Ghostwriting ... An Old Profession

 William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

 Homer

Homer

 Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas

With the current proliferation in non-fiction it’s easy to imagine that ghostwriting is a  modern practice, but in fact, it’s one of the oldest professions in the world. Shakespeare, Dumas and Homer have all been accused of using ghosts in the past, or at best help from invisible hands. Many scholars have accused Shakespeare of collaborating with Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh and Edmund Spencer. Most scholars agree that Homer was not a single individual but a tradition or ‘culture’ whose stories emerged from traditional orality and that Auguste Maquet was the true genius behind Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers and the Count of Monte Christo.

Today, it’s standard knowledge that authors such as Tom Clancy, Katie Price and James Patterson rely on ghostwriters, co-authors or ‘collaborators’ for their prodigious literary outputs. The current boom in ghosting can be traced back to the early 1900s when the American demand for children’s books were apparently written by one person – Edward Stratemeyer of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew fame. Stratemeyer wrote many of his books under a pseudonym and used many different publishers in order not to dilute his brand but appetite for his books was enormous.  To meet demand his only option was to turn to ghostwriters for help. He gave them a strict formula to stick to and over time together they churned out more and more best-selling children’s books. Stratemeyer’s ‘ghostwriting to formula’ business model had cracked the market wide open. R.L. Stine, author of the ‘Goosebumps’ series for children later carried on with this assembly line model, turning to ghosts later in his writing life to produce sequels

Today, the demand for ghostwriters is being led by the desire for celebrity memoirs whose names will guarantee to sell. Most of the books ‘authored’ by celebrities, actors, politicians, captains of industry, musicians and ordinary people with extraordinary lives are ghostwritten. Some of them may be perfectly adequate writers but most of them simply do not have the time in their hectic schedules to put pen to paper. Many publishers claim that at least 7 out of 10 of their books are in fact ghosted.

Recent technological changes in the publishing industry have encouraged ‘ordinary’ people to consider using professional ghostwriters.  Real-life and personal inspiring stories filled with passion, conflict, drama and jeopardy are being easily published with digital and print on demand services. The barriers to publishing are being smashed as you read.

Today, ghosts are used to write anything from simple tweets, speeches and marketing materials to lengthy, well-researched and dense biographies. If you would like to use the services of Wordshaker in your own ghostwriting adventures, then please click on the link below.