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Should Ghostwriters Be Revealed? By S.C. Wynne

I saw an interesting poll being distributed by N.R. Walker the other day. You can find the poll HERE on her Twitter page. (I’m linking this because she encouraged sharing the poll.)

The poll asked if authors who use ghostwriters should be made to add a disclaimer in the front matter of the ghostwritten book, or on the cover, to alert consumers to the fact the listed author did not write the book.

Let me preface this by saying; I don’t pretend to have the answers to any of this. What follows will simply be me rambling about my opinion on this subject.

I think it’s an interesting question; should ghostwriters be disclosed to the consumer? My gut reaction is, yes. I think if you establish a brand, then people who buy that brand should get the real deal. But it’s kind of more complicated than that. Some author names are groups who write under one pen name. In that case, the brand was never really one person to begin with.Was a brand ever really even established? Maybe group pen names should disclose that they are a group? 

Writing is a creative art, much like painting. If I bought a painting by an artist, I’d expect that painting to have been painted by that actual artist. If for some reason that artist didn’t paint it, I’d expect that information to be disclosed to me.

Some respondents to the poll didn’t care if the ghostwriters were disclosed or not. They didn’t care that there might be an inconsistency to the books because different people are writing them. They felt that if it got too much, or the voices were too different, they just wouldn’t read that”author” anymore.

That is certainly a fair point of view. No one is making anyone read anything. (Unless you’re in school, and then you must listen to your teachers girls and boys!) 😀

Anytime the subject of ghost writing comes up Carolyn Keene is always mentioned. I can admit to being surprised to learn that the books I’dread as a kid weren’t written by the same person. It was a bit unsettling to discover that truth so long after the fact. But did that make it wrong that it was kept a secret? I don’t really know how to answer that. It was surprising,but was it wrong?

I think what I find most baffling is why anyone would want to pretend to be an author? I write books because I love writing books. It wouldn’t occur to me to publish someone else’s book and pretend it was mine.Interaction with readers would be so odd. For me. Maybe the authors who use ghostwriters rewrite the books enough that they feel the books are theirs?Again, I don’t have the answer.

Maybe these authors who use ghostwriters consider themselves to be more of a publisher than an author? I know there are many authors on YouTube who brag they’ve made excellent money putting out books they purchased,written by other people. If you’re just in this business to make money, maybe that makes sense to you? (There are easier ways to make money, just FYI)

If you use ghostwriters, are you really an author? Maybe you’re an editor and business person? A distributor of books? To me an author slaves over the books and puts their heart and soul into the stories. I don’t want to buy ideas or outlines from others, like I’ve seen other”authors” do. I want to come up with my own ideas. Make my own mistakes. That’s what creativity is all about, right?

I’m curious to see the result of NR. Walker’s poll. When I last checked, most people seemed to feel ghostwriters should be disclosed. I don’t know how that would ever be enforced, and I’m not sure it should be. As I said, I don’t pretend to have the answers, and I don’t think this is a black and white issue.

The one thing I am adamant about is if you buy and S.C.Wynne book, it’s written by me. Every word. Every line. Every story comes from my experiences and imagination. Good or bad, it’s all me.