The Author in the Corner
While Kindle and Nook are revolutionizing the publishing industry—and by that I refer to The Amazing, Technicolor eBook Revolution—might we give some attention to that dusty corner over there in the shadows? The eyes peering out of the darkness, like Ignorance and Want from under the robes of Christmas Present, belong to literature’s ghosts—ghostwriters, if you must.
From a purely rational viewpoint, an author searches for a subject and writes a book. Or a subject searches for an author, and the author writes a book. Either way, an author is an author, and a subject is a subject. A subject does not become an author unless he writes a book.
In the orthodox publishing world, however, the author who is found by the subject is called a “ghostwriter,” the subject is then called the author, the manuscript is called a “work for hire,” and the author is paid a “fee.” And in the credits, if the author’s name appears at all, it follows the word “with” after the subject’s name, all of which makes one wonder if the whole thing wasn’t the first experiment in political correctness.
If a subject finds an author, I say let them share credit and royalties equally. Indisputably, it takes two to make a NYT bestseller—great writing as well as a great story. What say ye?
About the Author
The writer of the international bestseller, Son of Hamas, Ron Brackin has traveled extensively in the Middle East as an investigative journalist. He was in the West Bank and Gaza during the Al-Aqsa Intifada, on assignment in Baghdad and Mosul after the fall of Iraq and more recently with the rebels and refugees of Southern Sudan and Darfur. He has contributed articles and columns to many publications, including USA Today and The Washington Times.
Ron is the author of other nonfiction books, including Sweet Persecution, Between 2 Fires and Iraq, My Handiwork. He was a broadcast journalist with WTOP-AM, Post-Newsweek’s all-news radio station in Washington D.C. and weekend news anchor on Metromedia’s WASH-FM. And he served as a congressional press secretary under the Reagan Administration.
Visit his blog at ronbrackin2.wordpress.com