Publishing fraud. Warning: Rant.
by, February 9th, 2010 at 07:39 PM (398 Views)
We have to go no futher than the three examples below to understand how single-minded and obscene the publishing industry can get, when all it has in its sights is gimmickry, fraud, hype and greed. These cases represent but a small fraction of what is taking place in the industry today. But It's irrefutable evidence that where there is no talent or celebrity status, you have only to create it, label it, ship it and cram it down the (unsuspecting) gullible throat of the populace. Though these incidents took place some time ago, they will forever remain fresh and seared upon my mind as if by a branding iron. I will never get over the negative impact they have had upon my own career.
Sweet, marketable, young, beautiful and born out of a foreign heritage, Kaavya Viswanthan burst on the scene as a teen queen of chic lit, with How Opal Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life. Alloy Entertainment figured they could package this girl (I said girl--not book), and sell her to Little Brown for a hefty $500,000 advance. The advance was all BS by the way--it was much smaller. Film rights went instantly to Dreamworks (those farking fools), who bought the film rights for a book that wasn't even out yet. The conclusion found was that the book was a fraud, plagerized to the hilt, almost line by line in dozens of passages, including the plot and theme. I resent the fact that an 18-year-old girl nearly got millions for a book (or two) that was her VERY FIRST attempt at writing genre fiction. She paid no dues, suffered no rejections, and certainly had not honed her craft to deserve such accolades.
James Frey's A Million Little Pieces was also found to be hype, lies and exageration. He fooled the NYTs bestseller list for 44 weeks, and Oprah Winfrey, when she made it a # 1 book club selection. Proof once again that sensationalism sells--the more outrageous, the better. Sorry. It just ended up too good to be true for its own damn good. They canceled production and pulled it from the racks. Strangely enough, Frey has gone on to sign more contracts with different publishers and has landed on the bestseller list once again. I'll be damned. If you lie and cause great controversy--you can obtain one hell of a writing vocation and end up an A-list celebrity. That's how it's done.
Christopher Paolini's Eragon is another such hunk of hack squat--totally derived, unoriginal, borrowed, and pitfully boring. They sold the "kid" Christopher, hoping that America would embrace this child prodigy and, unfortunately, the entire world took the bait. Recent estimates are that the book has sold about 8 million copies. This kid has nothing on Terry Brooks, or for that matter, any one of the very capable epic fantasy writers in my Absolutewrite writer's group.
I'm nearly at the point where I don't trust BIG publishing anymore. I think their marketing departments (the bean-counters) ought to relinquish custody of talent and purchasing power right back to where it used to be--with the editors.
Rant over...for now.