1. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    ghost writing: whats the point?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by fantasy girl, Apr 19, 2009.

    hi, i have recently been looking at books and poetry and found out that quite alot of them are done by 'ghost writers' whatis the point? someone else gets all the creadit for something you have put you time and effort into and you dont even get half the profit.

    what are your views on the subject?
     
  2. sophie.
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    sophie. Contributing Member

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    I'm with you on that - often a 'celebrity best-seller' is ghostwritten, or as they put it 'written in conjunction with..' - seems like cheating to me. Why should someone claim to be able to write, if they need someone else to do it for them? It's the name on the cover that matters, apparently.
    The publisher cashes in on the person's fame, while someone else does all the work. Stupid.
     
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    There is money in it ...
     
  4. Hunter B.
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    Hunter B. Member

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    i agree, you should take credit for your own work.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    But at the same time, does anyone really believe that all the celebs with books on the shelves had the time to sit and pump out their own magnum opus while they were on tour, or in concert, or making the political circuit, or whatever it is that has propelled them to fame?

    All media gets abused. Period. Welcome to it.

    There are countless books on the shelves, the authors of which don't even know what the term dialogue punctuation means, let alone how to actually do it.

    All media gets abused. Period. Welcome to it.

    In the music biz there are truly talented people who write, play, and sing their own amazing songs but have faces for radio. Then there are brainless, mass produced Disney Kids who were born with a somewhat decent voice and a pretty face, and voila! Insta-fame! Is it any different?

    All media gets abused. Period. Welcome to it.

    As Lemex has already pointed out, if there is money in it then it will eventually get prostituted.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The ghostwriter gets paid. The celebrity looks more literate than he or she actuallyt is. The book sells based on the celebrity's fame, and the rating of the books by critics in major media.

    The better the book sells, the more everyone involved profits.
     
  7. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is a valuable and legitimate place for ghostwriting. I did it for many years for a Hall-of-Fame bass fisherman. This old professional bass fisherman is a delightful person with an enormous amount of information and experience that he was willing to share with the next generation. Unfortunately, his formal schooling ended somewhere between elementary school and 8th grade and he simply can't write adequately for publication. So, he and I would go fishing with him wired to a microphone and long-play tape recorder. For the next three hours, I'd ask him questions and we "just talked". Then, I would transcribe the morning's ramblings and produce a half dozen advice columns for a fishing magazine.

    I never told a sole about being the hidden writer for this famous man but he apparently told everyone. Before long, I was turning away nationally known pro fishermen who wanted me to write for them. The ghostwriting averaged $300-500 per month for my efforts on behalf of this one guy.
     
  8. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    but why would you want someone else to take all the credit for your work???
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    'cause you get paid.

    Paying a mortgage can be a seriously motivating factor in one's life.
     
  10. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    Well, have you ever let a peer at school copy your homework if they paid you? Its the same sort of business. ;)
     
  11. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    no, im not stupid enough and not many people know me as i have only just started my new school
     
  12. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    I'd say for anyone who is a ghostwriter, they probably do it for the money. Some writers aren't concerned about being the name on the cover because they may not want the publicity that comes from being a well-known author. For those of us who don't ghostwrite, I'm sure a lot of us use psuedonyms (sp?) for the same reason. I know I do...I'd rather not take the risk that something I get published may become a bestseller and then have to deal with all the publicity. I'm a private person and I'd like my life to remain that way as well. Just my thoughts.

    ~Lynn
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...where have you ever seen poetry that's been ghostwritten?... and how could you know that, even if it was?... i can't imagine anyone writing a poem for someone else to put their name on... will you please give me some examples?

    ...for the payers, they get something out there with their name on it, that they couldn't have written well enough on their own, to get published...

    ...for the payees, they get to pay the rent...

    ...no, you get much more, most of the time!... the point is, most of what people pay a ghostwriter to write will never get published... and most of what does, never makes much money... but the ghostwriters get paid up front... so, it doesn't matter to them whether the mss ever make into the bookshops, or not... and the only 'loser' is the one who pays to have someone else write their stuff for them...

    ...i can't imagine anyone becoming a ghostwriter only to not be made famous!... they do it for the money, period!... and it's a perfectly legitimate career that some make a very good living at... it actually takes more talent and skill to write for someone else, than for oneself, so think ghostwriters are any less deserving of respect than any others who practice 'the writer's art'...
     
