Ghostwriting is Cheating. Right?

Wrong! Where does this idea come from?

You’re probably a reader – I don’t suppose you’d be here if you didn’t read. And if you read, then I’m telling you: not all of the books you have read were written by the person whose name is on the cover. The number that were written by someone else may be as high as 30%. So I write, let’s say, a crime thriller and it’s published under the name of someone who doesn’t exist – or who does exist and wants to be known as a writer but either doesn’t have the time to write or can’t do it well enough. Who is being cheated? You, if you read the book? How? In what way?

Who am I?

My name is John Lynch, and I’m a writer.

If that sounds like someone introducing himself at an AA meeting, forgive me – being a writer sometimes feels like that. I was born in the UK but I’ve worked as a salesman and sales director for long periods in the Bahamas, Africa, North America, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America. During all of that time I was also writing.

My breakthrough year as a writer was 1989 when I sold my first book to a publisher, my first article to a magazine and my first short story to a radio station. A year later in 1990 I signed my first ghost writing contract to write a book about the end of an industry that had lasted more than 300 years. Since then I’ve published (so far) nine books in my own name or pen names I use and written more than sixty that have been published in other people’s names. I retired from selling in 2015 and I’ve made my way since then only as a professional writer.

What do I prefer to write? I’ve learned over the years that the most important thing in a ghost writing project is chemistry – do I and the author get along together well enough to bring the book to a successful conclusion? That’s more important than questions of genre, but there are genres that I think I’m particularly good at and others were I’d recommend finding someone else.