Ghostwriting Exposed - The Top 50 Ghostwritten Books

The tricky thing about listing the top ghost written books should be obvious: Which ones are ghost written? Of course, it gets a little easier when we look at the actual definition of the term “ghost written”.

Ghostwriter - Noun: A person who writes one or several speeches, books, or essays to be credited to another author.

With such a broad definition, you can see that there have been more than a few renowned books that fall into that category.

(c) Nancy Houser
(c) Nancy Houser

The traditional misconception of ghost writing is probably the image of the starving young writer with stars in their eyes, hoping to learn something about the craft and get published, by any means necessary, while the client is seen as a real Ebenezer Scrooge type, taking advantage of the hopeful young scribe and then slapping his own name on the book once it’s finished.  As a ghostwriter, I know this simply isn't true. 

As you’ll see from the following list, this Dickensian scenario couldn’t be further from the truth. These books aren’t just “pretty good… for something that was ghost written”, these are bona fide good, even great books. The ones that haven’t won Pulitzers have at least won the hearts and minds of more than a few readers, and nothing is on this list just to pad it out. These are fifty certifiably good books, that just happen to have been ghost written.

50. The Hardy Boys; The Secret of Wildcat Swamp, by… uncredited

So you know, a lot of the books on this list are going to be exceptional examples from a longer series of books. When publishers have a hot property on their hands, they usually stay interested in that series for longer than the original author does. Other times, the publisher sees an opening in the market and creates a character that they know will appeal to readers, but of course, a publisher is a publisher, and not an author, for a reason. Luckily, this gives ghostwriters an opportunity to tell new stories with beloved characters. Sometimes the result is something kind of bland and uninspired, but other times, the ghostwriter really seizes the opportunity and comes up with something like The Secret of Wildcat Swamp, considered by many Hardy Boys fans to be one of the best of the original Hardy Boys canon.

49. Nancy Drew; The Hidden Staircase, Carolyn Keene (a collective pseudonym for various writers, this time it was Mildred Benson)

Uncredited as they may be, long time Nancy Drew fans can name every single ghostwriter who ever touched the series, and tell you exactly who wrote their favourites. One popular ghostwriter was Mildred Benson, actually the first writer to approach the character. She had helped to develop the characters and settings using rough outlines and sketches on index cards given to her by Edward Stratemeyer, of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. You’ll have a hard time getting fans to agree on their favourite of these, but Benson was always proudest of The Hidden Staircase, the second book in the series.

 

48. The Man with the Golden Gun, Ian Fleming (and Robert Markham (who was really Kingsley Amis)).

Whenever a character becomes popular enough, it’s a sure bet that the publisher is going to want to keep the series going. Ian Fleming kept himself involved with the whole James Bond phenomenon for quite a while, and did write the first ten or fifteen himself. It’s hard to point out exactly when James Bond was handed over to the ghosts. After Fleming’s death, Bond books have actually been attributed to their scribes, but there are a few books in the middle area that are speculated to have been ghosted by Kingsley Amis, perhaps starting out with The Man with the Golden Gun.

47. Star Wars: A New Hope, George Lucas (well, the screenplay it was based on, anyway)

If you want to know why the new Star Wars movies aren’t as good as the old ones, the main reason is that George Lucas wrote and directed them himself. After the first Star Wars film, Lucas hired a number of other writers and directors to put his story on the screen. He took the same approach to the novelization, and it paid off. You may be wondering what a novelization is doing on this list, but the Star Wars books aren’t just novelizations. They enrich the whole Star Wars universe with background details that you just can’t get across in an hour and a half, starting with this one.

46. My Life, Fidel Castro (as spoken to Ignacio Ramonet)

A hard politician to like, but an entertaining one to read about. Fidel Castro has made a lot of enemies with his oppressive communistic regime, but through his struggles against hardship and his hope of a better world for the people of Cuba, he becomes something of a Quixotic anti-hero in the context of his biography. Was he delusional? Yes, but even if you plan to dance on his grave, this book nonetheless remains an interesting read.