  14. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were both written by ghost writers.
    The series would not have gone on nearly as long as it did if done by one writer.
    ghost writers do have their place.
     
  15. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    I guess it boils down to these two options:

    - People are going to read your book and you'll make lots of money but your names not on the cover

    or

    - People won't read your book and you won't make money but your names on the cover (Although there's a chance that with this option you probably won't even get published.)
     
  16. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, what's the difference between a ghostwriter and a pseudonym? Either way, your name is not on the cover, but you still get paid. I suppose the major difference is that someone else gets the payoff, and while I would consider that 'cheating,' I agree with what the majority of other users have said previously: everyone tends to profit from the business.
    I'm not all that concerned with the practice. Many ghost writers write because they enjoy it and receive the payoff they desire, mainly being a monetary sum. If someone is good enough to write for a celebrity, chances are he could go off and become published under his own name. The fact that he chooses not to shouldnt be such a big concern as it is to people. :)
     
  17. Kursal
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    Kursal Senior Member

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    I am a ghost-writer. I have ghost-written three books, all of which went to print and one of which sold extortionately well. I have also written sketches and jokes for BBC radio which I got no credit for.

    I think those decrying the practice because someone else is 'taking credit' for your work are being slightly naive. If you're trying to make a living from writing then you have to take every option that comes along. I have never had a by line in print. I've not been credited for the scripts I've written for radio. The thing is, people behind the scenes know who I am and I am slowly building a network of people who regularly give me work.

    If I write a book for a publisher and it does well then there is a good chance I will be contacted again by that publisher. If I decide to try and get one of my books published I am now able to circumvent some of the process most new writers have to go through.

    In radio it's the same. I have had 10 pilots made by the BBC. You have to understand that there are many in show business who exist on making pilots that never actually get on to the airwaves. So, some of my material has ended up being broadcast and that has given me the contacts at the BBC and a degree of integrity that I could not have gained as a new writer. As well as this, you really can't imagine the benefit of having access to the BBCs internal mail service.

    For me, ghost-writing has been an in and has given me an income from something that I love. Don't write it off (excuse the pun) as "copying" without understanding how useful it can be.
     
  18. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are other great reasons for ghost writing. The Hall-of-Fame fisherman I wrote for is in his 70's and will not be with us much longer due to health problems. He has a wealth of knowledge to share with young fisherman and I got to spend a few years turning his memories into hard copy which will educate new fishermen long after he's departed. I would have done it for that reason alone . . . but yes, I DID cash the checks! LOL
     
  19. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Kathy Griffin once mentioned, as a guest speaker to a group of aspiring comics, that she is a D list actress who lives in an A list house because she manages her own own business, the business of being Kathy Griffin. When asked by one of the aspiring comics, "What about being an artist?" she replied, "F*** that! I need to pay the rent. If you're not thinking like a business person, get ready to see yourself on VH1 Where Are They Now?"

    Art School wispy, waify, weirdness can only last so long. Eventually the bill collectors start to call. I work as an interpreter for many of them. I can assure you that they will give little weight to the decry, "But, I'm an artist." And while being a starving artist may make for a great start to a story, it makes for a miserable life. I think Kursal and Maia have made the point excellently clear. As a successful ghost writer, those who need to know who you are to further your career will know who you are.
     
  20. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    You can make more cash ghostwriting than being a published author.

    As far as hiring a ghostwriter, though. If you don't sell a lot of copies you will not make back what you paid the ghostwriter. Unless, he worked cheaply, but ghostwriters are expensive.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    but ghostwritters are expensive.

    the good ones are, certainly... and they spell what they are and do with only 2 't's, not 3! ;-)
     
  22. Kursal
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    Kursal Senior Member

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    Yes I am :p

    Yeah, that's a little industry trick to make it look like we actually know more than the people who we are writing for ;)
     
  23. love2listen
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    love2listen Member

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    I dont like it. Its like VC Andrews books. She died in the 80s. My library doesnt have any books that are actually by her. They are by authors completing the stories she never finished writing in her style
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    actually, kursal, i didn't post that 'writters are expensive' line... i only quoted it from someone else's post... which is why i then corrected the poster's spelling in my bantering 'reply' to the quoted bit...
     

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