May 24, 2024

Lately, many people have been curious about ghostwriting. Everyone’s question is how these ghost writers work behind the scenes, whether their talent is properly evaluated or not.

Suppose someone wants to write his biography, but does not have time or does not like writing. But everyone is eager to hear his life story. In that case, ghostwriters can solve it. They can compile an entire book of the person’s past diaries, interviews, or other personal data.

Writing a novel is a bit different. Books by popular authors are heavily discounted. Ghostwriters are therefore hired with the author’s permission to meet the needs of readers. This is the wisdom to write books in imitation of the original author and publish them quickly.

Ghostwriters were behind writing the autobiographies of almost all famous people. Be it John F Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Lance Armstrong or Shane Warne. When talking about famous novels written with ghost writers, Alexandre Duma’s ‘The Three Musketeers’ or ‘Count of Monte Cristo’ comes to mind.

Also after starting a series of many books, those series were written by them due to huge demand. Ghostwriters have written on the model of the early books of ‘Nancy Drew’ series, ‘The Hardy Boys’ series, Ian Fleming’s ‘James Bond’ series, Tom Clancy’s ‘Jack Ryan’ series. In writing a series of books, the characters are already established, so there is some advantage.

Not only autobiographies or novels, non-fiction books are also written by ghostwriters. Ken Shelton helped write the book ‘Seven Effective Habits of Highly Successful People’ by Steven R Covey. Many such examples can be given.

The question is, if ghostwriters write their names, where is the problem? There is no problem in giving the author’s name if writing a private interview national book. But when writing an autobiography of a famous person, their name acts as a brand, so the books easily become bestsellers. And that ultimately benefits the ghostwriter. Because it is more profitable to get dividends from bestselling books than selling a few copies under your own name.

In that context comes the issue of ghostwriters’ income. They may get a lump sum or a share of the royalties as per the agreement. In the second case, the more books are printed, the more money will accumulate in his bank. But he will never get the right to write.

Because, this book was planned by the original author, like the architect of the house. And in the case of fiction books, he adds some extra spices during editing. As a result, the ‘flavor’ of the original author’s writing comes through in the book. It is assumed that ghostwriters do not have the ability to reproduce the original content 100%.

Things to know about ghostwriting

Ghostwriters have several responsibilities. They have to go through many hurdles such as thinking about how to make the main idea interesting to the reader, sitting down with the original author to make a draft of the book, researching the topic of the book well. Ghostwriters also have less freedom in writing, with editing scissors going over the writing repeatedly to accurately convey the original author’s spirit. In the case of novels, every effort is made to maintain the style and quality of the original author’s writing.

A non-disclosure agreement is taken at the outset. As a result, they keep the name of the book or their association with that book a secret.

Ghostwriting is a very popular profession in the international field. Literature students are often involved in such work before graduating with a degree. They write not only books, but also poems, songs and even speeches. Although it is his intellectual property, he will not get the credit for writing, they continue with intellectual labor.

Sometimes, however, the names of ghostwriters are also published with the permission of the original author. James Patterson’s ‘The Chef’ or ‘The First Lady’ are brilliant examples. Patterson’s team of ghostwriters are highly paid. This is also seen in Tom Clancy’s books after 2000.

Established writers are not usually seen playing the role of ghostwriter. Likewise, most ghostwriters never make their debut as mainstream authors. There are some exceptions, however. Many will be surprised to hear that popular horror writer H.P Lovecraft did ghostwriting early in his career. Although he wrote for the literary David Van Bush, he did not consider Bush a very high-value writer.

He also wrote for magician Harry Houdini. Mickey Spillane died in 2006 in the prime of his career. Max Allan Collins helped him finish his unfinished novel. Collins himself was a mystery writer. He later took charge of Dick Tracy Comics. Despite being a ghost writer, his involvement was not kept secret.

Sinclair Lewis helped famous author Jack London overcome writer’s block. He also helped Maurice McLaughlin write the book ‘Tennis as I Play’, which played a major role in popularizing tennis in the United States. Lewis later won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Meanwhile, Bernie Taupin, who worked with British musician Sir Elton John for nearly five decades, was also a ghostwriter. Recently, he won the Oscar jointly with Elton for the film ‘Rocketman’. Classical music guru Mozart also wrote music for the elite at that time.

Ghostwriters learn the personal details of a complete stranger while writing an autobiography. Ghostwriters are therefore required to sign serious confidentiality agreements when writing biographies of political figures or people involved in the country’s security agencies. Roman Polanski made a thriller movie called ‘The Ghost Writer’ based on this story.

Seba Prakashani was probably the first in Bangladesh to start writing books with official ghostwriters. When Rakib Hasan withdrew from the three detective projects, he wrote various ghostwriter stories in his own name and in Shamsuddin Nawab’s name.

Kazi Anwar Hossain started the Masud Rana series long before that. He wrote the first 11 books of the series starting with the original novel. Various writers including Sheikh Abdul Hakim, Kazi Maimur Hossain, Kazi Shahonur Hossain, Iftekhar Amin worked as ghost writers for the later books. In addition, Seba has exclusively started paperback book business in Bangladesh with Kuasha, Western series.

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