Why Can’t Fiction Writers
Write Their Own Books?
Opinion By: Edwin L. Crammer, CPA – I must confess that I enjoy reading a detective novel or a well written spy novel on the weekends to take my mind off of the dreary Accounting stuff I have to read during the week. I have noticed a trend that is becoming quite prevalent in the world of fiction over the past few years and that is that a number of novels by popular writers are actually ghost written by other authors or in collaboration with other authors.
For a while, and still quite noticeable is a trend where a famous author passes away after writing a series of novels featuring a specific character or theme. The estate of the deceased author allows another author to carry on the theme that the deceased author began.
When you pick up the book, you will see the name of the deceased author in large print at the top and the name of the actual author in smaller print at the bottom of the cover.
One of the current popular authors James Patterson seems to grind out a new book every month. You would think wow this guy is very talented to be able to put out a new novel every month until you look closely at the cover and see that he has a whole gallery of writers collaborating with him. At least I think so to complete those books for him.
The amazing thing is that James Patterson’s books always pop up on the best seller list for a week or two despite the fact that Patterson does not write those books or at least I do not believe he writes them.
Robert B Parker is another author who passed away several years ago. His books were also quite popular with his Spencer for Hire series and his Jesse Stone series which has been made into several television novellas, Like clockwork every two months or so a new Robert B. Parker book is released and written by another ghost writer whose name appears in smaller print at the bottom of the cover sheet. These books will continue to be written as long as the public is willing to buy them.
Actually, this in reality has been going on for a long time on a much smaller scale. Most of you know that the original author of the James Bond series, Ian Fleming passed away many years ago, but you still see new James Bond stories popping up every year or so.
One author whom I do not believe uses a ghost writer to help her write her books that are written for the tastes of the female crowd is Danielle Steele. She also seems to deliver a new novel almost every month. I do not know how she does it although I suspect she may have a computer program that helps her flush out those ideas. My wife loves her books and I believe she owns a copy of every book Danielle Steele has ever written.
Now I know that television series of similar genre are written not by one writer but by a team of writers. This is different. You start to get interested in reading the works of a specific writer, you can’t wait until their next book comes out and all of a sudden the next book has a co-writer listed at the bottom of page one.
I suppose the reason, that this is happening is that the publishers latch on to a money making author. When he starts to get stale, they encourage him or her to take on a writing assistant who will come up with fresh ideas to continue to feed the frenzy of the book buying public that are addicted to that series.
It has gotten to the point that even though I have enjoyed every book written by a specific author, if I see a new book that comes out in a series that I am following, I purposely stop reading that author’s books as it is my opinion that what the author has done is to deceive the public in their actions.
I must admit, however, that ghost writing for a famous author could lead to a formidable career for a budding new author. About fifteen years ago, another famous author who I shall not name passed away after writing about a dozen novels in a series I actually followed. I was interested in this series as the novels all took place in South Florida and many well known areas of the tri county area were profiled in those books. When the author passed away, another individual took on the task of producing additional books in that same series. I believe he wrote three more novels. Now I see his name popping up on the lists of the new book lists that are put out every month by the various book clubs. He is now writing his own series of books after getting the experience with ghost writing for a deceased author.
I suppose my grumbling about this will not have any effect on the industry, but at least I was able to get out my distaste for the practice and I will bet some of you out there feel the same way.
You may contact Edwin L. Crammer at; Edwin@edwinlcrammerpa.com