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Readers 'should not be spooked by ghostwriters'

16th February 2010

Readers should not look down on a book just because a ghostwriter helped to craft it, according to one author who should know.

In the Daily Telegraph, ghostwriter Andrew Crofts noted that people often seem shocked when they realise the name on the cover of a book is not the only author who had a hand in its creation.

However, Crofts, who has worked on more than 50 books including Gina French's For a House Made of Stone and Disgraced by Saira Ahmed, pointed out that people are happy to accept film and television scripts as collaborative projects and said they should extend this view to books.

He added that ghostwriters have been necessary since the start of literature and the trend is unlikely to go away.

'We were the scribes in the marketplaces, helping the illiterate to write and read their letters, and we are still here today, assisting people who have something to say but lack the time or ability to say it,' he explained.

While the literary world may have a need for ghostwriters, several of its members have recently stressed the importance of openness when they have been used.

After Lynda La Plante's attack on ghostwritten fiction at the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards last October, writer Fiona Pitt-Kethley commented in the Daily Telegraph: 'I think the ghostwriters should always be named on a book. Anything else is surely a kind of breach of the Trade Description Act.'

This was followed by literary agent Charlie Campbell guest blogging on meandmybigmouth.typepad.com last November: 'Surely the way in which they are sold contravenes the Trades Description Act. They are so clearly not what they say they are.'

Last week, Claude Schopp, one of the leading experts on Alexandre Dumas, told the Daily Telegraph that many of The Three Musketeers author's plots were created by novelist and playwright Auguste Jules Maquet, after the two formed a literary partnership.

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