Why don’t publishers hire ghostwriters for the books they want written?

It’s summertime, and writer’s conferences are in full swing across all my social media. My writing groups are full of people writing proposals and summaries, trying to catch the eye of various publishers or agents. It’s a busy time full of hopes and dreams.

I’m sitting in my corner, doing revisions on my own work, and watching this go on. I’m watching my friends get rejected, watching publishers with really weird requirements. And a question has arisen in my mind that I’d love to ask publishers:

Why do you accept submissions at all when you already know what kind of books you want? Why don’t the publishers write proposals and summaries, and hire writers to write those books?

Publishers don’t want authors who write random books. They want particular books: romance, mystery, or whatever. They want particular formulas in those books. They want particular writing styles. Authors who don’t fit those requirements get rejected, no matter how good their book is.

So … why don’t publishers just hire ghostwriters? Any writer worth their salt can write according to somebody else’s rules. Heaven knows that enough authors have to rewrite their books according to what an editor or agent thinks will sell. Why not go all the way and just write a book from scratch that the publisher has ordered? Authors of licensed fiction do it all the time for Star Trek and other properties.

I think my author friends could avoid a lot of heartache by self-publishing their books and picking up ghostwriting gigs from publishers. I mean, there are indies like Bella Forest who are just a pen name for a jillion ghost writers churning out series books. It’s a thing. I just don’t know why publishers continue to use the old model in the modern era. It’s nonsensical.

2 thoughts on “Why don’t publishers hire ghostwriters for the books they want written?

  1. I think a lot of the structure comes from literary fiction where this wouldn’t work as well. Also, a lot of the marketing these days incorporates the writer as a persona.

    It’s also probably easier to low-ball creators trying to get their own stuff published, because it’s a passion project. They would probably have to consistently offer more for professionals doing commissions. This way they get more offers and the ball is more in their court.

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  2. I think you have a good point. I think I would say, because its always been that way. I hate that phrase so much. I always wish people would take advantage of change and try new things. You can find fresh ideas and I do get so tired of formulas. I am glad you are thinking about these things.It really caused me to think.

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