Ghostwriters? Co-authors?

I came across this Cracked.com entry yesterday as I was on break.  The photo set is called 23 Outrageous Marketing Lies You See Everyday.  This was the Top 2 on the list.  It comes at the perfect time since I just posted my Top Popular Authors that I Haven’t Read Yet.  Most of the authors listed and considered fall under the “crazy prolific” category.  Like, their books line entire shelves at the used bookstores.  How on earth do they do that and not run out of material?  I fancied myself “a person who writes” (we’re talking about fan fiction here, people; let’s be real lol) and it takes me a good chunk of a year to write a story that can win NaNoWriMo.  I did win it once but that was back when I had no job and all the time in the world.  And still, I barely made it to 50k.  How then?

In 2012 alone, James Patterson put out 13 books (blame Wikipedia if I’m wrong).  I felt that there’s always a new Patterson book out, from Alex Cross novels to his YA series, there’s always a new Patterson book on the shelves.  Same with Nora Roberts.  No drugstore book shelf is complete without at least two titles from her or JD Robb.  These people release books faster than people can read them.

I’m not throwing shade or anything but let’s just assume that this is true.  I have no proof to support this claim.  I know that there are many authors who are obligated under contract to churn out at least one book a year.  I noticed that with James Rollins who seem to release a new title just as the previous one goes out on paperback.  Maybe he’s one of these chaps too or maybe he’s honest.  Either way, I love his work and his writing style is pretty consistent from the first Sigma Force novel until the last one I read.  Nicholas Sparks recycles the same story year after year so that Hollywood can have something to show on Valentine’s Day.

But when you look at these books, they are attributed solely to the author whose name is embossed in bold gold writing.  OF COURSE, they will never admit to having a ghostwriter or “co-author” but still.  How about those unnamed talents?  How much does the named author actually writes in a book?  What are they doing about quality control?  For those who have read a number of books from these authors, is the writing style consistent?

I have so many questions!  🙂  But really, who knows?  How does one get this gig?  XD

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3 thoughts on “Ghostwriters? Co-authors?

  1. My husband told me not too long about James Patterson using a ghost writer, and it made me angry. I wouldn’t be a ghost writer. I just couldn’t write for someone else and let them take all the credit. I wish I could remember where my husband saw the article about James Patterson. Maybe MSN or the Huffington Post?

    I can’t read Nicholas Sparks because I agree with you – he totally recycles the same story over and over. I did make an exception for The Notebook, but that’s it, lol! I don’t have any desire to read Nora Roberts – her books all sound the same to me.

    I have no proof, but I believe that at least the authors they list in the photo above use ghost writers. How else could they churn out all those books? Maybe I’m wrong, but there have been so many rumors, it’s hard not to believe it’s probably true.

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    • Interesting. Thank you for this! 🙂

      Haha, I’ve started reading “Flowers in the Attic” this morning actually. At least with VC Andrews, I knew the “secret” behind her later works. It’s just disappointing to know that a huge best-seller such as Patterson and his peers pull this stunt, obviously for money.

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