45. Black Mask Magazine, various

In the old pulp magazines, even a writer who stuck with one character his entire career would work under a pseudonym. It made things easier on the publisher. These guys were working on tight deadlines, and, well, we’ll be frank, a lot of the writers were alcoholics. So the publishers needed a backup plan. Every recurring character or series would be credited to a pseudonym, that way they could replace the writer in the event of an emergency, and nobody would be the wiser. Good luck finding a collected reprint edition, but if you can, Black Mask is probably the best of the old pulp magazines.

44. EC Comics, uncredited (the whole EC Comics staff)

These are comic books we’re talking about here, so we’re cheating a bit by including them on the list of top ghost written books, but if you ever pick up a reprint of an old Tales from the Crypt comic, you’ll have to admit that even Mark Twain would admire the sarcastic wit of the writing in these stories. The artists were allowed to sign their work, a rarity for the time, while the writers largely went uncredited. The majority of the stories were written in collaboration between publisher William Gaines and editor Harvey Kurtzman, with input from the artists, even the artists not drawing the story. Our guess is that they went uncredited to facilitate a more communal atmosphere, where everyone could contribute ideas without any in-fighting about who wrote what.

43. Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Hulk Hogan (and an uncredited collaborator)

When a wrestler is on top, he puts out a biography through a ghostwriter. Most of the time, it’s not very interesting. Especially these days, where every wrestler simply went to wrestling school to train, worked their way up through independent circuits, and then landed a job at WWE. Hogan is a different story. When you think of pro wrestling, Hogan is probably the first name that comes to mind. Chronicling his in-the-ring feud and out-of-the-ring friendship with Andre the Giant, the steroid scandal, and how the character he plays in the ring helped him to overcome an unrewarding lifestyle, Hollywood Hulk Hogan is a fascinating story. To be clear, the best rasslin’ book out there is Have a Nice Day, by Mick Foley, however, that one was not ghost written, so it’ll have to wait for another list.

42. Me Cheeta, by Cheeta (okay, really, it was by James Lever)

To be clear, we’re not just listing this one as the novelty selection. Me Cheeta, allegedly written by Hollywood ape, Cheeta, Tarzan’s simian sidekick, satirizes the celebrity tell-all genre to tell a story that is funny, melancholy, honest, and at times, heart breaking. Animal performers weren’t exactly given the red carpet treatment in the golden age of Hollywood, and the story in this book shines a light on a side of the movie industry that many didn’t know existed.

41. Faith of my Fathers, John McCain (but mostly Mark Salter)

Something else you’ll see quite a bit of on this list: Personal memoirs. When you spend your life becoming the best athlete you can be, working to become president or prime minister, or directing or starring in major motion pictures, that doesn’t leave a lot of time left to take writing seminars. So what do you do if you have a story to tell, but you’re not a writer? Obviously, you hire a ghost. Say what you will about his politics, but John McCain’s Faith of my Fathers is a good example of the great stories a ghostwriter can help a non-writer put to the page.

40. The Splinter Cell series, Tom Clancy (and various authors)

Tom Clancy’s books are very good for what they are: Taut, fast paced spy thrillers. The Splinter Cell books, inspired by Tom Clancy’s line of Splinter Cell video games (also ghost written, by the way) are no exception. Even though they’re ghost written, Clancy keeps the project hands on to ensure that every one of them gives Tom Clancy’s readers just what they want; elaborate conspiracies, political intrigue, and secret agents wearing super cool night vision goggles.

39. Garden of the Shadows, by V.C. Andrews (Andrew Neiderman)

V.C. Andrews might be the most prolific posthumous author around, having released over a dozen books since her death. The fans don’t mind one bit. The books by Neiderman capture her unique style, blending horror, suspense, and romance into a page turning thriller. Garden of the Shadows was the first posthumous book under her name, having been started by Andrews and finished by Neiderman.

38. The Short Stories of Louis L’amour (and various)

It’s hard to say which of Louis L’amour’s books were ghost written or partially ghost written. We can say that he did write the majority of them himself, but after his death, he still manages to release new material. While the main core of the more recently released short stories collections from L’Amour were written by the author himself, they were unreleased in life for a reason, and underwent some serious editing and touching up by various uncredited writers before hitting the bookstands.

