James S. A. Corey and the Multi-Writer Author

When I try to explain my collaborative ghost-writing work, people are often very surprised. They have a fixed idea of what the author’s name on a book cover represents. It’s a single person who crafted this story.

The idea of several people collaborating, and the book then going out in the name of someone who doesn’t exist, is weird. But it happens often, probably far more often than is reported. And with the success of The Expanse, which just hit Netflix in the UK, it’s likely to become less surprising.

You see, James S. A. Corey, the author of the Expanse books, doesn’t exist. The name represents two authors, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, working together. James S. A. Corey is a convenient marketing label, a fact they’re open about.

This stuff is getting more normal. Most casual readers are most comfortable with a single author, and that makes marketing easier. But the perceived need to hide collaborations is receding.

So next time someone looks bewildered and asks about my ghostwriting “how does that work?”, I’ll say “just like The Expanse“.