Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Why I'm not going to see or read 'I am Number Four'
I normally embrace new authors, since they can bring us so many great new ideas & books. This however, is one book that I can't stand behind. Why? Not because of the book's content or because it's popular, but because of the story BEHIND the book.
This book was just one of many that was written in James Frey's author sweatshop Full Fathom Five. If you're not familiar with the scandal behind this company, it's time that you informed yourself. The book might have been sold to a different publisher, but unless Jobie Hughes (the person who co-authored with Frey & probably the one who did the lion's share of the work) got Frey to pen a new contract, he's probably stuck under the horribly unfair rules of the FFF contract.
Here's why I'm not going to read or watch this movie unless I can do so without actually paying for it:
1) The author only gets $250 for his hard work as well as 40% of a number of book sales that he can't really prove. This means that he might only get 10-15% because there's probably no way he can really verify it.
2) Frey has made him sign away all rights to the books, the characters, & the plot. This was part of the original contract of FFF, so these authors are signing away their rights on books before they're even sold, which means that if the book becomes popular (like Four has) & gets optioned for a movie or merchandising rights, they get none of that money. Zip. Who gets all of this money? Frey does.
3) They can be replaced at any time. So if the author starts squawking & demanding more of the money that they have earned & Frey doesn't want to give it to them, Frey can replace them at any point in time. The author can do nothing about this.
4) James Frey was under no obligation to even name Jobie Hughes as the author. Luckily it's known that Hughes is the author at this point, but if Frey had wanted to state that he was the sole author or leave the book under a pseudonym, he could have done so under the stipulations of the contract.
There's more, but even if it comes out that Hughes managed to get out of his ludicrous FFF contract, (and this is a FFF book) I still find it really hard to support a book that has anything to do with James Frey, especially since there are so many other authors in his literary sweatshop that ARE held to this sort of contract. James Frey is not someone I want to support with my hard earned dollars.
Luckily it seems that Hughes did manage to get a new contract, although he had to sue James Frey in order to do so. Also, HarperCollins was the first group to publicly acknowledge that Hughes was the true author of the book. (Knew there's a reason I liked HC so much!)