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jca's avatar

For what logical reason would a cookbook ghost writer come out and admit all the celeb chefs they've written cookbooks for, unless they wanted their careers to end?

Asked by jca (36043points) March 21st, 2012

I am reading NY Times articles written by a ghost writer (“I was a cookbook ghostwriter” 3/14/12, NY Times) where several cookbook ghost writers talk about all the celebrity chefs they ‘ve done ghost writing for. Rachel Ray, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc. The article states that since celebrity chefs put out cookbook after cookbook, in addition to their busy schedules, they can’t write the books themselves, so they employ ghost writers. No surprise, but why would anybody want to say that about the people who pay them money, unless they wanted their ghost writing careers to end?

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13 Answers

6rant6's avatar

So they can sell under their own name. Duh. Instant celebrity!

thorninmud's avatar

I’m guessing logic has little to do with it. There has got to be a point at which these people get sick of not getting recognition for their talents, and their writhing egos finally explode.

I worked in a high-profile restaurant once where one of the owners was also, nominally, the pastry chef. In fact, she never touched the pastry, and all of the actual work was done by guys who never received any recognition. They would create some show stopping dessert for a media phtooshoot, but she was always the one holding the plate. Over the years, that builds up a whole lot of resentment.

SmashTheState's avatar

The kind of people who purchase something because it has a famous name attached to it don’t read the NY Times, and wouldn’t care even if they did. There’s no rational, conscious thought going on, just a series of reactions in response to glandular emotional stimulus. Does anyone care that the execrable “Dragonlance” novels are pastiches of much better fantasy fiction? Does anyone care that “Forrest Gump” is a bad, totally unnecessary remake of Peter Sellers’ “Being There”? No.

Revealing a secret is only dangerous if anyone gives a shit.

TexasDude's avatar

Attention. And potentially their own tell-all book deal.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m sorry. I don’t understand. Why would their career end? It’s not like they are doing anything illegal, is it? Does the contract say they won’t identify themselves? Is it even a secret in the first place?

I would want to announce all the books I had ghost written in order to market myself or possible to market a cookbook under my own name. Of course, I don’t write cookbooks (or any other kind of book, for that matter).

However, if someone paid me enough, I might be willing to give up my anonymity at fluther. Don’t worry. I’m not holding my breath about that.

deni's avatar

Don’t we all really want to be recognized for what we’re good at? Is it any more complex than that?

jca's avatar

@wundayatta: I was referring to the fact that future celeb chefs that have books to be written might not use a ghost writer who is going to “rat them out.” They will probably tend to utilize the services of a ghost writer who is content to remain a ghost.

Bent's avatar

So they can write books themselves in their own name?

jca's avatar

I should add to my most recent post that also, a ghost writer who has “outed” the celebs they’ve done work for might experience a backlash from the publishing industry, and publishers might black ball them.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Right @jca, yet the ghost writer still chose that path. To me, that screams ego.

If you’ve written well as a ghost writer, there should be no reason you can’t write your own thoughts or life experience into a book of your own.

Bellatrix's avatar

Perhaps for some reason they aren’t getting that work any more and feel they have nothing to lose by claiming the work as their own.

6rant6's avatar

I’m not even sure that having it be general knowledge would work against getting gigs as ghost writers. “Oh, oh, I want the ghost writer that did Oprah’s cookbook! Nothing but the best for me!”

If you’re living in a celebrity world where everyone knows that celebrities don’t write their own books, it may not make a difference that the general public believes otherwise.

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