Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Faking It

Outraged over Girl Online? Scott Pack doesn't think it's worth exploding over, because it's nothing new. Many famous people don't write their own books, but theirs are keeping bookstores afloat.

"Because the truth is the other books, the 'worthwhile' ones, aren’t popular enough to sustain our industry," he blogged. "And they never will be. The festive boost that the likes of Zoella, Jamie Oliver, underwater dogs and that bloke from Westlife provides is often the difference between a bookshop existing and not existing."

Was it so long ago since everybody was rattled by another ghostwriter's confessions?

Over at Salon, Laura Miller delves into the reason why Zoella's teen fan base feels "betrayed" that she did not write her own book.

From what I understand of Ms Miller's piece, Zoella's fault, if one can call it that, is that she made authenticity part of her brand. People like it if you're "real", especially those who are young, impressionable and bone-tired of faking it - and dealing with fakers - to get through the day.

So I guess her biggest fans should feel cheated - because if plain old Zoe Sugg didn't write her own book, what else did she not do?

A writer (let's call her "Gem") with whom I discussed this feels ghostwriting non-fiction (memoirs, textbooks and the like) is fine; "authors" of such books are often non-writers and have little time to write or research beyond their day jobs. Given the nature of our work, I could commiserate.

Writers of fiction who employ ghostwriters, meanwhile are the real pretenders, said Gem - like artists who don't paint or sculpt their own works. While non-fiction involves stringing together facts into an attractive and engaging narrative, fiction, she feels, is more of creating original material, even if the underlying concepts or ideas originated elsewhere.

Still, James Patterson's books are pretty hot, even though word is that he doesn't really write his own books anymore. But you know, it's like Danish butter cookies. Once someone hits on a winning formula, you can't stop the copycats and you're all, "Screw it, bad mood. WANT."

And for similar reasons, I think we can also give "Katie Price" a pass.

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