Friday, January 20, 2006

UK Publishing Faces Death, Er, Suicide

So, the talk of the day is about UK publishing imploding.

Read this.
"The unromantic truth is that British chain bookselling - with Waterstone's as its battered figurehead - now looks suspiciously like a murder victim who has decided to speed up his demise by committing suicide."

I'm not giving up though. When an industry gets pressed (unlike countries who frequently go to war; think Iran), it gets innovative. Methinks the UK needs Alex Mandossian, hm?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

James Frey's Fall Into Darkness

We'll be discussing this for months.

I won't, I promise. I'm moving onto other things.

But the publishing world will be gazing at its navel for quite a long time, I predict.

New York Times

James Frey's Memory Is Really Bad

And I'm still finding more good gems about James Frey and his book of lies . . . er, memoir, A Million Little Pieces.
I think someone could collect all the articles written about the incident and have quite the encyclopedia. I will digress and save us all some boredom. While Frey may believe he's raking in the dough by staying in the public eye, he's not gaining any fans in the literary world. Nan Talese (his editor) scolded him publicly in this article:

Observer story

QUOTE: On Monday, Jan. 16, Nan Talese was on vacation in Bermuda with her husband, the nonfiction writer Gay Talese. It was Ms. Talese’s imprint at Doubleday that published James Frey’s memoir A Million Little Pieces in hardcover, and she had something to add to the still-evolving controversy.

“When the manuscript of A Million Little Pieces was received by us at Doubleday, it was received as nonfiction, as a memoir,” said Ms. Talese by phone. “Throughout the whole process of publication, it had always been a memoir, and for the first year and a half it was on sale, it was always a memoir with no disputation. It was never once discussed as fiction by me or anyone in my office.”

Ms. Talese’s statement appears to contradict Mr. Frey, who has said that it was his publisher’s decision to foist A Million Little Pieces onto the public as a memoir rather than a novel, as he had originally written it. Just a few days ago, during an unrepentant appearance on Larry King Live, Mr. Frey said: “We initially shopped the book as a novel, and it was turned down by a lot of publishers as a novel or as a nonfiction book. When Nan Talese purchased the book, I’m not sure if they knew what they were going to publish it as. We talked about what to publish it as. And they thought the best thing to do was publish it as a memoir.”

So, the end result? See the next post.

J.K. Rowling Has Written the Last Chapter

In better news for book addicts, J.K. Rowling has been talking about her future plans, her past heartaches, and just all sorts of great stuff, such as the final chapter of the Harry Potter series is written! (She's one of those writers that just gets me so jealous that I must go write something!)

Telegraph on J.K. Rowling

QUOTE: This year, she will finish writing the Harry Potter series. The final chapter sits, already written, in her safe. A new children's book is also complete. It is about a monster and is what Rowling calls a "political fairy story". It is aimed at children younger than those who read Harry Potter. "I haven't even told my publisher about this." There are also some short stories already written.

She is disarmingly normal. Her favourite drink is gin and tonic, her least favourite food tripe. Her heroine is Jessica Mitford and her favourite author, Jane Austen. She gave up smoking five years ago and has spent most of the past three years pregnant or caring for a small baby. She is a Christian (Episcopalian) and "like Graham Greene, my faith is sometimes about if my faith will return. It's important to me".

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

AdAge Magazine Smacks at Oprah

Oprah gets smacked around a little by AdAge magazine (industry watch publication read by just about everyone in marketing/advertising) and I, for one, am glad to read it.
I mean, we've trusted Oprah for years to tell us the truth (I know, gullible me), especially during last year's launch of a campaign to nail child sex offenders. Why is she still defending James Frey? He lied. That is not helping addicts or victims. What about the people that he hurt?

AdAge editorial, worth reading.
QUOTE: Memo to those in the media who worship at the altar of Oprah: It is not OK for James Frey to have passed off his fictionalized life story as nonfiction just because a talk-show host says it is.

In all of the coverage of the controversy over the truthiness of “A Million Little Pieces,” perhaps the most disturbing element of all is how the media reacted to Oprah’s continued endorsement of the book -- treating it as somehow the last word, one that in effect excused the lies and ended the controversy. She was lauded for riding to the rescue of the publishing business, rather than called out for trying to minimize the damage to the businesses involved, including her huge and profitable empire -- one whose continued growth relies heavily on maintaining her power to move products as well as people.

