Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ghost Writer in the News

Do ghost writers get enough credit for all the work they do?

Kim Green, the ghost writer for American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino’s book, Life is Not a Fairy Tale, doesn’t seem to think so. The book came out a year ago, sold 48,000 copies, made the New York Times best-seller list for non-fiction, and was the inspiration for a Lifetime movie. Green received $45,000 and was mentioned in the acknowledgements, as well as in some interviews, such as one last month in Parade magazine and in October 2005 in Read This Now.

Now, after her nondisclosure period has expired, Green’s letting it be known she’s not happy. According to a Radar Online article, she feels she was shut out of the movie plans and also feels she deserved co-writer status since Barrino has admitted she’s functionally illiterate. According to Radar Online, “Green doesn't blame Barrino for shutting her out, though she does question whether the singer, who is reportedly receiving tutoring, will ever bother to read the book she purportedly authored.”

In another article from Fox News, Barrino’s father is suing Simon & Schuster, publisher of Life is Not a Fairy Tale, for $10 million. You’ll note he’s not suing his daughter. Publishers Lunch said in their September 27 issue that may be “perhaps because the father doesn't think she wrote the book.” Fox News says “the lawsuit alleges that the singer's grandmother, Addie Collins, was the ghost writer. Fantasia Barrino was not listed as a defendant.”

This may not have been the best time for Kim Green to come forward and announce herself as the ghost writer. But, on the other hand, she strongly feels she deserved co-author status and should have been consulted on the movie. Basically, she feels she deserves more credit and is taking steps to stand up for herself.

Ghost writers don’t get a lot of credit. But then, that’s what the name “ghost writer” implies -- someone invisible and unseen. Basically, what Green purports is that she wasn’t really a ghost writer. She was the co-author.


  1. Isn't this a lot of flap for 48,000 copies? And a million dollar law suit? The entire press run probably didn't gross that much.

  2. And another question. How does any book make the NYT besst seller list with a press run or 48,000 copies?

  3. From what I can gather, it's not just about the 48,000 copies. It's also about the movie and what she sees as the lack of acknowledgement for the work she did.

    It's not always a matter of how many books were sold, but a question of how many were sold within a specific time period and at which particular outlets. Selling 40,000 within a week is weighted differently than 40,000 sold over five years.


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