I just came across the following article on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Takes_a_Village
I was confused by the ghostwriter’s lament over a lack of acknowledgment. Isn’t the whole idea behind a ghostwriter, well, to be invisible? It really sounds like Clinton was going for complete ownership of the project and the writer’s fee that she was paid seems to be reflective of this.
What’s your take on it? Am I being horribly naive here or is a ghostwriter supposed to get some kind of acknowledgment in the final product?
I almost didn’t publish the link because H. Clinton can generate such controversy. But I agree with you. If the numbers reported in the wikipedia article are correct, and they very well may be, the ghost was adequately paid and should have kept her mouth shut.
Getting paid and giving all credit to the author is what ghostwriters do. If we’re lucky, we will get some sort of an acknowledgement. I’ll even suggest that my name be mentioned if the person I’m working for seems to want to do something more than pay me, but I never ever demand it.
What we don’t know is how the contract was drafted. I suspect it included statements saying that the named author retains all rights, including the right to be named as sole author. I do that in many of my ghosting contracts and know that other ghosts do the same thing in one form or another.
There is some thinking that there’s something dishonest about ghostwriting or hiring a ghost to write a book. I don’t think it’s a problem because ghost writing is such a time-honored tradition.
I do caution the people I write for that with the internet it probably will be impossible to keep the fact of the ghostwriting secret if my client gains true notoriety. So far that hasn’t happened, but who knows.
By the way, just to provide some balance, maybe, there is this headline over at Huffington Post: Lynn Vincent: Palin Chooses Evangelical Magazine Editor To Co-Write Memoir.
Co-authorship is different. Although the co-author usually does all the writing just as the ghostwriter does, the co-author’s name appears on the cover and in other places along with the celebrity.
In fact, ghostwriting and co-authoring contracts get written all sorts of ways. A writer who signs one shouldn’t complain if he doesn’t like the results.
The series: My Start | 5 Ingredients I Bring To A Project | Elements Of My Contracts or Letters of Agreement | The Working Table Of Contents AKA Outline | Is Ghostwriting Fair? Ask Anne The Pro Writer | Interviewing To The Working Table Of Contents
The photo is of the head of the incredible ghostwriter sculpture that hangs in the The Evans ton Public Library (EPL), located in Evanston, Illinois by Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter. More phots to blow you away – on Helmick and Schechter’s pages.