JamieFord Jamie Ford
What?! Celebrities use ghostwriters? Next you’re going to tell me Pamela Anderson’s boobs aren’t real.
But while I appreciate the sentiment, I’m not quite sure the general public finds this quite so obvious. Why? Because celebrities flat out say they wrote the novel themselves. Okay, first off, I think I should clarify. I do not have a problem with celebrity book deals. Yes, even novels (as opposed to tell-alls and whatnot). I think they are solid business investments that consistently seem to make money for publishers and, therefore, for the publishing industry as a whole, appear to be a net positive. I even like the celeb books that I’ve read. Lauren Conrad’s books are actually really enjoyable and I would totally recommend them for a fun beach read.
But the NYT article points to something that has been bugging me for a long time. The celebrities are saying they literally wrote the novels. For instance, when asked by Matt Lauer if she really wrote the book A Shore Thing, Snooki replied, “I did…Because if you read it, you’ll know the first page that I wrote it. Cause, like, it’s all my language.” As you might have guessed, Snooki did, indeed, have a co-writer.
When Nicole Richie was asked about her writing routine for her second novel she said that she writes early in the morning, before the rest of her family woke up and that she writes all her own stories. Nicole Richie’s publisher later corrected, saying that a ghostwriter did most of the book’s writing.
So, I don’t know why this bugs me so badly, but it does. I guess because it’s just a flat out lie and implies that writing is pretty easy. Maybe it’s because I’m a ghostwriter myself. Of course, my form of ghostwriting is different. I don’t write for a celebrity. Instead, I write under a series pseudonym. Plus, on the first page it says “Special Thanks to Chandler Craig.” So, I feel from that, most people could imply that I wrote the thing. But, if my editor was asked in front of a gajillion people on the Today Show if she wrote the book and she said, “Yes, I wrote the whole thing by myself,” I think I’d be sort of annoyed.
I’m not saying celebrities need to volunteer the information. I’m not saying that the ghostwriters’ names should be on the book, although I do believe they should be in the acknowledgments. I’m not even saying that a celeb can’t evade the question like crazy if asked. But I feel that a celebrity point blank saying that he or she wrote the book is a misrepresentation of the product.
So, what do y’all think? Do you care? Does it bother you as writers? As readers? Am I being overly sensitive?
And for fun, here are a couple other celebrity quotes about writing:
Hilary Duff on publishing deadlines: “Then it got hectic. I was planning the wedding, and there’s deadlines with that, too, like getting the location and getting your dress at a certain time … I tend to do everything at the last minute … I couldn’t even choose which one is harder. I guess I’d say the book.”