Sunday, March 25, 2012

I’ve Always Wanted to Write a Book

Yesterday I watched the show, Shark Tank, and a guy by the name of Michael Levin, owner of BusinessGhost was asking for backing. He writes books for celebrities and others and was there to help his business grow. Of course, none of the sharks were biting and he left without a deal. The Sharks didn’t see a profit in the business because there are plenty of others out there who ghostwrite.

I have mixed feelings when it comes to ghostwriting. On the one hand, it’s a great opportunity for seasoned writers to make a living. It’s like any other business; you offer your expertise and services for a fee. What I don’t like about it is that it echoes all around the world that writing can be bought. It doesn’t matter whether you can actually write or not, you can be a published author. Even though ghostwriting has been around for many years, it has become popular in current times. I know that people have a right to pay for this service, but I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of other creative arts being done by another person. Maybe my search and thinking is off…maybe there are ghost artists or ghost musicians. There are artists who create for companies (advertising), and musicians who write songs for other musicians, yet it’s not to the extent as writing. I feel like publishing a book is no longer a big accomplishment.

Granted I self-published, and to some that might mean my book isn’t good enough for big houses. I wrote, edited/revised (with the assistance of a paid editor), formatted my book for paperback and e-book, put together the book content, got my own ISBN, created my own bookmarks, website and book trailers, published and promoted my book. My hands got chapped and dirty. I didn’t pay someone to write my thoughts and ideas so I could put my name on it. I practiced writing before I wrote my novel, and then I refined it for a year to make it shine.

To me, ghostwriting is a double-edged sword. It provides profit for writers, yet it diminishes the integrity of publishing. Gone are the days where true writing talent was published through the big traditional houses. The Snookie’s and Sarah Palin’s have taken over promotions and bookstore displays, and everyone knows that neither one sat their butt in a chair and wrote. So instead of great talent publishing with Random House, Doubleday or Penguin, you have words of another publishing for big name profits. This is partly why I didn’t bother to go through traditional publishing—too disappointed. I have a very different opinion of traditional publishing than I did 10-years ago.

I’m sure there are many out there, fists pumping in the air, disagreeing with everything I said. And I’m sure I might have ruined any future chance of publishing with a big house because of my opinions, but I’m fine with it. I think this is a very important topic to discuss with everyone. Life is about learning, and part of that learning is discussing other points of views.

For those of you who are and have gone through the hard work of writing, seeking representation, publishing and promoting, how do you feel about ghostwriting?

For those who have said, “I’ve always wanted to write a book”, would you want someone to write your story, fiction or non-fiction?

Ghosts and writing,


  1. I guess it doesn't really bother me. It kind of benefits all parties, including the actual author. Sure, they aren't the one that gets the recognition, but maybe some really don't want it. As far as the celebrities themselves.... actors don't write the characters / scripts that made them famous. I guess I just kind of see this as the same thing-- someone else writing something that gets the celebrity more attention. I think the general public gets the difference-- that the hard work that went into it really wasn't the celebrity doing it. They know it was an author who worked really hard to get there.

  2. Peggy, that's an interesting take. I haven't thought about someone writing for the actors/celebrities fame or attention. Thanks for stopping by and giving your input. I appreciate it.

  3. I hadn't considered this. I have heard that the great masters sometimes had their students paint the backgrounds in their paintings. Many quilt designers send their quilt tops out to others to be quilted and bound. This collaboration doesn't just happen in writing.

  4. Heather, Thanks for stopping by. I figured some other creative arts share some collaboration. Sending quilt tops to be quilted and bound is like sending the manuscript to be bound. Neither one is doing the actual creativity.

    I appreciate you pointing out students painting the great masters paintings. I've never heard that before...something I just learned.

  5. I love ghostwriting because it eventually comes out and you find out which celebrities are dumb as rocks that they couldn't write even a rough draft and have an editor fix the mistakes.

    I remember hearing Bristol Palin inviting people to come meet her and the ghostwriter of her book. Way to keep an image there.

  6. Hilarious, Adam. I had no idea Bristol Palin did that. Maybe she figured everyone knew she didn't write it? At least the ghostwriter received the recognition.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Odd, never really thought about it. Hmm... guess I would only be able to make a call on it should the opportunity come my way. ;D Love tall ships by the way!

  8. Hi WilyBCool, I took that picture on a foggy morning in Mystic, Connecticut.

  9. I guess you can't fault the big houses for just trying to stay afloat. All they're looking for is something that will sell and keep them in business. That said, a writer's got to make a buck. Bryan and I were just talking about ghostwriting the other day. I think, in some instances, it's definitely necessary, especially if the story is an important one. In the case of Snookie or Dog the fucking Bounty Hunter, it's just literary whoring. But, I can't blame the ghosties at all. A guy's gotta eat.

  10. BFTS, I guess I can't help but fault the big houses for going in that direction to stay afloat. They saw technology seeping into the literary world, but disregarded it until it was too late.

    I agree. In some instances, it's understandable, and in others, it's 'literary whoring' (Nice phrase). Thanks for your input.

  11. Interesting post and discussion; hope I'm not too late to join. :P

    It's strange how ghostwriting is accepted for certain areas, like Presidents' speeches, and yet everyone marvels over how brilliant the President is after he gives it (any President, not just Obama). I think Lincoln was one of the last ones who wrote his own speech, wasn't he—or did I just make that up? LOL (just googled it.. there were others!)

    Anyhow, regarding ghostwriting books, I feel a similar disconnect to you because I know how much the process of writing has changed me for the better. I can't imagine coming up with ideas only to have someone else write them out. But as in many creative endeavors, there is always a business aspect, too.

  12. Nah, you're never too late to join in a discussion.

    I thought they're not necessarily ghostwriters, but speech writers? I guess I can understand ghostwriting President's speeches because they don't have time to research and write about National topics.

    BUT, I am not surprised my friend, Barb would mention President Lincoln. :) Thanks for stopping by.

  13. LOL... I can always squeak Lincoln into a conversation.

    Re: ghostwriter vs. speechwriter, I suppose they are not exactly synonymous, but I linked them more so for the fact that some people might not be aware that those words are not the President's, just as many people are unaware of books that are ghostwritten. What an odd thing (the more I think about it), but, alas, ghostwriting is all part of the publishing industry...