Tales of Terror: Part Three


Beware the Ghostwriter

Some writers, for a variety of reasons, choose to use ghostwriters. However, you have to be careful. The following is a rather tragic story and I feel for the duped author, Lanaia Lee.

It seems that she hired ghostwriter Christopher Hill to work on her book Of Atlantis. Unfortunately, he decided to copy from the work of David Gemmell.

Here’s a sample of the prologue for her book Of Atlantis:

The golden-haired child sat alone, as he usually did, and wondered whether his Father would die today. Some distance away, across the royal gardens, his nurse was talking to the two sentries who guarded him during the hours of daylight. The soldiers, grim eyed warriors, did not look at him and shifted nervously as he approached.
Archimedes was used to this reaction. Even at four he understood it.

Here’s work from David Gemmell’s Dark Prince:

The golden-haired child sat alone, as he usually did, and wondered whether his father would die that day. Some distance away, across the royal gardens, his nurse was talking to the two sentries who guarded him during the hours of daylight. The soldiers, grim-eyed warriors, did not look at him and shifted nervously if he approached.
Alexander was used to this reaction. Even at four he understood it.

David Gemmell had a five book series and Ms. Lee proposed a five book series.

Hmm…

You can find out more similarities between these two books at the Dear Author Blog where they also post the informative Top 10 Tips for Plagiarists.

To educate yourself you can also read more about Christopher Hill and how he scammed this writer on The Writer Beware Blog.

Lessons learned?

Make sure you don’t have an agent who is doing double duty. Publishing isn’t like a small town where the sheriff is also the gas station attendant. Your agent shouldn’t also be a ghostwriter or run a publishing company or a book doctoring service. They should sell books and make money doing that.

Find a ghostwriter with a track record. Someone who can show you a list of books they have written and sold (for money not extra copies of the book). Make sure the publisher is a royalty paying one. It doesn’t count if it’s the ghostwriter’s own company or a POD operation.

You can also call agents to see if they have a writer willing to ghostwrite your project.

Do your homework, anyone can claim to write–and many do–but you want the best. Your reputation will depend on it.

One Response to “Tales of Terror: Part Three”

  1. You have made some decent points there. I looked via the internet in the issue and discovered most people runs together with together with your website.

    by Tamisha Parrillo on April 26th, 2011 at 5:16 am

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