Celebrities as “authors”

For those that haven’t heard, Hilary Duff is currently promoting the second novel in her series about the paranormal and the afterlife – Devoted.  The first novel, Elixir, became a New York Times bestseller.

I haven’t read either novel – so I won’t speak to the actual books themselves.  I just wanted to comment on the concept of celebrities as authors and the co-writers who always seem to be in the background, never really receiving much recognition.  I saw Hilary Duff’s appearance on Ellen recently, and was confused when she was speaking about Devoted  and her series of books because at times she seemed to take ownership of the process and projects, whereas once or twice, she would use “we” – referring one would suspect to her co-writer on the series – Elise Allen.  However, when you look at the book covers, only Hilary Duff’s name seems to be associated with the book.

So where do the boundaries of “co-writing” a series with a celebrity end?  Duff has publicly stated that the concept for the books was hers, but that Allen “helped” her with the writing.  How much of the writing?  Obviously a book promoted by a star like Hilary Duff will have a better chance at being published and bought by many readers, but is Hilary Duff an actual novelist?  That’s hard to say. 

This series of books is just one part of the “brand” that makes up the Hilary Duff empire – she also has her TV series, music, movies, clothing and perfume lines, and now a book series.  Is Hilary Duff authentically interested in all of these endeavours or is she just a spokesmodel for an empire built by men in suits who want to drain every dollar they can out of the idea of “Lizzie McGuire”?

I’ve written this post with Hilary Duff in mind, but you can replace her name with the name of any other celebrity who is the face of their own particular brand.

What do you think of celebrities as authors?