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When during a televised skirmish President Ronald Reagan’s recently published memoirs the show’s presenter commented on the president’s recently published memoirs, the former president wryly remarked: ‘I hear it’s a terrific book. One of these days I am going to read it myself.’

Of course, the statesman hadn’t written his biography but he was hardly alone in employing an (editor- story enhancer) ghost-writer whose name never appears on a book’s cover. Interviewed by Vanity Fair about her autobiography, Ivana Trump warbled: ‘To my surprise, I find I have a great imagination. I don’t say I am the Shakespeare, but it’s not just about the beautiful people and the gorgeous yachts and the fabulous homes and lots of sex. I tried to put in more the feelings.’

It was a great sales spin but Ivana reportedly paid ghostwriter Camille Marchetta $350,000 to write For Love Alone.

Whatever the ethics involved in book editing (ghostwriting), Michael Walsh, who edits authors books for those who lack his writing flair, is matter-of-fact and asks: ‘Does anyone really believe that celebrities have the time or the skills needed to set down their life story?’

John Blake, of Blake Publishing, estimates that as many as 80 per cent of celebrity books are ghosted. Lucie Cave who penned Jade Goody’s My Autobiography says; ‘It is a must-have accessory for anyone who has reached a certain level of fame. Obviously, these people cannot write their books themselves, so they need someone else to do it for them.’

The list of names adorning the spines of books is often impressive but their true authors are rarely known. Earl Conrad wrote Errol Flynn’s biography My Wicked, Wicked Ways.

One would need to wade through 529 pages of Hilary Clinton’s autobiography to discover that her speechwriter was responsible for most of her biography. One doubts Hilary Clinton has ever got past the first paragraph of ‘her story.’

In 1957 John F. Kennedy was accused of using a ghost for his Profiles of Courage and Why England Slept. Henry Ford’s My Philosophy of Industry (New York Coward McCann 1929) was written by Fay Faurote.

Many famous authors head writers’ syndicates that churn out their novels and others on an industrial scale.

Some famous writers allow less well-known writers to use their names on the cover of their books ~ for a fee. These include Andrew Neiderman, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Naomi Campbell, and Clive Cussler. Clancy’s publishers say: ‘Tom Clancy creates the ideas for these series and the writers execute Clancy’s ideas. All are subject to his supervision.’ 

It is claimed that 40 per cent of books are ghosted but is it ethical? Many books that aren’t professionally edited fail. It is not necessary to read between the lines to realise why. Apart from writing his own books, Michael Walsh has helped scores of writers to bring their books up to retail standards:

‘If there were no co-writers there would be few books. We take advice in fixing our cars, having our photographs taken but why stop there?’

‘There are hundreds of fascinating people with interesting stories to tell or experiences to pass on, but few writers with the gift of writing with flair and flow who can bring life to them. If a co-writer achieves that then everyone benefits from the partnership.’

MY CONTACT DETAILS   [email protected]


If you have written a novel or biography but lack the skills to bring your work to retail standard Michael Walsh can help you.

Enquiries are invited from writers who have already written or are well advanced in writing their novel. There is a demand for fiction, real-life stories, mystery, romance, crime, erotica, and romantic comedy.  Contact: [email protected] or [email protected] 

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