I’m assuming anyone reading this knows how to dispatch a zombie. It’s all about the head. I’m a big believer in confronting things head on.
Every few months, the walking dead of intimating or outright stating I use ghostwriters shambles onto social media. And like a zombie it shuffles on, spreading. I’ve confronted this before—head on—but have never successfully eradicated the infection.
So, try, try again.
Laura will link the other times I’ve written about this issue, so readers of this blog will, hopefully, understand why I continue to do so. And how often it all crops up again. [See below]
This is very personal for me.
I write my own books. All of them. Writing is my job, and I love my job. I consider it the best job in the world, and one I’m very lucky to have. I work hard at my job—I want to, and because I love it, because I want to work hard at it, because of my individual process, pace and rhythm, I’ve been able to produce a lot of books over the course of my career.
It hits me, very personally, when people who don’t know me, don’t know my process, my life, decide to imply or come right out and say I use ghosts.
Are they in my house, my office, standing over my shoulder every day? They’re certainly not in the shower, in my gym, in my kitchen or anywhere else where I do other things while thinking about the story, working out angles, playing what if that I’ll turn into words at the keyboard.
I do not use ghosts. I have never used ghosts. I never will use ghosts. I’ve said that all before, will no doubt say it again.
So those who say I do are calling me a liar, and impinging my work. That’s personal.
Years ago a journalist with some shaky math skills and faulty information wrote that I produce a book every 45 days. That’s crazy and wrong, but it’s stuck over the years. The journalist didn’t consider that I had written several books (55k word category romances) before I sold the first one, and I was able to fix and fiddle and sell those previously rejected books rather quickly in those first couple years.
But who cares? What does it matter? The only people concerned about when I turn in a ms and how long that particular book took me to write are my editor and my agent. And the editor and agent—both of whom I’ve worked with for decades—know the work I turn in is mine alone.
I write how I write, and I write alone. I don’t collaborate or brainstorm or partner. I write solo because that’s my process. I don’t have staff, researchers, assistants, because I don’t want them. I work alone, which I find one of the great beauties of my craft.
If a book has my name on it, I wrote it—every damn word. That’s the Alpha and Omega.
Some say: She’s written over 200 books! Impossible.
No, it’s not. Not when I write six to eight hours a day, five to six days a week. That’s my choice, it’s how I work, and what works for me. It’s my process and process is individual to every writer. What’s right for one isn’t for another. We’re not the Borg.
My pace is MY pace, not anyone else’s.
I don’t do a lot of social media—my choice, my particular wiring. So I have the amazing Laura—who has her own space in her own house—to take care of the bulk of that.
I don’t do a lot of socializing (even pre-COVID). My choice, my wiring. I don’t take long breaks between books because I don’t want to. The next story is tugging at me.
I do what I do, and I like it—and it’s no one’s business but mine.
I don’t diss other writers on social media. I think it’s tacky and graceless. But if another writer wants to claim my books suck, okay. That’s opinion. Certainly if a reader wants to say so, or express disappointment in any of my books, they’re entitled. I stay off reader boards because they should be free to express those opinions without a writer wading in to snap at them or argue or attempt to intimidate.
That’s my opinion.
But no one’s entitled to call me a liar or a cheat. No one’s entitled to lie about me and imply or say I use ghosts. I will stand up for myself and my work.
And when a ghostwriter takes to social media to whine, that’s also a choice. But not when they whine about me. They don’t know me, and I have nothing to do with their choices—and ghosting is a choice.
To a statement like: If Nora Roberts and I wrote the exact same book hers would sell a lot more, first I say: Duh.
I say Duh because I’ve spend four freaking decades building a career, a following, a reputation, connections with publishers and readers. So duh.
But over and above, this is a stupid, foolish and ignorant statement because NO two writers would ever write the same book. Doesn’t work like that. We aren’t in each other’s heads, we all have our own creative path, our own style, our own voice.
No one creative would make such an asinine comparison, which only smacks of jealousy and a lack of understanding of how publishing actually works.
And, sister, you made a choice to take a ghostwriting job. Your reasons are your own, and I don’t question or criticize them—because that’s your personal business. However.
Did you take a payment for the ghosting? Did you agree to terms and cash a check for the work you did?
Now if the person who hired you didn’t pay you, or agreed to give you credit and didn’t follow through, you’ve got a legitimate complaint. But if you took the money and agreed—as the term ghost implies—to forfeit any credit—quit your bitching.
And leave me the hell out of it.
Do the work, invest the time, take the risks every writer takes, deal with the rejections and disappointments and push on. That’s how it’s done.
Write. Spend more time writing and a lot less whining on social media—and trying to take shots at another writer or the realities of the industry itself.
A couple weeks ago I had another bout of vertigo—which sucks beyond the telling of it. The first day, after a few hours flat out, I could sit up. I thought: Hmmm, and asked BW to bring down my Surface and flash drive because maybe I could work in bed.
Found out quickly that was a big no.
Day Two, better, try again. And I found I could write a couple hours. Couldn’t stand up without everything spinning, but sitting was okay.
Day Three, a little better yet, so a full day of work—in bed because walking felt like walking on the deck of a ship in high seas.
I worked because I wanted to work, because I have a deadline, because it’s my job. And then somebody who know nothing about me but my name implies I don’t do my own work.
So it’s very personal for me.
Every time a zombie like this pops up, I will aim for the head.
I’d like to ask you to join the army. If you see anyone on social media claiming I use ghosts, insisting I must, please let us know.
I’m not going to be shy about swinging my metaphorical axe at their head.
I’ll try to write a more cheerful and chatty blog next time out, but to catch you up with my world….
Logan is now a licensed driver (!!!!)
Kayla continues to do very well in college.
On-line school has in no way defeated Colt—Mr. Straight As.
And Griffin, as always, is adorable and full of fun.
BW and I get our second vaccine shot in about a week—what a big relief.
Lots of snow here, and we’re going nowhere. Which means plenty of writing time for me.
On Readers, Writers and Ghosts (August 2014)
How it all Works (for Nora) (November 2014)
The Cranky Publicist answers another question (Feb. 2016)
Price Points, Discounts, Sales! (Feb 2016)
Writers are People Too (December 2017)
Mob Rule by Social Media (December 2018)
The process after the writing (October 2018)
Here’s how I Work (March 2019)