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She’s really a secret agent when ghostwriters are her clients

A lot of those bestsellers you see on various lists aren’t actually written by the authors whose names adorn the front covers. That’s hardly a surprise; ghostwriting is a crucial, if seldom discussed, component of the business. But literary agent Madeleine Morel took the art of ghosting an extra step when she founded 2M Communications, an agency that only represents ghostwriters.

Publishers Weekly decided to find out how this agency began and how it works, and the resulting article is a fascinating read, especially with details of the economics of such deals: the ghostwriter may get a flat fee or a percentage of the advance with a guaranteed minimum, and Morel takes 15% commission on whatever she gets for the writers. The average ghostwriter’s advance is “between $30,000 and $100,000, which is a hell of a lot more than they could make on their own,” says Morel.

One of the big reasons she can be successful is because of the celebrification of publishing. Now that such books – like Nicole Richie’s “novel” THE TRUTH ABOUT DIAMONDS – are commercially successful, Morel says, it’s proving that “the Judith Regan approach to publishing works. I have no doubt that it’s going to happen more and more.”

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