The first was an email from another writer. Please buy my book now, he said, if you’re going to, because I’m withdrawing it from sale.
Why, I wondered? It was quite a successful book.
Well, the reason, he said, is that another multi-million selling author wants to buy his plot. And the offer from the novel magnate was just too good to refuse.
In one way, it’s quite insulting – it says ‘I can write your plot better than you can’. In another way, it’s quite flattering to be chosen by a mega-selling phenomenon. And no doubt there’s a feature film in the planning with the big name writer’s name all over it.
The money is a careful deal to avoid the more expensive cost of being sued for plagiarism, and is at least more honest than the now notorious practice of just copying someone else’s file and changing the names of the characters.
In the same week, in The Society of Authors Magazine, I read that Wilbur Smith, who is now 82 years of age, has just signed a contract for 8 books with Harper Collins. According to The Times, a team of authors will ‘flesh out’ his plots. Ghost writers have of course always existed, but usually for people who are not writers.
So there you have it – the answer. Buy a successful plot from someone else, and get a team of other writers to flesh it out for you.
Of course that only works if you’ve done your apprenticeship and built a name for yourself. So, better give me a few more years before I can sit back and buy a plot and a team of writers! Would it still be a Deborah Swift book then? Would readers feel cheated to find I was just a name and hadn’t even thought of the idea for the novel, let alone written the book? Over to you!