37. West with the Night, Beryl Markham (and Mary S. Lovell, and/or Raoul Schumacher)

Beryl Markham wrote West with the Night to chronicle her experiences growing up in then British East Africa, and her career as a bush pilot. The problem was that West with the Night was such a well written book, earning the admiration of Ernest Hemingway, that nobody was prepared to believe she wrote it herself. In truth, she did complete the first draft, but she had been close friends with Mary S. Lovell, an author, and her boyfriend at the time had been Raoul Schumacher, a known ghost writer and journalist, whom she did confess “touched up the manuscript a little”.

36. The Janson Directive, Robert Ludlum (and…?)

Robert Ludlum was one of the best when it came to spy thrillers, and when he passed away in 2001, his publisher had a problem on their hands; the hotly anticipated The Janson Directive was left unfinished. St. Martin’s Press simply enlisted a ghost to complete the book using what was there and Ludlum’s notes, and Ludlum’s first posthumous book was complete. Since then, a few other books have been written under his name, as well, in order to continue Ludlum’s spy-thriller characters and setting without asking the readers to warm up to a new author.

35. Under the Pyramids, by Harry Houdini (actually it was H.P. Lovecraft)

H.P. Lovecraft is perhaps most well known as one of the inventor’s of modern American horror. Without his chilling tales of malevolent deities older than time, the modern monster movie probably wouldn’t even exist. This goes to show what a good ghostwriter he really was. While producing his own stories for Weird Tales and other pulp magazines, he also did an incredible amount of ghostwriting. One of his most notable ghost works, Under the Pyramids came from Houdini, a dedicated Weird Tales reader, being such a fan of Lovecraft’s that when he came up with an idea for a short story, he opted to have Lovecraft do the writing for him.

34. Goosebumps, RL Stine (and various others)

The Goosebumps books were pretty big in their day. Goofy, fun stories designed to give preteen kids a chill up the spine. The series spanned dozens of books, and after the first few, RL Stine realized he had a real hot property on his hands. He began coming up with outlines and premises and handing them off to a team of ghosts. It worked, and the series remained the hottest thing for the junior high set right up until the release of the first Harry Potter book.

33. The Memoirs of Einar Gerhardsen, Einar Gerhardsen (and Egil Helle)

Documenting his time as a road worker, his first interests in politics, his resistance against the Nazis, and into his post WWII life, Einar Gerhardsen’s memoirs are a great, epic story. Ghost written or not, the story of Einar Gerhardsen’s life should be considered required reading for anyone who puts any sort of value on personal ethics and heroism.

32. TekWar, William Shatner (and…?)

To be clear, William Shatner takes a hands on approach to his writing. The TekWar books, as well as his Star Trek books and memoirs, are all built around his own outlines, notes, and characters he created. However, he still is an actor, first, and a writer, second, and self professed “has been” or not, he still gets a lot of work as a performer, so you can’t blame him for bringing in some help now and then.

31. It Takes a Village, Hillary Clinton (and Barbara Feinman)

Hillary Clinton’s best selling non-fiction book on raising children puts forth a belief in communal responsibility towards its youngest members. We’re including this one instead of her memoirs, Living History, for the audio book version of which she won a Grammy, simply because this book is, well, more interesting to read than her life story.

30. Mack Bolan; Stony Man, Don Pendleton (and various authors)

There are more than six hundred books in the Mack Bolan series. Do you really think the original author could have done all of them himself? After the first few books, Don Pendleton has become the collective pseudonym of a number of ghosts. You may wonder what a dime store male fantasy book is doing on this list, but you know, it’s really good dime store male fantasy! When asked how he hopes to wage a one man war on the mafia, Bolan simply replies “I stay angry”.

29. Books by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

Stephen King has been accused of hiring ghost writers. The truth is that he’s written every word himself… and that’s the problem. At a certain point, he was worried that saturating the market would start to cheapen his name, and so, he invented Richard Bachmann, a fictional author whom he could ghost for.

