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It was a few days back as I was browsing the internet aimlessly that I came to know about the book Girl Online by popular blogger and YouTube celebrity Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella). I was immediately intrigued when I found out that the sale of the book by this twenty-four year old had even crossed the sales of my beloved Harry Potter books! I mean, now that is no easy task to accomplish.
Of course, I was hooked. I visited the author's blog, her YouTube channel and what not. What I found out was this- she was a celebrity in all her right. Her popular beauty blog and videos are fun to watch and I just loved her accent. But Zoella was recently in the limelight for her book which was published last month.
When it was revealed that she apparently had 'help' in writing her book, there was a lot of hue and cry that was raised. According to Penguin, she did have some help in writing this novel. A lot of fans were enraged when the name of the ghostwriter was revealed, accusing her of trying to steal the limelight.
The novel's blurb sounds interesting enough and I would love to read it as well. But what got me thinking was this- can you be really called a writer when someone else has done the writing for you? Admittedly, in Zoella's case it is evident that the basic characters and story line was what she had in mind.
Ghostwriting is a practice that has been going on time and again. Even the popular 'Nancy Drew' and 'Hardy Boys' series have been written by a series of ghostwriters. True, writers often write simply because they have to and not just for the recognition. But would they feel alright knowing that their names would never be known?
Personally, I feel the credit for the original writer should be acknowledged and their names should be on the cover of the book as well. Don't they deserve some credit after all the hard work that they have put in?
Ghostwriters are often employed by celebrities and other personalities to draft and edit their autobiographies. Publishers often seek ghostwriters when they want to publish more fiction of a well known writer after he/she has passed away.
Almost all writers are known to have an editor who helps them in polishing off their drafts before it goes into print. However, it should not be confused with ghostwriting where it is is the ghostwriter who does all or most of the work.
So, tell me, what are your thoughts? Is it a matter of ethics? Or simply the issue of being read and gaining popularity? In the end, is it the writing that always win?