The big papers and magazines are scrambling to scoop each other on the latest James Frey hullabaloo (remember his book, A Million Little Pieces?). He’s now started a book-packaging company called Full Fathom Five. Full Fathom Five will hire young writers to write young adult fiction. His goal is to publish the next Potter-type series.
According to Mediaite, the authors he hires “get $250 upon signing and another $250 upon completion of a book.” He’s had his first major success. A sci-fi story called I Am Number Four is being made into a Michael Bay/Steven Spielberg DreamWorks movie.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Frey “only develops ideas that have serial book potential, as well as obvious film, TV, merchandising and digital marketability. In business about 18 months, he has 28 writers working on 27 book series.” The WSJ quoted the same figures for payment as Mediaite, but added: “They are promised 30% to 49% of all revenue whether it comes from videogames or publications rights.”
So, whose name went on that book-to-movie, I Am Number Four – Frey’s or the contract author? Neither. Frey decided to assign it a moniker of “Pittacus Lore,” a character in the story. The actual writer, Jobie Hughes, sued for a renegotiation of his contract. The suit has been settled and according to the WSJ, the “author” of I Am Number Four will remain Pittacus Lore.
Frey’s company is a machine, churning out books to movies. Full Fathom Five has three series already on the way. According to the site io9, “The Other World Chronicles, a modern-day King Arthur story that Will Smith's son Jaden is already in line to star in the movie version of.”
What do you think? Would you accept $500 to write a book with the hope that it became a major hit and was made into a movie, even if your name would never go on the book but you may get a cut of the movie deal – or you may not?
Would you do it with the idea that it would give you a chance to collaborate with a proven hit-producer?
3 weeks ago