A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Monday, January 23, 2006

Frying Frey (tastes good with smoked Snark and baked Editor)

And the Wannabe of the Year Award goes to…

James Frey, Oprah, and Nan Talese

I wasn’t going to join the fray on Frey, mainly because every literary pundit has weighed in on this little scandal, which takes the fun right out of it. However, someone e-mailed me and wanted to know my take on what happened, A Million Little Pieces-wise. What I really want to say in response is that apparently this writer has not read my prior posts. Hasn’t Sammy ranted about this enough in the past?

James Frey is a great example of the wannabe that I’ve tried to take to task in many of my posts. A wannabe will do anything to be somebody, and Frey is no different. His type will lie, cheat and do just about anything to get published in typical wannabe fashion. Then, when caught, the wannabe will blame everyone except himself for his misfortune. At any time this guy could have said during an interview, "Hey, I want to make it clear that I may not remember everything clearly" or "This is actually loosely based on my life" and no one would have given a shit. But he didn't.

Writers worry so goddamn much about scams, yet they fail to see the scam perpetuated by writers who will say anything to get their work published. The scam is really on the reader, and it’s such a shame. Memoir? Sure, I guess you could call my book a memoir. Maybe. I named the character after myself, so does that count?

And Oprah is a wannabe, too. She wants to be a great literary consort…a patroness of the written word…a contessa of books. She isn’t. She’s a chick who likes beach reads and melodramatic horseshit. Sorry, O, but facts are facts. You’re a gal like 70,000,000 other gals who like women’s fiction and girly reads. The difference is that they don’t call Larry King and talk about the emotional resonance of a book that has only one emotion—anger—and a whole lot of defiance (and some bullshit thrown in for good measure). There’s a lesson to be learned here, o mighty TV persona. Mainly, that lesson is that you are a talk show host—an entertainer, not an art critic. I won’t host a talk show if you will shut your fucking yap about books. Deal?

What I mostly want to say about this, however, is that I don’t understand who the 1.5 million supposed readers who plopped down good money for this liteary POS are. I read a few pages and it was enough to know that I probably rejected it. This guy writes in lumps, never met a punctuation mark that he liked and doesn’t know how to capitalize…anything. Who the fuck does he think he is, ee cummings? eeeeeeeee!

I won't even mention the fact that it is just like 30,000 other "memoirs"
about addiction, puking, snot, gagging, blood, disappointed parents, and lost teeth on the shelves. What the hell are you people thinking? Or not.

Nan Telese must have left her glasses at home the day she read this. Surely she is not advocating that budding authors copy this jerk-off’s style, is she? Normally when an author breaks the rules, he should know what the rules were to begin with, shouldn’t he? Apparently not. NOTE TO WANNABES: Don’t try JF’s bullshit at home. The scary part of this is that maybe Nanner Nanner Boo-Boo really, really thought it was good, or worse, she really does think it is a memoir. Maybe she had on her glasses after all and went running through her office screeching, "You've got to read this! It's wonderful!" Wait a minute, I am enjoying that picture in my mind just a little too much.

Need I say more to those of you who seek publication? This is what you face.

True masters of the art know the rules, have fucked with the rules, and then can creatively and brazenly ignore the fucking rules. Got it? Do you u-n-d-e-r-s-t-a-n-d?

All I can say is, yes, this is the depths to which American publishing has sunk. It’s all about greed and money, folks. Fuck literature. It’s all about entertainment, you know. No matter what people say about me, I would have never taken this schizophrenic hodgepodge of gobbledygook on, and I’m a literary whore. But kind of a Mary Magdelene kind of whore, not like the Julia Roberts dorky Pretty Woman kind of whore who no one really believes got anything in the end except Richard Gere's big one, VD, and lots of ticket sales. There’s a difference, goddamn it!

And if you don’t know what I mean, you’re a fucking wannabe!


  • At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    More, more, more.

    That's what good writers leave readers wanting, and you have succeeded with this reader.

    Whenever I hear someone say "O' shit!" I will always think of all the crapola that O-bnoxious TV host peddles via her book club.

    Thank you again and again.


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