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Cheryl Cole, Coronation Street – it’s all a soap opera…

Posted on 02 February 2009 by Freya North

Well, you know you’ve made it when one of your novels is featured in a soap opera… Thanks so much to you eagle-eyed readers who spotted an original edition of ‘Polly‘ in Coronation Street!  This honour has to rank as highly as being a question on the Weakest Link…and a clue in the Daily Mirror crossword (I still dine out on those to this day…)

So, Cheryl Cole is to write a series of ‘chick-lit’ novels…  Hmmm, what do I think about that? (check out my comments on the Bookseller blog)  Ms Cole is gorgeous and talented…as a singer and celebrity.  But can she hack it as a novelist?  Does she actually know what it entails?  Where’s her track record of being able to write 100,000+ words of original fiction?  And hold on… isn’t she a singer?  Has she ever said “if I wasn’t in Girls Aloud, I’d love to be a novelist”?  Did I miss an interview when she’s previously revealed “all I’ve ever wanted to do is write…”? The quote I read said she hadn’t previously thought of writing, but that she’s “come around to the idea”.
Tell me she isn’t going to have her very own secret ghost-writer?  Tell me that her fine UK publisher won’t now reject and forfeit fine unpublished novelists because they’d prefer to spend a vulgar amount on Ms Cole’s advance?
An author’s life can be a lonely ol’ existence – my working days are spent almost entirely on my own, concentrating very hard, doing committed research, putting in the hours and crucial fastidiousness to ensure I write good fiction.  Will Cheryl have the time necessary to do this?  And will she mind the long periods away from the limelight while she knuckles down to write?
Writing a novel is not about ‘burning ambition’ – where ambition is solely about publication or money or fame. For a novel to be a good novel – and worthy of the kind readers who part with their cash to buy it – it can only arise from the author’s absolute desire to write that story out of their system – and being blessed with the necessary talent to do so.

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13 Comments For This Post

  1. Chris Manby Says:

    Well said, Freya!

  2. Victoria Connelly Says:

    Hear, hear, Freya! Well said! The idea of celebrities having a ghost writer doing it for them appalls me. I quite fancy being a surgeon but I might need the hospital to pay a real surgeon to do the operation for me because I don’t actually know that much about it. Still, I want to be the one who gets the credit for it. Makes me so cross! And she’ll be getting paid an amount that could really help a good number of real writers who are struggling to make ends meet.

  3. Jen Black Says:

    Well done – Good to see someone speak out. We’ll just have to hope that the publisher makes so much profit from Ms Cole that they can afford to commission many more books from non-celebrity writers.
    Jen Black

  4. Anita Burgh Says:

    Freya, sad to say but it was always thus! Remember the model who “wrote” a book but confessed to never having read it? I wish the publishers would be brave and guarantee that Cheryl is to write it.
    I like Cheryl, and good luck to her, it’s not her fault . . .
    Abd honour and admiration to you for saying how you feel.

  5. Lynne Connolly Says:

    It’s sad when we read of these huge advances not given to the writer. I wonder how much of that the ghostwriter will receive? A tidy sum, but nowhere near even ten percent of that advance, I fear.
    Oh, sorry, she’s writing them herself. Forgot there just for a moment. Yes, she’s a sweet girl and I enjoyed her contribution to “The X Factor,” but, well, she didn’t strike me as the writerly type. I could be wrong, I’ve been wrong lots of times before.

  6. Liz Harris Says:

    An excellent blog, Freya!

    I’m torn between hoping that the public won’t be deceived and will decide not to buy ‘her’ books, thereby discouraging further similar contracts, and hoping that the public will buy the books in droves, thereby generating huge profits that can be spent on promoting as yet unpublished writers.

  7. Julie Cohen Says:

    I’ll just be curious to see if she gets Writer’s Butt.

  8. Liz Says:

    Congrats on the Corrie spot, Freya. I keep watching re-runs of Keeping Up Appearances hoping to catch Daisy reading one of mine!

    As for celebrity books — you’re right, it sucks, big time that this woman had to be “talked around” to the idea of signing a seven figure contract. Presumably the clincher was that she wouldn’t actually have the trouble of putting pen to paper. But it was ever thus. I’d say that I hope they get laughed out of the store like a book called “Swan” written by some model a few years back. But actually I don’t want publishers to lose money. Tricky.

  9. Kevin Duffy Says:


    Completely agree.Some stats from Christmas 2006. 32 celeb autobiogs. Publishers spent £millions on advances and marketing. Of the 32 published, 5 earned their advances back and only 3 made a reasonable profit. It’s not just the obscene amounts diverted away from new writers but the time and energy and space given to the one shot celebrity Christmas punt. It’s Bling Bookselling at its worst.

  10. Kevin Duffy Says:


    That’s why hethya, my wife and I set up Bluemoose Books. We were sick and tired of the celebrity fuelled mentality of publishing these days.

  11. Kevin Duffy Says:


    Thanks for getting in touch. Steve Clayton(author of The art of beng dead)and I are on our world tour of northern libraries again this Monday, 9th Feb at Bolton Library and the following week at Blackburn. Have fun in Whitby, beautiful part of the world and they have a great bookshop there. I was reading some comments after your piece on ‘R Cheryl, the QC Charles Hale about a legal challenge to her publisher if it is marketed as written by her fair hand. I will take them to couort, just to see what happens!

  12. Cath Lawson Says:

    Well said Freya. I’m betting she’ll get a ghost writer. But if all those celebs keep doing that, where will it end?

    I’ve written several novels over the years and none of them will see the light of day, because they were terrible. I’m determined that my current attempt will be different.

    But it’s disheartening to read that publishers are spending the bulk of their budget on people like Miss Cole, instead of investing in people who have spent years learning to write.

  13. Billy Says:

    We need more people like you (and Linda) with the guts to stand up and say something about it. Publishers are selling out. It’s all about the dollar these days. As a writer, I find the whole thing depressing, but if I was in this for the money I’d never have become a writer in the first place. That’s something these celebs will never understand for the simple fact that they’re not writers.

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