In praise of celebs

<p>Some famous people can write (Obama, Bogarde etc). Most can't but they are still beautiful marketing and packaging tools in a world where newspapers will always interview a famous actress or singer rather than an unknown novelist. Editors in the mass media know what most of us want to read and talk about.</p>
<p>It was always thus. Jackie Collins recently took the moral high ground over Katie Price on Graham Norton's chat show sofa. Once reviled by the literary community herself, it has taken Jackie 400 million books and 40 years to find herself permitted to talk down from such lofty heights.</p>
<p>For grand authors to decry celebrity fiction for bringing publishing into disrepute is like Chateau Rothschild bad-mouthing a can of Red Bull. The world of celebrity is fun. People enjoy the programmes, the magazines and the fabricated front page stories. They also like books on or attached to the subject. Just because a publisher fancies lunching with Cheryl Cole doesn't mean they wouldn't like to hang out with Hilary Mantel as well&mdash;though most of the public would settle for the Cheryl option.</p>
<p>I became a ghostwriter because I love to write books and I want to make a living at it. If I am being paid a percentage I want my books to sell well and a celebrity name could make the difference between selling 2,000 copies and 200,000.</p>
<p>As long as publishers continue to believe ghosts should remain invisible, the whiff of deception will remain in the air. The incredible success of the James Patterson brand, however, where the writers are given front cover billing just below Patterson himself, proves that the public is completely unconcerned about who actually does the typing.</p>
<p>Few editors can spend weeks working on a manuscript, so ghosts must be able to give the publisher, the public and the celebrity what they want with as little input from others as possible. If the result is not good maybe the ghost wasn't given enough time. With non-fiction you can keep asking questions until you have enough material; fiction needs time for pondering.</p>
<p>The celebrity world is a huge part of our society. Maybe one day the complete works of Katie Price will give historians an insight into the age when gossip went global.Celebrities are the people's choice; publishers must listen to what the people want. The other good stuff will always find a way to get through to those who crave more mental nourishment.<br />