Various outlets picked up a where Charlie Sheen is writing a memoir that he thinks might be worth $10 million. Presumably, he is writing the text himself and there hasn’t been any word of a ghostwriter being involved.
But for the sake of our discussion, let’s hypothetically assume that a co-author or ghostwriter were brought into the picture. At first glance, this gig would seem to be a dream come true. There are two main positives:
First, even if Sheen doesn’t receive the gargantuan advance mentioned in reports, he would surely get in the millions. If Sarah Silverman can get $2 million for her book, then you would have to assume that an actor with the most popular sitcom on television would get more cash. So a ghostwriter would stand to cash a pretty massive check.
Second, the publisher would want to cash in on all the news and publicity surrounding Sheen right now. So this would be a rushed project to hit bookstore shelves in just a few months. The ghostwriter would not only make a lot of money, he or she would do so quickly. Sometimes book projects can drag out over the course of years, minimizing your actual profits. But here, the book would be finished quickly.
However, there’s a huge risk in this situation…
Publishers frequently hold the ghostwriter or coauthor responsible for managing the celebrity. Some reality show starlet doesn’t give a shit about their reputation within the publishing community. Some massive arena rocker isn’t all that concerned about a quarter-million dollar advance. Some Hollywood starlet doesn’t care about a lawsuit because they’re in court every week. So editors sometimes expect the co-author to manage the star which can be tough. Imagine trying to get Sheen away from his three or four gorgeous nubile women so he can focus on gerunds and comma splices.
So any potential co-authors or ghostwriters out there lining up to get some Sheen book deal money, be careful what you wish for!