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  • Writer's pictureJack Champlin

Ghostwriters Anonymous

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Do you remember that slightly cynical adage on writing and writers: “Anyone can write a novel – and they do”? Yes, everyone is publishing these days. In the U.S. alone roughly 3,000 books are published, daily. Yes, that’s each day. But “publishing” is not “writing.” Did you know that not all of those 3,000 books are written by the named author? People would be surprised to know that quite a few are written entirely by or with the significant assistance of a “ghostwriter.”

Who or what is a “ghostwriter?” Well friends, that’s me! Yes, it’s not a very glamorous writing gig. We’re stuck behind the scenes, often receiving no credit for our genius. In fact, the “NDA” is a routine part of our “DNA.” I have been required to sign “non-disclosure” contracts and affidavits of every stripe imaginable, from every type of sleazy, salon-tanned and veneered “show biz” attorney, all to preserve the alleged reputation of a named author as a “creative.” What’s maddening? Listening to an imbecile wax poetically on the given fool’s difficult “journey” as a writer on numberless podcasts and radio shows. But, every once in a while, there’s a cosmic comeuppance. The bad review. Yes! And what can the pampered pet do then? Not much. Shifting blame to a beleaguered ghostwriter would simply expose the “author” as a fraud. Sure, they can fire their ghostwriter. But they’ll just have to find another, because let’s face it. They cannot write.

Yes, there are some exceptions out there. Autobiographies of athletes and celebrities are presumed to be written by, or with the help of, us “ghosters.” We do receive credit for those. But, the reading public would be blown away if they realized the extent to which the given novel they enjoyed was not even written by their favorite author. In many cases, the “author” hasn’t even come up with the title. That’s been handled by the publisher. Even worse, in many cases, the “author” has not even bothered to read “their” own work.

However, there is that tiny elephant in our cramped and ugly little ghostwriting room: AI. It’s here and it’s not going away. Yes, novels are being written and published solely based on AI. Unbelievable? Start believing. AI trawls its way through the web, grabbing entrees and apps from columns A, B and C, and then chewing and spitting out shiny, predictable crap. Just the kind of stuff that the public eats up, gleefully. ‘Till next time.

Happy reading!

Jack Champlin


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