To paraphrase the old saw: Those who can, do; those who can’t hire those who can. Certainly that’s one way to think about the honorable profession of ghostwriting, whose practitioners collect fat fees for putting words in celebrities’ mouths—literally. Not that the ghosts get none of the credit. Bylines typically read Donald Trump with Tony Schwartz (The Art of the Deal) or Nancy Reagan and William Novak (My Turn), but the real star is the star, with the ghost settling for fortune rather than fame. Texas, of course, sees its share of such arrangements all the time, and in honor of Texas Writers Month, here’s a look at four works in progress.
Holiday in Your Heart The author: Fourteen-year-old LeAnn Rimes, Garland’s country diva. The collaborator: Nashville’s Tom Carter, who has written books with George Jones, Reba McEntire, and Ronnie Milsap. The skinny: A novel about a young country singer who gets caught up in her success and neglects her sick grandma. The publisher: Doubleday Books. The money: “A million-dollar deal,” says an inside source; Carter’s cut is “handsome but fair.” Due out: November 1997.
Holistic Salvation The author: Kirbyjon Caldwell, the pastor of Houston’s Power Center. The collaborator: Houston Chronicle columnist Mickey Herskowitz, who has ghosted books for Dan Rather, John Connally, Mickey Mantle, Howard Cosell, Gene Tierney, and Bette Davis. The skinny: Part autobiography, part inspirational treatise. The publisher: Simon and Schuster. The money: A six-figure deal. Herskowitz will only say that his take is “fair,” though he usually works for a fifty-fifty split. Due out: late fall 1997.
Marcus The author: Kansas City Chiefs running back Marcus Allen. The collaborator: Cedar Hill’s Carlton Stowers, who covered the Dallas Cowboys for the Dallas Morning News and is now a true-crime writer; he also ghosted a book for Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. The skinny: An autobiography of the fifteen-year NFL veteran, from his days as a Heisman trophy winner to his Super Bowl MVP performance; Allen will also discuss his link to the O. J. Simpson—Nicole Brown Simpson case. The publisher: St. Martin’s Press. The money: A $600,000 deal, according to Publisher’s Weekly; Stowers says he gets “something less than fifty percent” of the total. Due out: fall 1997.
How to Get Rich in More Than Money The author: Robert Dedman, the CEO of Dallas-based ClubCorp International. The collaborator: Dallas’ Jim Henderson, who ghosted Charley Pride’s 1995 autobiography, Pride, and now writes for magazines such as Bon Appetit. The skinny: Tips for applying the lessons of business to your personal life to make it rewarding and happy. The publisher: Pelican Books. The money: Dedman and Henderson will forgo an advance and split the royalties with Pelican three ways. Due out: late 1997.