Thursday, July 05, 2007


Have you noticed lately that there seem to be more franchise books being published? I'm talking about those books that have a famous or well-read author's name on it, but are not actually written by that author. They're written by someone else.

Like James Patterson or Robert Ludlum. They have the author's name in big letters at the top, then at the bottom is the name of the author who actually wrote it.

Authors writing as someone else is not a new phenomenon. But it seems to be more acknowledged now. On the one hand, it's a good thing since the actual writer of the book is getting some recognition. But on the other hand, it can make the reader feel cheated. They thought they were getting a Patterson book, but didn't.

My husband likes both Patterson and Ludlum, but he's not crazy about those written by someone else. He can tell the difference in the writing style and although he's supposedly reading a Ludlum book, it isn't the same.

But other people don't seem to notice and they continue to buy the books in the franchise. That keeps the franchise going, gives the big-name author an outlet for book ideas, and keeps the money rolling in for the author or estate.

But, once again, ghost-writing is not new (of course, with the ghost writer's name on the book, it's hardly ghost writing). The same person didn't write all the Nancy Drew books. Different authors penned the Sweet Valley Twins books.

And, surely, you didn't think all celebrities wrote their own books, did you?

I think it's probably a good thing that more "secondary" authors are getting recognition. Die hard fans of a series or a particular author will now know whether they're getting the real thing or not, at least.

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