March 23, 2012

Ghostwriting Controversy

According to Wikipedia: A ghostwriter is a writer who writes books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person. Celebrities, executives, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, or other written material. In music, ghostwriters are used in film score composition, as well as for writing songs and lyrics for popular music genres

The controversy started anew when The NY Times printed this article about a Chef Ghostwriter. A couple of celebrity cookbook writer's took offense to the article because it suggested they didn't pen their own cookbooks.

In response to Gwyneth Paltrow's, "this is my book and I wrote my book and it's all mine," Rachael Ray responded with: "I so strongly agree, this is how I spend the little time at home I have with my family, I spend in front of these little notebooks, in front of the computer. It sort of takes away from all of that to not be able to call that writing, of course that's writing. It doesn't mean you don't value the people who write the glossary or that help organize the pantry or that work on a project, but a writer is still a writer."

Credited to Owen Smith
Does anyone else find this sort of evasive?

It seems to me if someone hands a pile of notebooks over to someone else and says, "Here, you write it for me," that you've just hired yourself a ghostwriter. If you consider yourself a writer, fine. You're a writer. But if you had help, why not just say, "I had help and Thank You"? I don't think less of these people because they had help.

As long as I'm going out on a limb, I may as well say that I believe ghostwriter's should be listed in the credits for these writing projects. Give credit where credit is due.
Are you a writer because you've compiled a lot of material and it's your story to tell, even if someone else is ghostwriting it?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Interesting points.
I know some celebrity books where the real writer or a co-author is listed.

Lady Gwen said...

Alex, good - that's as it should be:) I really don't understand why Paltrow and Ray object to it.

Deborah Walker said...

Give the poor ghostwriter the credit. It's only fair.

Angela Brown said...

I don't take issue with the ghost writing bit unless the person credited for the writing actually makes a point of saying they sat there and did all the research, revisions, edits and the whole nine - when in truth, they didn't.

Give the ghost writer the credit. No problem having to author names on the book's spine.

Lady Gwen said...

Deborah, I agree.

Angela, that's it exactly.

Morgan said...

You're totally right. You've either written the book or you haven't. And I agree that more credit should be given to these ghost writers. I find this topic fascinating... Unusual I think, to put so much work and not get the credit for it... takes a different type of person to do that ;)

JEFritz said...

I don't think you're a writer if you've compiled all the information. That's really only one step. There's also the writing, the editing, the revising...if you don't have a hand in all of that, you're just an assistant.

PS. I gave you an award on my blog. :)

Lady Gwen said...

Morgan, yeah I don't have a problem with their name on the spine, but if you've had a ghostwriter, they should be listed in the credits.

JE, I agree. I wonder why Paltrow and Ray were so offended? No one said they weren't writers - just that they had help on their cookbooks. No disrespect or accustions intended, but it's a fact that many celebrities have ghostwriters.

Sarah Pearson said...

So, I've got all my characters listed, named and described, my chapters worked out, and a summary for each. I'll give you my notes, you write it and just stick my name on it. I'm sure you won't mind :-)

Lady Gwen said...

JE!!!! You gave me an award! Yay! Thank you soooo much. I collect awards, you know. And I don't have a Sunshine Award yet! Totally love them. I'll boast, er, post about it soon:)

Lady Gwen said...

Sarah, LOL! That's exactly how it is. Wouldn't it be so easy to do it that way:)

Caitlin said...

Interesting, I hadn't read about this yet. I suppose I don't see anything wrong with ghost writers, but I do think that they should at least be credited somewhere in the book.

Lady Gwen said...

Caitlin, yeah - it's been all over the news. Ghostwriters are talented and necessary and should receive credit for their work.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I missed this link. I never thought about a chef using a ghostwriter. I read a memoir recently where the author is also a ghostwriter. It sounds like an interesting/crazy process.

Ricky Smith said...

Wanna to thank you for interesting posts buddy. Keep writing.

ghostwriter for hire
affordable editing and proofreading

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