28. How to Talk Dirty and Influence People, Lenny Bruce (and…?)

The majority of How to Talk Dirty and Influence People actually was written by Lenny Bruce, but he requested a ghostwriter to put together the first two chapters. Let me tell you, the first two chapters are the best part. There’s a sense of structure and of strong storytelling in those first two chapters, while the rest is the sort of stream of consciousness ranting that does wonders on stage, but not so much on the page. Those first two chapters are really worth a read, though.

27. A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket

While perhaps not ghost written in the traditional sense (a real live person putting their name on the cover of a book written in part or in whole by another person), the fact that Lemony Snicket is a fictional character should be an obvious tip-off. Whether this sort of whimsical fantasy is ‘your thing’ or not, you have to concede that A Series of Unfortunate Events has certainly found its audience.

26. I am Jackie Chan, by Jackie Chan and Jeff Yang (but probably just Jeff Yang)

Another seemingly odd choice, but you know, not all important movie stars come from California! As his late career manager Willie Chan put it, Jackie Chan is “the biggest star in the biggest country in the world”. His autobiography is credited to himself “with” Jeff Yang, but if you’ve ever heard him speaking English, you can probably guess who really wrote all the text. The hard-knock story told in his autobiography really explains how he manages to mix humour with hurting himself so well. As he puts it, “It only hurts when I’m not laughing”.

25. CASH, Johnny Cash (and an uncredited collaborator)

You’ve heard that ghost writers just write for the cash, right (hardy har har)? Johnny Cash is an incredible storyteller, but he’s primarily a songwriter, not a book writer, and so, while nobody’s come out and confessed to it yet, the chances that Cash wrote every word of his biography himself are pretty slim, and the speculation persists.

24. Fatherhood, Bill Cosby (but really Ralph Schoenstein)

Fatherhood is a pretty funny book, and besides getting a few laughs out of it, it actually does have some sound advice, as well. Let that be a credit to humorist Ralph Schoenstein, who began the book with a handful of notes and anecdotes from Cosby, and came away with something just as funny as the comic himself could write.

23. The Susikoskii series, by Tuula Sariola (actually Ritva Sarkola)

Now here’s an interesting story. Tuula Sariola, the widow of the renowned Finnish crime novelist Mauri Sariola, has recently admitted that she didn’t write a single word of any of her sixteen books. Every one of her books was written by her friend Ritva Sarkola, an aspiring novelist who wanted to maintain a private life. Sariola, meanwhile, had a famous last name that could be used as an easy ‘in’ to get a publishing contract, and a series written by her late husband that the publishers were hungry for more of.

22. Shaft’s Big Score, Ernest Tidyman (real author… who knows?)

Ernest Tidyman, creator of the inimitable black private dick who, yes, happens to be a sex machine to all the chicks (and not just some of them), found himself experiencing some of the most common side effects to fame upon finding an audience with the film adaptation of the first Shaft novel. First, he was busy, all the time. Second, he was growing a little bored of writing his flagship character. Third, he knew that another Shaft would make money. So, he gave somebody else the job, freeing himself up to write High Plains Drifter for Clint Eastwood, and The French Connection.

21. Tales of Conan, Robert E. Howard (and rewritten by L. Sprague de Camp)

Conan the Barbarian has been a hot property since the original short stories were published in Weird Tales Magazine. Robert E. Howard was a very prolific author, and Conan wasn’t his only character… just the only character people were buying. So some clever publisher took some of Howard’s non-Conan stories, had ghostwriter L. Sprague de Camp stick Conan into them, and published them as “Robert E. Howard’s Lost Conan Stories!” Pretty smart, really.

20. Character is Destiny, John McCain (and Mark Salter (again))

John McCain again! Not a memoir this time, but a collection of stories that McCain felt exemplified what he believes to be the seven primary virtues: Honor, Purpose, Strength, Understanding, Judgement, Creativity, and Love. Within, you’ll find stories about McCain’s personal heroes, Mark Twain, Martin Luther King, Charles Darwin, and even a Christian guard who showed him mercy during his stay at the Hua Lo Prison, to name a few.

