I don’t know the details of the
contract(s) between Gruber and Tanenbaum, but if Gruber agreed that he
wouldn’t reveal he was writing the books, then he shouldn’t have
revealed it. I understand the frustration he must have felt — I once
ghosted a book that got glowing blurbs from big-name folks who never
would have blurbed a book with my name on it — but a deal’s a deal.
He also talks about the unspoken rules about writing series novels under the publisher’s "house names."
Of course there are varying
degrees of secrecy on these things. Some of my house-name Western
contracts say that I can’t publicly claim authorship but that I can use
the books as professional credits within the industry.
I’m sure it’s common knowledge in publishing circles that folks like Margaret Truman and William Shatner, for example, don’t write their own books and that editors are well aware of who really does do the work… but I doubt most readers know when, or if, they are reading ghosted books. I’m sure there are readers out there who think Don Pendleton writes all those EXECUTIONER novels…
Reasoner may be one of the most underrated writers
around today. TEXAS WIND is a classic, but how many people have had the
opportunity to read it (Thankfully PointBlank has republished the book).