“Psst…wanna make me famous?”

So answer me this -would you write a book only to give away virtually all your rights, including your copyright, use of your name, and ability to sign other contracts for fear of being “in conflict,”  control over your own publicity for a mere $250? And more importantly, would you be willing to incur a $50,000 penalty if you  admit to working with this someone who offered you this book deal?


Well then you’d be saying no to James Frey’s latest dalliance with gasbaggery. Yes, that James Frey is trekking around the country stumping his self-aggrandizement by asking students in MFA programs if they’d like to make him famous. I guess being infamous has gotten tedious, and he says achingly disturbing comments like, “I should have never fucking apologized to Oprah,” while wandering around the classrooms in his stocking feet.

In return for a chance at immortality,  students/authors allow Frey to review rip them off by having them sign contracts that force them to give up their rights for a pittance. What hurts the heart is that he’s getting takers; so desperate are they to be published.

There are a lot of eloquent blog posts that detail Frey’s horrible contract and his ability to be little more than spittle from a diseased aardvark. But one thing I hope you take away from this is that publishing deals have to be right for everyone. Allowing someone to steal your work and take away all your rights and control isn’t an opportunity – it’s abject insanity.

You can’t use this as a publishing credit because, hello, does anyone believe that Frey will give anyone their due by using the author’s real name? Not in this lifetime. He wants all the glory for himself, which is ironic considering that he’s known for being a liar and costing people millions in lawsuits.

Don’t you think it’s right to honor your hard work, your imagination, your talent by putting your story into the hands of those who will pay YOU, distribute YOU, market and promote YOU? This isn’t a stepping stone, it’s a brick wall. And it has only one direction – straight into a brick wall. You write not for the purpose of making someone else rich off your hard work. You deserve full credit and all the compensatory benefits of having belched out a great book. Isn’t the world tired of this weasel yet? The naivete scares the ever-livin’ stuffing outta me.

Note to self: get thee to the MFA programs and hand out copies of The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box because these folks need to learn the publishing business.


5 Responses to “Psst…wanna make me famous?”

  1. Oh my. I think Frey needs a good talkin’ to from that straight-shootin’ beagle you know. 🙂

  2. The beagle is too disgusted to get within a mile of that man.

  3. Sally Zigmond says:

    I’ve read about this and am speechless with rage at anyone who tramples on others’ dreams. I had the misfortune of being sent one of his novels to read and thought it the worst piece of tripe between two pieces of cardboard I’ve ever tried to read. And yet it received glowing reviews from some of Britain’s top quality newspapers.

  4. Sally, that’s what gets my goat; the way the reviewers and big writers fawn over this man is insulting to every serious writer. He was willing to lie, cheat, steal to get a published book. Then when people had to shell out millions in the ensuing lawsuits, he stole away to France. When he returned, he wasn’t at all repentant – as can be seen with his latest venture of ripping off writers. Good grief, do nice guys finish last after all?

  5. Lawrence Yeunes says:

    maybe he can help a 16 year old celebrity write his memoirs

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