written by a celebrity but truthfully, another person wrote the book for him or her. Nowhere does the true author’s name appear on the byline. I’ve been uncomfortable with this practice for a long time because it makes something that isn’t true seem true.

I’m not bothered by books that have an “as told to” or a “with” byline. In fact, the story I wrote for HIS FOREVER was an “as told to" story. People who read Like Son Like Father know that although it’s told in first person by my friend, Frank, I wrote the words for him. Before it came out, I wasn’t sure how the publisher would show the byline and found myself struggling with how I would feel if it didn’t have the “as told to” format. Mixed in with the struggle was the question, would it bother me because I want to see my name in print or because it would make it seem Frank had written the story when he hadn't. I came to the conclusion that, although it's always nice for a writer to see her name in a byline, it would bother me more because of the fact Frank hadn't written the story. I think it would have bothered Frank too.

Upon hearing I’m a writer, a man from my church recently told me he was looking for a ghostwriter to write his life story. He asked if I might be interested. I told him that biographies are not the genre I write in, but even if they were, I was uncomfortable with the ghostwriting practice.

I just learned that a number of published CBA authors have been discussing the issues around ghostwriting and how the practice goes against God’s standards of honesty. Rather than repeat everything here, you can go to blogs written by Robin Lee Hatcher and Angela Hunt and read for yourself. I agree with them totally. The question of the day is will the practice ever change?

1 comment:

Winter said...

Ghostwriting bothers me too. When you stop an think about the work tha went into writing that book and then the author doesn't get the credit for it, it's really not fair.

I agree with Robin and Angela.

BTW, I tried to find out how to fade the brightness on my background image, but I wasn't having any luck. How do you do that, do you know?

I did try to go over to beta, but my browser had issues with it and refused to let me even open my blog for over a week, so, I'm a little gunshy of it.