Internet Content Mills Have Nothing on the Hardy Boys

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Even after eighty years of publication, Simon & Schuster is still putting out several Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew titles each year, thanks to ghostwriters and an assembly-line-like process:

Book packagers are a kind of outsourced labor, not unlike factories in China or tech-support centers in Mumbai. They develop new story ideas, recruit and manage freelance writers, and edit the first drafts of series books.

Writers give up bylines, royalties, and all the glory, but they remain anonymous—a bonus for introverted authors—and they receive a steady paycheck as long as they keep the mysteries coming.


Kelly Lynn Thomas reads, writes, and sometimes sews in Pittsburgh, PA. Her creative work has appeared in Sou’wester, Thin Air Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, metazen, and others, and she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She is hopelessly obsessed with Star Wars and can always be found with a large mug of tea. She also runs the very small Wild Age Press. Read more at kellylynnthomas.com. More from this author →