|He scoffs at the publishing industry.|
|Young Adult Loot Pinata|
He went to Columbia University with a book contract (read about it here) and hired the starving MFA students there (and from other reknowned universities) and created a writing factory. "I Am Number Four" is the result. Here are some choice words from that article:
"Frey believed that Harry Potter and the Twilight series had awakened a ravenous market of readers and were leaving a substantial gap in their wake. He wanted to be the one to fill it. There had already been wizards, vampires, and werewolves. Aliens, Frey predicted, would be next."
So yeah...take the Twilight script cross out the vampires, insert aliens, make them hot teenagers that show plenty of skin and bam you have a bestseller? I would be laughing...only... I guess the answer is yes you can do exactly this. Like WTF? Seriously?
Here are more details from that article:
"Frey handed him a one-page write-up of the concept, and Hughes developed the rest of the outlined narrative. Frey’s idea was a series called “The Lorien Legacies,” about nine Loric aliens who were chased from their home planet by evil Mogadorians and are living on Earth in the guise of teenagers. Through early 2009, Hughes told me, he delivered three drafts of the first book, I Am Number Four, to Frey, who revised them and polished the final version. Hughes wrote the novel without any compensation and signed a contract, without consulting a lawyer, that specified that he would receive 30 percent of all revenue that came from the project. The book would be published under a pseudonym, and the contract stipulated that Hughes would not be allowed to speak publicly about the project or confirm his attachment to it. There was a $250,000 penalty Frey could invoke if Hughes violated his confidentiality terms."
Well all I gotta say is that people bought it in droves and the book has been sold in 44 countries and translated into 21 languages. When asked about memoirs, Frey responded of the genre that it was "bunk" and "bullshit". Nice eh? When asked about truth, James Frey said "It doesn't exist." When asked about Oprah he said, "I should never have fucking apologized." How about self-editing? He responds, "A trap for young inexperienced writers." I would laugh at him and hold tight to the ideals that I've learned but the industry is rewarding this guy with millions of dollars in his pocket. If you didn't catch that I'm going to spell it out for you:
He's getting paid millions of dollars.
As writers of fiction, is what we do a joke? From where I stand it almost seems like, yes, it is. Readers embraced the first books out of his young adult fiction factory so well that honestly, it looks like a huge "loot pinata" that James Frey is pounding at with a bat, using formulaic plots, crossing out vampires and inserting aliens and whammo...Harper Collins book contract and movie deal produced by Spielberg (and it bears repeating that the movie sucked and that they moved on the movie rights before the book was even published).
|Paramount cannot afford to |
make this movie apparently.
|Is this what we are when we read?|
Anyway, this post is not directed at any of you fine writers to whom I visit often on your blogs. On the contrary, your honesty and willingness to share your struggles with me is the only thing that keeps the spark of my youth (where I used to think being a writer was awesome) from completely going out. Rather, it's a disillusionment with an industry that I perhaps had on a pedestal. Now, maybe...not so much. I know all of you out there are working extremely hard. I just think that what James Frey has done is a slap in the face to every author trying to make it out there and seems to be endorsed by an industry that really could give a sh*t to be honest. Making money is all that matters and there appears to be a formula (which I don't know) on how to do exactly that. I'm sure Faulkner, Twain, Hemmingway, and Austen to name a few are rolling over in their graves at the question, "Where has all the integrity gone?" The trailer for the H.P. Lovecraft movie is a fake but done so well I included it to give you an idea of what the movie may have been like if it hadn't been canned.