Raging Against Ghostwriters

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When I went to study literature at York University for three years in the early 1990’s, I would write my own essays. Maybe that made me morale, old fashioned, or prudish too.

At that time, I took an American History course, where I received permission to do an essay on a Canadian connection to WWII. I should have got that as written permission because the instructor forgot that conversation and gave me an F. Before that, I never got under a C, or above a C+, or under a D-. When we write our own essays, we deserve the marks we get, and not the high average that the clever ones achieve through chicanery.  By the way, at that time, I knew someone, who was a son of an Ontario Provincial Court Judge. Well, he went to a prominent reclusive school, which was called Crescent School. He said he had a lot of close friends who wrote his essays.

Tom-Clancy-at-Burns-Library-Boston-College
The popular demand for Tom Clancy’s action novels exceeds his ability to write new books; as a result, his publisher hires ghostwriters to write novels in the Clancy style.

Yes, that son of so and so went to Harvard, and I dropped out of full time studies in October 1993 because I had it with political correctness. For the record, I have nothing against equal rights between men and women. I have nothing against equal rights between whites and non whites, but the mind police… political correctness has gone too far. Back to the rant!  When I tried to start a business in a business center, a colleague had an essay writing business. Why? It paid 500 hundred dollars a pop and this financed her rental accommodation. When I got published, I attended some writer groups, where I learned the term Ghostwriter.

When I searched for writing jobs on Craig’s List, or Kijiji, I always come across motivational speakers, or real estate moguls, all looking for a ghostwriter to write their self help books. Such a practice is that blatant. Once again, I maybe old fashioned, morale, or prudish. Why stop now?! Quite recently, I found a Tamil Canadian filmmaker on Craig’s list. He was looking for volunteer screenwriter for his second feature. He didn’t plan on paying anyone to write his film, but himself only. In the last decade, 40 thousand authors get published per year in the United States, all through print on demand publishers. The big book chains, however, only pay the big name authors. J.K Rowling proved that when she got a book published under a pseudonym. Does anyone respect the writer anymore?

To add to that literary swoon, the publishing industry in Canada is virtually government run.  Every big name publisher and known author in Canada relies on multiple government grants from every level of government to keep alive.  If an unknown author doesn’t qualify for a grant, they have no chance at getting published in Canada, or receiving any form of book promotion at all. It’s a club, or clique, is what they would say.  If you are not part of the clique, then you are out in the cold. How does it go?  According to the rules, any book to get a government grant must get published through a Canadian based publisher and be Canadian based. Why? Because government policies for arts funding are rooted in the past. They ignore the American market altogether.

To get an arts grant from Toronto Arts Council, one must be based in Toronto and have a Toronto based publisher interested in publishing their work. Why? That’s the rules. The same goes for Canada Council except it is on a national level.  Government arts funding ignores the American market and actually prevents new Canadian authors from getting their original work out there.  This very system is censorship! And the Toronto Star fired Ernest Hemingway for literary incompetence as well. I could go  on and on but that ship has sailed.  For your information, I don’t think the owner of Amazon.com needs another fleet of spaceships for the US government to cover up at Area 51.

That being said, stiff fines must be issued to those people who get caught handing in plagiarized essays into university. That university degree should mean something, yet if one went to college, they  would learn a good paying trade. Oh, why the bother?!

1 Comment
  1. Jack Eason says

    Paul,
    To answer your question – Does anyone respect the writer anymore? The answer has to be a resounding no!
    As for what you have revealed about the Canadian literary scene, How do they honestly expect a Canadian writer to be accepted world-wide given their closed-shop system? What are they frightened of?
    Another great article. 🙂

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