19. My Autobiography, Mussolini (as dictated to…?)

Mussolini, a delusional, fascist dictator, impossible to like… makes for an interesting story. Unlike Fidel Castro, it is impossible for any reasonable person to sympathize with Mussolini, but there is certainly something fascinating, and chilling, in reading about a terrible time in history from the perspective of the monsters responsible.

18. Kamikaze, Yasuo Kuwahara (and Gordon T. Allred)

When people around the world first learned of Japan’s Kamikaze, or Divine Wind pilots, who would literally use their own airplanes as missiles, killing themselves to take down American warships, the first question on any sane person’s mind was “What on Earth would possess somebody to do that?” Well, this book has the answer. Yasuo Kuwahara was, himself, a Kamikaze pilot who somehow survived, and his book, put into English by co-author Gordon T. Allred, exposes the harsh conditions these pilots were forced to endure.

17. Dreams of my Father, Barack Obama (and possibly Bill Ayers)

During the election of 2008, rumors began to swirl that Obama’s award winning Dreams of my Father had been ghost written by (dun, dun, dunnnn!) Bill Ayers, former “domestic terrorist”. Let’s look at the facts, though; Bill Ayers never caused anybody physical harm, and was little more than a liberal extremist and a vandal, and Dreams of my Father is, regardless, a darn good book.

16. My Life, Bill Clinton

My Life seems to be a popular title for autobiographies from political leaders. Weighing in at over one thousand pages, My Life has earned a lot of mockery for its incredible length, but the story inside is good and well written. Putting forth Clinton’s own values, along with his life story, it’s not hard to finish all 1100 odd pages before you know it.

15. My American Journey, by Colin Powell (and…?)

The book may be ghostwritten, but My American Journey is, nevertheless, one hundred percent Colin Powell. Putting forth his unique perspective as a moderate conservative with some liberal values, and his ideals as a strong, smart leader. "Many of my generation, the career captains, majors, and lieutenant colonels seasoned in that war [Vietnam], vowed that when our turn came to call the shots, we would not quietly acquiesce in halfhearted warfare for half-baked reasons that the American people could not understand."

14. An American Life, Ronald Reagan (and…?)

Ronald Reagan, in the eyes of many, is still considered the best president America has had in the last twenty or thirty years. But nobody seriously believes he wrote this book all by himself without a ghostwriter do they? One interesting detail is how strong his conviction was, even at a young age. In his youth, when local hotels would deny black travellers, he would often invite them to stay at his own family’s home.

13. To Be or Not to Bop, Dizzy Gillepsie (and Al Frazer)

If you want to listen to jazz, start with John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillepsie, and work your way down from there. Even if they were predated by Louis Armstrong, these are the guys that really put the idea of high concept jazz on the map. It’s just a lucky thing Dizzy hired a ghostwriter. If he writes anything like he plays, this would be a hard book to follow.

12. The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, Charles Darwin (and Francis Darwin)

Published five years after the thinker’s death, the Autobiography of Charles Darwin explains how Darwin came to be interested in theories of evolution, and how he developed much of his work through studying animal and human life. Interestingly, one of his son’s contributions to the book was removing some passages wherein Charles Darwin criticizes the establishment of Christianity. Oddly enough, this still leaves his religious affiliation ambiguous. Darwin, who had grown up hoping to be a pastor, never really made a clear statement as to his own belief in God.

11. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley)

As it turns out, Alex Haley had actually been working for the FBI while writing this book, feeding them info about the celebrated Civil Rights leader. Malcolm X presented a different approach to solving social problems than Martin Luther King Jr., and as Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing puts forth, it really is hard to know when to turn to civil disobedience, and when to turn to aggressive action. This book, of course, served as the basis for Lee’s film Malcolm X.

10. Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy (and Theodore Sorenson)

While Kennedy and Sorenson have both denied the allegations, this book is, most likely, largely the ghostwritten work of Sorenson, who had been Kennedy’s speechwriter for years. The book collects eight stories of senators who crossed party lines and defied public opinion in order to do what they felt was right. In most instances, the senator was immediately confronted with backlash, losing popularity, but knowing that they could answer to the man in the mirror.

