[I’ve always been fascinated with this topic, so much so that I was a “ghost writer” for Halloween last year…]
I’m not sure about you, but I spend quite a bit of my time thinking about ghostwriters and ghostwriting in general. I have always wondered which books have been penned behind the scenes, so to speak. Two weekends ago, when the news broke that Zoe Sugg (or Zoella, online) had received help in writing her debut novel, Girl Online, the discussion of ghostwriters and ghostwriting was brought to the forefront again.
I’m not here to pass judgement or even throw in my two cents about the Zoella news. But what I do want to ask you is whether knowing a book is ghostwritten affects your enjoyment or perception of the book at all. For me, I think that if the publisher/author is upfront about the project being a collaborative effort, then I wouldn’t mind it. As long as everyone in the partnership feels as though they’ve gained from the experience, I’m not in a place to judge. However, I think I would feel more cheated if I read (and enjoyed) a book only to find out that the words I connected with didn’t belong to the person I was attributing them to.
This brings up another question for me: What’s more important – a story’s ideas, or the words themselves? In Zoella’s case, she has affirmed that all of the characters and storylines are her own, so perhaps this assuages the anger (if there is any)? I’m on the fence about this, but I think it all comes down to transparency. I think that credit should go where credit is due. (I do want to briefly add that Zoella did thank Siobhan Curham, her alleged ghostwriter, in her acknowledgements.)
Ghostwriting is not a new practice, and I’m sure there will always be ghostwriters helping out behind the scenes. Like I mentioned before, I’m not for or against it as long as everyone in the partnership feels fulfilled, but it has been extremely interesting to read the internet’s response as this latest Zoella news broke. I would love to hear what you all think!
Do you care whether something is ghostwritten or not?