Celebrities Save Which Endangered Species?

Much like global climate and habitat change threatens giant pandas and black rhinos, global socio-economic and technological change threatens writers. Print media outlets are slowly dying, literacy is gradually declining, and the book business is shrinking. Animals are threatened by global warming, and writers by global dumbing.

So I guess I’m glad to see that now celebrities are pitching in to help save writers. Maybe.

I saw this in Ghosts and the corporate gurus posted by the Financial Times. Here’s a quote:

The rise of the ghost, says Madeleine Morel, a New York literary agent who represents ghostwriters only, has been largely driven by celebrity culture and the publishing industry’s transition from a literary endeavour to a nakedly commercial business. “Most non-fiction agents,” she says, “have been forced into the position of seeking authors who have a ‘platform’. This means either household names or people such as motivational speakers who bring the market to the book. The problem is that most of these authors aren’t writers. Books aren’t books any more. They’re products and this has been very good news for ghostwriters.”

There’s interesting irony here: celebrity culture is blamed for the demotion from literary endeavor to nakedly commercial business. And celebrities, hiring ghostwriters, are keeping a few rare specimens of this endangered species alive.

This makes me wonder: some endangered species thrive in captivity; they breed and multiply and eventually go back into the wild. Do you think that’s true for writers?

(Image: Nickolay Khoroshkov/Shutterstock)


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