His first book, the best selling, Internet Spy was made into TV film.
Johnny Nothing is his latest book and I’m thrilled to have him here today to guest blog
Ghostwriter says Penguin should refund all those teenagers they ripped off, by Ian Probert
“I have a teensy-weensy confession for you: I’m not actually writing this article.
I mean, I came up with the ideas for the content and whatnot… The characters, is that what you call it? The story and all that… But when it came to the actual business of letting my fingers press down on those little buttons on a keyboard I let someone else do it. I mean, I spend a lot of money on my nails, each cuticle has a different sponsor and I wouldn’t want to let them down by breaking a nail, would I? Dyknowhatimean?
Sure, my name’s at the top of this article. But then why wouldn’t it be? I mean everybody knows my name but even I don’t know the name of the person who did the donkeywork on this article. The actual WRITING if that’s what you call it. That’s not important, is it? What’s important is that as many people as possible buy this article so that my publishers make as much money from it as possible. I mean, they gave me a lot – and I mean a LOT, a simply DISGUSTING amount of money – for permission to use my name so they have every right to try to – what’s the word? RECOUP . That’s it. RECOUP the money.
The people who read this article don’t really care that I didn’t write it. Do they? I mean, the most important thing is that the article bears my name. In a way, I’m sponsoring the article. That’s a nice way of putting it, isn’t it?
I’m a sponsor. Just like all those people who sponsor ME for wearing their lipstick and mascara. I’m SPONSORING these words. Every single word is endorsed by ME. Especially that last word. ME. There, I’ve sponsored it again.
I mean it’s none of my business if an 11-year-old girl named Sofia walked into W H Smith two weekends ago and was shaking with anticipation when she saw my new book that I didn’t write. If you’ve not heard of it I think it’s called ‘Grill Online’ and it’s about a girl who spends a lot of time online talking about make-up and boyfriends. I put a LOT of thought into that character. It;s nothing to do with me that Sofia pleaded with her parents for an advance on her pocket money so that she could give my publisher £12 to help repay, sorry RECOUP, all that money the publisher gave me to use my name. I’m just pleased that Sofia was able to buy a book with my name on the spine. What was inside that book is merely incidental.
I mean, what’s so wrong with using a ghostwriter anyway? I mean, I’m pretty sure that Jordan must use a ghostwriter. She writes loads of books. What about Stephen King? Isn’t he a ghostwriter? Yes I know that I probably should have mentioned that someone else actually composed the sentences in whatchmacallit? ‘Gull Ovine’ but no-one got hurt. Did they?
What do you mean that Sofia was really disappointed this morning when she read in the papers that her heroine and role model (role model? Don’t make me laugh. Even I wouldn’t have ME as a role model) didn’t actually write that expensive book that she wrote? What do you mean that Sofia simply assumed that a prestigious publisher such as Penguin would never consider deceiving hundreds of thousands of young girls all over the world simply to make money out of them?
Penguin would NEVER do that. They have integrity. They have a reputation. I mean, everyone’s heard of Penguin Classics. They’re simply the best books in the world, written by the very best writers. I mean, didn’t Morrissey write a Penguin Classic?
Anyhow, even if they have made a teensy bit of money out of ‘Growl In Time’ it’s not such a bad thing. I mean everybody does it. Why only last night I had a Dixie Fried Chicken supper. It looked exactly like Kentucky Fried Chicken and the logo was almost identical. Why, it even tasted a little like KFC (I threw mine away in the end and got a Big Mack from Iceland). And what about Milli Vanilli? They were a pop group who didn’t even sing their songs and they won loads of awards! Grammys and all. There! Oh, hold on. They were stripped of all their awards and had to pay back loads of people who had bought their records thinking that they were singing their own songs. I mean, after all it did say ‘Milli Vanilli’ on the label of the record. Oops. That could never happen to me. Could it?
I mean I came up with all the ideas and things for that book I didn’t write and then somebody else writ it down.
Maybe, come to think of it, would it have been that wrong for Penguin to simply have given the nice lady who wrote ‘God! A Crime!’ a credit on the front of the book? I mean my name could still have been bigger than hers and maybe had a few sparkles on it but at least it would have been HONEST. And all those young girls like Sofia – I call them fans, which is a shorter way of spelling ‘sucker’ – wouldn’t have been crying quite so much about wasting all their pocket money and having their hopes and dreams dashed and finding out that the world is just one big shop and that we’re all shoppers and individuality and originality is a CRIME.
I suppose that would have been the HONEST thing to do. I mean, I’m sure that people would still have bought that book I didn’t write. HONESTLY. Because isn’t writing all about honesty? Isn’t writing one of the few art forms that removes the distance between creator and consumer to create a level of intimacy that can probably never be matched by any other media?
Gosh! You can really tell that I didn’t write that last sentence.
I know what. What if Penguin were to simply REFUND the money that their wholly innocent and exploited teenage customers have been diddled out of? What if they simply give back all the money they’ve made trying to RECOUP all that money they gave to me? Wouldn’t that be the HONEST thing to do? Yes it would. I’m sure it would.
I’m going to call my agent right now… Now where’s my ghost caller? You can never find her when you need her……..”
“Great new kids book alert! My two are in hysterics reading Johnny Nothing by Ian Probert (and I am too).” Jane Bruton, Editor of Grazia
“Oh, Wow! Dark, sordid, grotesque and hilarious are only a few words I can conjure up to describe this hilarious book.” Lizzie Baldwin, mylittlebookblog
Critics are comparing Ian Probert to Roald Dahl. And Johnny Nothing we have a modern successor to Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
Johnny Nothing is best-selling author Ian Probert’s first ever children’s book – although adults are enjoying it too. The story of the poorest boy in the world and the nastiest mother in the universe, the book is earning rave reviews. Children and grown-ups are all laughing at this incredibly funny kids book.
Take a look for yourself:
To celebrate the paperback launch of Johnny Nothing Ian Probert is offering a free Kindle copy of the book to the first 100 people who Tweet the following message:
@truth42 I’m reading Johnny Nothing by Ian Probert. http://geni.us/3oR8 #YA #Kindle #kidsbooks
The first ten readers who answer the following question will also receive a signed print of one of the book’s illustrations.
Q: What is the tattoo on Ben’s arm?
Send your answers to email@example.com
Ian Probert has been scribbling down words ever since he learned to spell the phrase: ‘Once upon a time…’. He is the author of Internet Spy, Rope Burns and a bunch of other titles. Internet Spy was a bestseller in the US and made into a TV film. Rope Burns is a book about why books shouldn’t be written about boxing. Ian has also written things for a shed load of newspapers and magazines. When Ian was a student he used to write lots of letters to the bank manager.