9. My Life, Leon Trotsky

Far removed from the harsh, oppressive ideals put forth by Stalinism, Leon Trotsky and his collaborator(s?) wrote My Life during Trotsky’s exile to Turkey. When asked why he would pen an auto-biography at the relatively young age of forty eight (the book ends with his deportation from Stalinist Russia), he simply replied that his life had, up to that point, been eventful enough to merit recording.

8. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (and Percy Shelley)

This story is basically the grandfather of the genre we now call cyberpunk, about the relationship between man and machine, natural and synthetic. Where exactly does the line blur between something natural and something created by the hands of man, and what is the creator’s responsibility to his or her creations? We won’t try to answer that, but we’ll say that Mary Shelly isn’t the only person who should take responsibility for having first injected these questions into the world of literary fiction. Many believe that she did have some help from her husband, Percy Shelley. Considering that the idea came from a night when the Shelley’s were sitting around with friends telling ghost stories, it’s not surprising that the book itself would likewise be a ghostwriting collaborative effort.

7. Socratic Dialogue, Socrates (Plato)

The Socratic Dialogue has long been the backbone of modern philosophy. In certain schools of thought, you’re not allowed to so much as go to the bathroom without asking yourself whether or not that falls in line with the teachings of Socrates. Here’s something a lot of people forget, though: Socrates never wrote a word of it himself. It was Plato, Socrates’ student, who wrote the majority of the Socrates Dialogue.

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke (and Stanley Kubrick)

We’re stretching the definition of the term “ghostwritten” just a bit here. While Arthur C. Clarke, the credited author, did write every word on the page with his own typewriter, he didn’t come up with the whole story himself. Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick worked on the book and script concurrently and collaboratively. Clarke would look at what Kubrick had come up with and adapt it for the book, and Kubrick would look at Clarke’s work and come up with something for the script. While Clarke has a screenwriting credit on the film, Kubrick goes uncredited on the cover of the book. Still, if you ask us, “uncredited collaborator” is just a nice way of saying “ghostwriter”.

5. The Story of My Life, Helen Keller (with Annie and Tom Macy Sullivan)

This book should serve as an example of what ghost writing is really all about. While this is, without a doubt, Helen Keller’s story, much of the actual writing had been done by her friend Annie Sullvian, and Annie’s husband, Tom Macy Sullivan. The heart and soul of the book belongs to nobody but Helen Keller, while the actual text comes from the Sullivans. This is what good ghost writing is all about.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (and Truman Capote (to some extent))

Okay, maybe this one is cheating, as the jury is still out as to the true authorship of this classic. There’s been a lot of speculation that Truman Capote ws the ghostwriter of this book for his friend Harper Lee. Capote and Lee had been friends since childhood (and Capote actually appears as a character in the story, in the form of the eccentric son of Scout’s next door neighbour), and what we can tell you for certain is that Capote did have a hand in writing the book. Perhaps he handled a second draft, wrote the entire book from Lee’s notes, or just contributed a paragraph here and there, but we can say with certainty that To Kill a Mockingbird, on some level, was most definitely a collaboration between Capote and Lee.

3. Anne Frank’s Diary, Anne Frank (and Otto Frank)

Anne Frank’s story is the only book about war you ever need to read. For whatever political causes a war is begun, the end result is always pain and suffering for innocent victims. While the story is hers, a lot of people don’t know that her father, Otto Frank, had a pretty big part in putting it all together. More than simply handing it to a publisher, Otto Frank took the original diary as well as several notebooks and loose leaf pages full of Anne’s writing, and organized it and rewrote it into a more concise volume. You won’t see Otto’s name anywhere on the cover, because while the book may technically be in his words, it is his daughter’s heart and soul on the page.

2. The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Shakespeare (who maybe didn’t really exist)

Here’s some trivia you can impress your friends with: There is some speculation as to the true authorship of William Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. In academia, this question is generally ignored, but starting around 150 years after his presumed death, speculation began that Shakespeare may have been merely a pseudonym for another author. Candidates include Edward de Vere, Francis Bacon, and Christopher Marlowe, with the most popular theory being that de Vere, the Earle of Oxford, may have been the true author. That Shakespeare was perhaps a collective pseudonym used by a group of ghostwriters has also been considered.

