Yep, it’s true. I do not like her. For all the wonderful things that she has done for women, the GLBT community, people of color, or all three combined, she rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s because I think she’s in it for the money. Maybe because I think she’s the New Media version of Eva Peron. Maybe I just don’t like how she treats writers, who after taking bad advice from their publishers and who continued to do so against their best judgment, come on her show to try and come clean and get yelled at on national TV.
You all know what I’m talking about. Yes, “A Million Little Pieces”, and its author, James Frey.
In the beginning Frey sold his book to Random House as fiction, a novel, as in, “not all true”. Like any good fiction it is based on fact. The word came down from his publisher that, ‘Hey, this is about you, right? So why not call it ‘non-fiction’ and we’ll sell it as a memoir.”
This is all about money. Fiction does not sell these days, and it rarely has. Trust me, I come from a long line of fiction writers and poets who, if you knew my last name, you might (or might not) recognize.
Non-fiction does not stay on the shelves. I heard an interesting quote from another publisher the other day and it added up to the fact that if Frey (Random House) had sold his book under ‘fiction’ he would have had maybe a 10th of the sales. Fewer sales, less money. Who gets the money?
Not the author. Most authors are paid in advance of their work. After which the publisher takes that advance back following sales. If sales exceed the advance, then the author starts earning usually 12% of the remainder. These are called royalties. They aren’t much, unless there’s a movie deal.
So even if Frey made a lot of change from an already written manuscript, he did not make much from the follow-up sequel. Random House made the money, and they still have the money, no matter how ashamed Oprah makes Frey feel on the telly.
I just checked with Amazon. Frey’s book is still listed as part of Oprah’s Book Club. Hmmm…Does Oprah make any dough from this situation?
As I recall there is a quote that says “The only bad press is no press”. Well, there is certainly enough press about this guy now. I hear the tippy-tapping of keys right now as he writes his third, and even more shocking, book.
Don’t forget that ‘scandal’ sells even better than non-fiction.
You might ask yourself (or maybe not) “As a recovering alcoholic, how does Johnnyboy actually feel about this situation?”
Johnnyboy doesn’t give a flying fuck.