Writer for hire
The publishing world was shocked in 2006 when HaperCollins announced it was paying footballer Wayne Rooney £5m for a five book deal. Rooney, then just 20, pictured at Everton, and still to achieve much in sport, was not exactly renowned for his ready wit or piercing insights into the modern condition.
And the famous biographer Hunter Davies penned a piece for the New Statesman poking fun at the publishers who would way lay out that kind of money. "Did the young Mozart get a five-book deal for £5m when he was only 20?" asked Davies.
He changed his tune somewhat a few weeks later when it emerged that he had been asked to write the books. For a not inconsiderable fee. Davies did go on to write the first Rooney biography, My Story So Far, which then sparked a libel action from the footballer's former manager, David Moyes.
Moyes won the case and Davies must have been left wondering if there were not easier ways to make a living, even as that most underappreciated of figures, the writer for hire.