[DWJ] not writing one's own books

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Jun 13 17:11:24 EDT 2006

Margaret Ball wrote:

>BTW, those "ship" sequels are sharecrops, not real collaborations....I
>wrote the whole book based on 2 pp of scrawled notes from Annie outlining
>a story I didn't much like and never could get really interested in. If
>I'd known that was going to be the deal I'd never have signed the
>contract; I still feel guilty about the people who bought the book, who
>probably thought they were getting something that was half McCaffrey and
>half unknown writer,instead of maybe .5% McCaffrey and 99.5% Some Fantasy
>Writer I Never Heard Of.

Not your one, but one at least of the "McCaffrey" books that I have read
had in it some grammar so bad, and some words so simply *wrong* (as in
something like militate for mitigate, though that wasn't it), that I was
absolutely certain that Annie hadn't had anything to do with it -- she
knows better, or at least in her early books she certainly did.  I did once
wonder whether it would be worth trying to work out at what point she'd
stopped writing "her" books altogether.

>The first two Acorna books, later on, were actual collaborations - I went
>over to Dragonhold and worked there, me writing in the morning, Annie in
>the afternoon. I'm not claiming they're any better - actually, they
>convinced me that I am not good at this collaboration business - but at
>least they're not frauds perpetrated on the readers.

So I would have been wrong if I'd assumed McCaffrey wasn't doing any of the
writing after a certain date, as it were.

What I have always wondered, though, is: if someone else writes the book,
and the Big Name Author is the only one whose name goes onto the cover and
into the copyright bit, what (apart from money) is in it for the someone
else?  It isn't going to help to Make One's Name, not being mentioned as
having written a book.  Is it just a way in to a publisher?


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