Monday, July 07, 2014

Ghost Writers - Sort Of

Guess what? Readers do know the difference. People who are passionate about their pasttime come to know their favourite authors writing quirks and strengths. Writers have their own unique style – a particular turn of phrase – that recognizable voice.

Pumped to read my favourite author’s release, I cracked the book and settled in for a few hours of pleasure. Within a chapter or two, I had one of those waitaminute moments. No way did he write this book. It didn’t sound like him. The pace was off. Everything was off. It just didn’t flow the way his other books do. I checked the front cover. Closely this time. Sure enough, the famous author’s name was in large print with another author’s name below it in much smaller print.

So what gives? I could research this on the internet but I’d like to take a shot at it. There’s a strong possibility that I’m wrong. A rare occurrence but it does happen. The guy in small print (a fledgling author) actually wrote the book based on the plot written by the guy in large print and then the guy in large print (bestselling author) edited the thing. Almost like an apprenticeship. And then it’s like a 60/40 split or maybe even a 70/30 when the bucks roll in from international sales.

What writer wouldn’t love an opportunity to be tutored by a Great One? As a reader, it turns me off. I hate when that happens. I buy, borrow, or steal a particular author’s books because I love his writing
style. It’s disappointing not to get what you expect – no matter how good the guy in little print is.

Oh no, I hate it when I sound like a cynic. Maybe it’s just a bad day thing.

Still, if a famous crime writer contacted me and said, ‘Hey Phyllis, you’re not a bad writer. I have a terrific sure win plot but no time to write. I’m too busy marketing. Do you think you could whip up a story? I’ll check it out before it goes to press. I’ll even put your name on it. In small print, of course.’

Nah, I wouldn’t do it. Seriously, I wouldn’t.

I’m sure of that.

It would be a kick to be asked, of course.

But still, the answer’s no.



  1. Some publishers like Baen Books openly pairs writers, an established one and up and coming one. It's beneficial to both, and the publisher and the readers. Both names are on the title. My publisher does something similar for some popular series with spinoffs. I think if the publisher is open with names of the authors readily seen/available,

  2. Hi Terry. I bought the Faceoff anthology. It pairs writers and mingles characters from different series. I was super excited to read it but...It seemed diluted. The voice isn't as strong. Just my own opinion.