If you like to read at all, chances are you’ve read a ghostwritten book. Famous ghostwritten books are everywhere. Kids have been devouring Nancy Drew mysteries for years. “Carolyn Keene” is the author that appears on all of them. However, Carolyn Keene never existed. She’s really a whole series of ghostwriters who have continued the adventures of Nancy Drew over the decades.
James Patterson, the best-selling author of detective thrillers, has used ghostwriters to bring his exciting plots to life. His best skill is coming up with the plots, so he hires others to put them into words.
Political memoirs are often ghostwritten. Both Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton have employed ghostwriters or writing collaborators to help them write about their experiences in the center of American politics. President John F. Kennedy’s book Profiles in Courage was in fact a collaboration between him and one of his top advisors and speechwriters, Ted Sorensen.
Other famous ghost written books include The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Alex Haley, who went on to write Roots under his own name, did much of the research and organizing of the book.
This list is far from exhaustive. Many people are full of stories and ideas but have a hard time getting them down on paper. So they collaborate with a ghostwriter. The ghostwriter acts as a transcriber or a polisher of ideas. The ideas belong entirely to the author. It’s really a brilliant strategy!