Today in books and publishing: Former Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith is shopping a book proposal, more fallout about the role of the ghostwriter, and Chuck Palahniuk experienced a scary car accident.
Greg Smith, the former Goldman Sachs executive who used the Opinion Page of The New York Times to announce his resignation in spectacularly public fashion, is reportedly shopping a book proposal about his time at the firm. Per "several people with knowledge of the conversations," Smith held meetings with publishers last week, pitching the book as "a coming-of-age story, the tale of someone who came into the business with good intentions and sky-high ideals that were ultimately pierced by Goldman’s obsessive focus on making money." Publishers who attended those meetings seem split on the project's viabilities. According to The New York Times, some publishers think the book could be another Liar's Poker, while others are wary of the "legal issues that could be involved with a former employee’s writing a damning book about a large, deep-pocketed company." Other concerns voiced by publishers include whether a book focused on the derivatives market could be accesible to a wide audience, the ability of a mid-level employee to write a persuasive indictment of Goldman's corporate culture, and whether anyone will still remember Greg Smith six months from now. Said one unenthusiastic publishing executive: "It's a story that had its moment," [The New York Times]
Gwyneth Paltrow did not like it one bit when she was singled out in the New York Times for using a ghostwriter on her cookbook My Father's Daughter. Paltrow denied the suggestion that she had help writing the memoir, noting on Twitter that she "wrote every word" herself. But this where things get tricky, explains Sari Botton, a ghostwriter who thinks of herself more as a "memoir midwife." Botton explains: "[E]ven if [Paltrow] did write every single word that made it into the book, it doesn’t mean she didn’t have the help of a ghostwriter or co-author whatever you want to call us." Even when a famous client is writing down large chunks of their book, Botton notes she's the one who still has to shape those passages into something "readable and interesting." A ghostwriter may not write every word, but they are still hovering, contributing to and massaging the text. [The Rumpus]