I’ve done ghostwriting for more than 20 years. It’s a career that we don’t hear a lot about. After all, our job is to write for someone else and let them take credit. This is a profession for people who know how to keep their mouths shut. For this reason, it’s pretty rare when ghostwriters come forward and talk about their projects.
Last weekend, Andrew Neiderman admitted that he’s ghostwritten more than 70 novels for popular author Virginia Andrews. since her death in 1986. Although Neiderman had never met Ms. Andrews, they did share an agent. It was the agent who requested that Neiderman finish her novel. Although the family admitted that they’d found someone to continue her work, his identity remained a secret.
Like all good ghostwriters, Neiderman admits he has a gift for mimicking people’s style. So it did not surprise me that he is now a grandfather who successfully writes for adolescent girls. His NPR interview was an interesting behind-the-scenes look into the life of a ghostwriter.
Ghostwriting is a fairly common and accepted practice in the world of non-fiction. However, I think fiction fans are a little less forgiving. I believe that many feel deceived when they learn that that a ghostwriter is behind their favorite novel. Others, I would hope, are happy that their favorite novels continue to be produced, regardless of who ultimately writes them.
What do you think? Would you feel deceived if you learned your favorite author was no longer writing their own work?2