James Frey's Fiction Factory

Oprah famously made James Frey apologize to her; now maybe Oprah should apologize to us, for unleashing Frey on the world. New York Magazine has the latest on the antics of the controversial author of A Million Little Pieces: He’s created a “fiction factory” called Full Fathom Five. So far, he’s signed up 28 writers to terrible contracts, hoping one of them will write the next Twilight. Contracts offer just $250 up front; writers are then told they’ll get between 30 and 40 percent of all proceeds. One veteran publishing lawyer says of the contract, “It’s an agreement that says, ‘You’re going to write for me. I’m going to own it. I may or may not give you credit. If there is more than one book in the series, you are on the hook to write those too, for the exact same terms, but I don’t have to use you. In exchange for this, I’m going to pay you 40 percent of some amount you can’t verify—there’s no audit provision—and after the deduction of a whole bunch of expenses.”