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Friday, March 03, 2006

Behind the Curtain

Journalist Scott Simon said that ghostwriting is “as old as literature.” Today an estimated 40 percent of all published books (and 80 percent of all celebrity books) are ghostwritten.

Most readers can understand why actors, athletes, artists and activists hire someone to write their books; most celebs don’t have the skill to produce well-written autobiographies. But what’s in it for the ghostwriter?

For one thing, an A-lister’s memoir is easier for the writer to sell. For another thing, ghostwriting can take less time. “By using someone else's knowledge I can cut my research time for a book from months to days,” says prolific ghostwriter Andrew Crofts. There’s also the voyeur factor. Helen Brown claimed that ghostwriters do it “to see how the rich and famous live.”

March 1-7 is National Ghostwriters Week. Check out:

“Both Feet on the Ground” by David Beckham (and Tom Watt).

"Big Russ and Me” by Tim Russert (and Bill Novak).

Swan by Naomi Campbell (and Caroline Upcher).

It Takes a Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton (and Barbara Feinman).

The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump (and Tony Schwartz).

The Way Things Ought to Be by Rush Limbaugh (and John Fund).

The Beadstown Ladies’ Common-Sense Investment Guide by the Beardstown Ladies (and Leslie Whitaker).

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