Friday, March 09, 2007


One of my ListServe groups has been discussing the logistics & legalities behind ghostwriting - royalty percentages, etc. And that's very important, because all of that needs to be set in place before any writing occurs.
Of course, ghostwriting implies one will do most of the writing and get none of the credit. That has to be a factor when deciding whether or not to venture in this direction. What if the book does well? Your name will not be on it!
I was asked to consider writing a historical romance for someone, but with the understanding that yes, my name would be on the book. This would certainly be a better scenario than no credit at all.
Ghostwriting has been around for years. Author H P Lovecraft had many writers under him who would, with his guidance, write the story - then Lovecraft would make a couple minor changes and place his name on the piece. No wonder he put out so much work, espcially considering he lived a short life!
If you Google 'ghostwriting', you'll pull up websites that offer it as a service. "Become a best seller - let us write the book!" It is big business though, and a lot of authors make money in this manner. Of course, I do have to laugh at the self-publishing companies who offer it - if you have them do a full service on the book (editing, cover, marketing, etc.), then you've done almost nothing to contribute to the process! Takes a bit of the creative fun out of to me.
Outside of the historical romance I mentioned, I have no desire to write someone else's story. I have enough of my own ideas rattling around in my head at the moment!!


Mike Douglas said...

That's really interesting. I had no idea that Lovecraft had writers working under him. I always pictured him as a strange, disturbed little man sitting alone in a dark room cranking out his wonderful art to the rhythm of the rats in the walls.

The idea of a historical romance sounds like it could be fun, but that aside I don't like the idea of ghostwriting either. I doubt that I'll ever get asked though, since it's all I can do to spit out a few coherent paragraphs of my own. I'd certainly never consider asking someone to do my writing for me. How could I possibly take any pride in it?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Well, Lovecraft WAS sitting in a dark room with rats in the wall, but he was probably higher than a kite on opium at the time.
August Derleth, who put together most of Lovecraft's stories into books, was one of his underling writers.

And "a few coherent paragraphs" is not how I would describe your work!

Mike Douglas said...

haha... I lived in a place a while back that had a rat infestation (until my man Smokey went to work and convinced them that maybe they might want to live elsewhere). I actually had rats in the walls, and Lovecraft was often on my mind.

Ah, that makes sense about Derleth, I seem to remember that he wrote some pretty good Lovecraft-style stories himself. He also wrote a series of excellent (and I don't use the term lightly, because there are many such stories floating around and most that I've read are bunk) Sherlock Holmes pastiches, giving his main character the name Solar Pons.