Ghosts don’t just come out on Halloween. There’s a character called Beverley in The Echo Chamber, John Boyne’s new satirical novel on social media and culture cancellation. Beverley is a bestselling author who secretly uses a ghost writer without the knowledge of her readers.
Guest writing can be seen as the elephant of publishing in the room, but before Christmas there were plenty of bestsellers on bookstore shelves, from cookbooks to sports autobiographies and memoirs, will have used the services of a ghostwriter.
Ghost writing services have exploded due to the pandemic, as reported earlier in the year by StoryTerrace, which saw a 400pc increase earlier this year of adult children who, pushed to the action by Covid, wanted to hire a ghostwriter to preserve their parents’ memories.
Anna Wharton, a UK-based ghostwriter and professional novelist who specializes in ghost memoirs and works privately with people who wish to write memoirs, says the pandemic has got us all thinking.
âPeople stopped, got off their hamster wheel; they had time to look at four walls and reflect on their lives, âshe says. “It has brought a lot to people and writing memoirs can be quite a cathartic thing.”
Wharton has worked on books such as Cut: A woman’s fight against FGM, with Hibo Wardere (Simon & Schuster); as good as What I would like people to know about dementia with Wendy Mitchell (Bloomsbury), which will be released next January. She says there is no shame in having a nigger.
âSomeone told me 25 years ago that being in control means knowing when to ask for help. This applies to ghost writing. There is a myth that if you employ a ghostwriter you let go, and you don’t, you actually take control.
Conor Nagle, editor at HarperCollins Ireland, says there is an assumption that the involvement of a ghostwriter seems to undermine a book’s claim to credibility.
âOver the years, I’ve read quite a few opinion pieces questioning the claim of ghost books to any sort of creative value,â he says. âIt’s a feeling that seems out of place to me, in part because editing is very rarely the lonely chase that people assume.
“It is sometimes assumed that the only real book is one that an author has studied in solitude and published without assistance.
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âBut publishing almost always involves some sort of collaboration, whether it’s between the author and a tight-knit group of mentors, or larger teams that may include designers, illustrators, photographers. Ghost writers are also part of it. this creative conversation. “
Nagle says there are many reasons an author might not be able to advance a manuscript without assistance, “none of which should be an obstacle to publication.”
“For writers with little writing experience, a ghost can help ease the technical burden, allowing the writer to focus their energy where it is most needed – on the substance of their story,” he says. he.
âIn other cases, more practical obstacles, such as poor health or cognitive atypia, can limit an author’s ability to advance a manuscript on his own. Ghost writers can also help writers unlock their creative potential, introducing new perspectives or challenging long-held beliefs.
“The ideal author-ghost relationship is not a one-way traffic, it is a dialogue, a meeting of minds.”
Sue Leonard, a well-known journalist in Ireland, has also written many ghost books, including this year’s If memory serves me badly with Ronan Smith (New Island Books), An act of love with Marie Fleming (Hachette Books Ireland) and Whispering Hope, the true story of the Madeleine women (Orion), as well as one or two that she can’t talk about.
She says that when she started writing negroes over ten years ago, it was not a common policy to have the negro’s name on the book.
âI think that has now changed,â she said. âFunny enough, as that has changed, I care less. It is the book of the person; it is their story.
Leonard is currently working on ghostwriting for Who’s Eddie’s memoir âThe Other Almost Dundalk Band, That Almost Succeeded,â for which she was referred by author Cecelia Ahern.
She says Negroes bring “some really important stories to life that might otherwise go down the drain.”
âA misconception is that you actually want to be a novelist, and that’s a second choice,â she says. âWhich, for some people, might be true. For me, it’s really an extension of journalism.
For Donn McClean, a racing journalist who wrote five ghost books, the latest of which is the memoir of jockey Pat Smullen Champion (Gill Books), released later this year, the post of negro is privileged.
âYou have a very valuable entity at your disposal; you have to present the person’s career, or their life, as well as you can. They only have one book, or one life, so you’re going to go on and write the next book, âhe says.
âThe key to being a negro is to step aside; to try and capture the person’s voice. When you agree to be a nigger, you know exactly what it is: it’s called a nigger for a reason.
Ghostwritten: four of the most famous
His heart as a compass
Sarah ferguson (Mills & Boon, 2021)
Ferguson’s novel, set in the Victorian era, was co-written by Mills & Boon veteran Marguerite Kaye and is loosely based on the Duchess of York’s ancestor, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott. In an author’s note, Ferguson writes that the novel was “15 years in the making.” The Guardian described the book as “good chaste fun”.
The second half
Roy Keane with Roddy Doyle (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2014)
Having a Booker Prize winning author who openly ghostly writes your memoirs has its perks, not least because of all the publicity columns garnered by this partnership made in football and literary heaven. It also put ghostwriting on the map as a legitimate sideline for well-known authors. The London time called The Second Half “a masterpiece”.
Katie Price (Century, 2007)
The glamorous model formerly known as Jordan successfully reinvented herself as an author with the help of print and radio reporter Rebecca Farnworth, who wrote 14 ghost books under the model’s name and the businesswoman, including autobiographies and novels. Farnworth died of cancer in 2014. When Crystal, a novel, came out in 2007, it sold more than the entire Booker shortlist that year.
Trump: the art of the deal
Donald trump (Random House, 1987)
The memoir of the man who would become the 45th President of the United States spent 48 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Ghost writer Tony Schwartz said The New Yorker in 2016 that he regretted having written the book.
âI put lipstick on a pig,â he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse for helping to present Trump in a way that has captured him more attention and made him more attractive than him.”