What few have dared to suggest
Most of the coverage ignored the fact that Oprah has something at stake, as much actually as Frey and the book’s publisher: the credibility on which her brand is based. Few have dared to suggest her continued endorsement may have been driven by commercial considerations, not just altruistic motives.

The response by all interested parties to The Smoking Gun’s revelations about the book has been a carefully orchestrated marketing strategy that relies on an artful dodge. No one involved in this mess apologized or took accountability. Read the coverage and transcripts of the “Larry King Live” interview and Oprah’s statements; The core issues are never addressed head-on, just skirted. Yet it’s clear that many readers -- this one included -- feel betrayed."

Do People Even Care? This is Frustrating.

Most people just don't care that James Frey wrote lies and then published them as truth.

Most people just think "well, it's helping people right?"
It's fiction, folks. FICTION. Doubleday refused to publish it as a novel (original submission form) and told Frey to "make it true." His failure to do so only reflects his lack of ethics, and no one else's. (No matter what Oprah says.)

New York Times
QUOTE: James Frey's admission last week that he made up details of his life in his best-selling book "A Million Little Pieces" - after the Smoking Gun Web site stated that he "wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his purported criminal career, jail terms and status as an outlaw 'wanted in three states' " - created a furor about the decision by the book's publishers, Doubleday, to sell the volume as a memoir instead of a novel."

Another Memoir Writer Unleashes Her Wrath At Frey

And the fallout over James Frey continues this week.
Heather King, who wrote her own memoir, Parched, talks about truth in memoir writing and what in heck Frey thinks he accomplished (besides the millions of dollars in book royalties) from writing his memoir.

Well worth a read, even if you don't care a snit about James Frey or his book, A Million Little Pieces.

Publisher's Weekly by Heather King, author of Parched. Excellent piece.
QUOTE: I first read about James Frey's A Million Little Pieces in a New Yorker review. I was working on my own memoir, Parched (Chamberlain Bros.), at the time, so I scanned the piece with interest. Frey and I had a couple of things in common: we'd both had major substance abuse problems; we'd both been to Hazelden (him for six weeks, circa 1992; me for four weeks, six years earlier). But there the similarities seemed to end. It wasn't so much that we were of different genders, that I was a teensy bit older than him, that we'd chosen different approaches to staying sober. No, it was that Frey was angry. The whole tenor of the review was that Frey was angry. The testosterone-fueled rage! The studly ire! In light of my own 20 years as a falling-down blackout drunk, it struck me as an odd stance. The people who really had cause to be angry, it seemed to me, were the ones I'd trampled, cheated on, stolen from and lied to on my way to the nearest bar.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

What's the Weather Like in San Francisco?

I don't know!

I haven't been outside since January 12 since I ate very hot Indian food with friends. I'm at Dr. Harlan Kilstein's Six-Figure Copywriting Seminar. What a mind-blowing experience! Ever been in a hotel suite with 40 people and their laptops all working online at the same time? It's pretty cool. As Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing."

But, as they say, good things come in threes.

First off, what a banner week for our Novel Support Team (NST) at Freelance Success. Our star, Allison Winn Scotch, sold her novel to William Morrow (HarperCollins) at auction (publishers were fighting over this book!) and I have never been so happy in my life. I'm proud to have been part of the process as an editor and writing buddy extraordinaire. Allison is a magnificent writer. Watch for her novel, The Department of Lost and Found, in hardcover in spring 2007! As my husband keeps saying, "Are you done with your novel yet?" Ha! Stay tuned to this blog for my updates. I'll explain more about my novel this coming week.

My best friend, Jenny, landed a great job as a marketing director after six years and three kids (a set of twins!) and will soon be rocking central Ohio with her expertise and marketing prowess. You made that look so easy, Jen! What an inspiration to mothers everywhere!

And finally, I have seen Internet phase 3.0. Wow. Content IS still king. I miss Steve Brill's incredible print magazine right now (Brill's Content). He really would enjoy this tremendous flutter--Google AdSense, Google AdWords, and virtual book tours--over content as we begin 2006. The future is now!

I've learned a ton and have to much more to absorb in the next twelve months. We'll be back to San Francisco in January 2007 and I, for one, cannot wait to see what will happen!