1. The Bible

If you know your religious texts, you probably saw this one coming (how else would Shakespeare be at second place?). Several of the books in The Bible are thought to have been ghost written by unknown authors, particularly the Pauline epistles. Now, we could argue back and forth as to the literary quality of The Good Book, but the fact remains that, Pulitzer or no, no book on this list has had anywhere near the cultural impact as The Bible.

This hub brought to you...

by Julie-Ann Amos, professional writer, and owner of international writing agency www.ExquisiteWriting.com

Why not create your own HubPages? It's fun and you can make revenue from Adsense and other revenue streams on your pages. JOIN HUBPAGES NOW... (or contact me to write one for you!)

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to CreativeCommons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California94105, USA.

More by this Author


Comments 8 comments

ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

What a fascinating read from woe to go....so many facts and speculation as to who wrote what - thanks for this...I have just been asked to collaborate on an autobiography - not sure how it will go ....thanks and cheers


CoCoa_81 profile image

CoCoa_81 6 years ago from Shreveport, Louisiana

I just counted 19 books I've enjoyed and own and as a child I was completely in love with the Goosebumps and Stephen King novels. It's strange to learn such news about these books that I love. But, I must say I'm still a fan of them. This is a great page and I'm glad to be a fan.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

The knowledge and ambition that you have and show is amazing. Thanks for a great hub.


Republibot 3.0 5 years ago

It's not hard to figure out who the ghostwriters were on most of these books. Check the "Special thanks to" section. Generally they're the first listed person. For instance, Shatners "Tek" books were all written by Ron Goulart (Who actually is a pretty good writer, though his endings kinda' suck) and Bruce Boxleitner's "Frontier Earth" series was actually written by Bill Keith (Also a pretty good writer).

Ghostwriters, particularly for pulp SF, are a fairly open secret, and they kind of have to be so they can get their next gig. They just keep low enough under the radar so the public doesn't notice them, but high enough so the other writers do.


FatFreddysCat profile image

FatFreddysCat 5 years ago from The Garden State

The fact that the Mack Bolan/Executioner series is ghost written has never been much of a secret. Don Pendleton did write the first 38 books in the series, which were published by Pinnacle Books.( With the exception of #16, which was done by a different writer while Pendleton and Pinnacle were having a legal battle over ownership of the character). The rights to the Mack Bolan character were purchased by Gold Eagle Books (the "men's adventure" division of the same company that publishes Harlequin romance novels) in the early 1980s, and the series has been handled by a team of ghost writers ever since. (The "real" author's name is found on the copyright page of each book, as a "Thanks to _________ for his contribution to this work" dedication.)

Don Pendleton passed away in 1995 and yet Mack Bolan is still going strong even after all these years!


Tipofthehat 5 years ago

There is absolutely no evidence for the assertion that Truman Capote had a hand in writing To Kill a Mockingbird so it's mystifying why you would present what is unfounded gossip and speculation as fact. Also, your portrayal of Helen Keller's authorship is also inaccurate. And by the way, it was John Macy and Anne Sullivan Macy. Helen typed on a typewriter and needed extensive help, as many writers do, with proofing and editing.


Eric Calderwood profile image

Eric Calderwood 4 years ago from USA

A long and fascinating list. If what you say about Truman Capote is true, then I can no longer claim to have never read a book by Capote. I loved To Kill a Mockingbird and have read it several times. Perhaps I'll have to take a look at some Capote works and see if they interest me. By the way, I only made it halfway through the movie "Capote." When I got it I thought it was going to be a gangster movie.


Leo 3 years ago

Sorry, I don't understand why you include A Series of Unfortunate Events on there - it was written by Daniel Handler, using the *pseudonym* Lemony Snicket. He's no more a ghostwriter than I am: just because he changed the name doesn't mean someone else did the work for him. I'm not sure about Plato's dialogues either, they were written by Plato and have his name on the front. Socrates is a character in them, sure, Plato is pretending to be his voice, sure, but is he pretending Socrates wrote the dialogues?

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working