On Not Going to See “I Am Number Four”: A Review

I am not going to see I Am Number Four.

I am not going to provide any link here to I Am Number Four, neither to the book or to the movie.

I am going to let you know about how James Frey has created a word-farm, attracting writers with his charm and fame and with promises of fame for themselves.

I am going to suggest that a writer who is famous and has capital with the publishing industry will find it easy to seduce younger, less experienced writers.

I am going to say that, having been through both an MFA and a Ph.D. program in creative writing, writers in such programs emerge woefully underfunded with information about the publishing world at large.

I am going to point out that Full Fathom Five is a great name for a company and that is the only compliment I will give Frey.

I am going to link to this article from The Guardian that details some of the current controversy.

I am going to point out that controversy generally implies that there is some debate, though about this it seems there is not much debate.

I am going to link to the contract that James Frey has all of his word-farm writers sign, a document that gives the author $250 for a novel-length work and virtually no rights beyond that point.

I am going to mention that there is a difference between selling a novel you’ve written on your own (and are paid an advance based on how the publishing company thinks the book will do AND a royalty) and writing a novel for-hire (where you are paid a flat-fee of, I’m guessing here, at least $5000).

I am going to underline that Frey is offering neither of these options.

I am going to admit that when Megan and I did our first bombing run on the Young Adult section of the bookstore, we were tempted by I Am Number Four and considered it a second-tier buy.

I am going to confess that Full Fathom Five has had success with both the book as a book (as of this moment it sits at #316 on the Amazon scale) and in convincing Hollywood that the book would be a great book-movie.

I am going to take a stand and say that regardless of how good the product – assuming that one or both of said products are good – I am not going to read or watch it because of the methods in which it was produced.

I am going to argue against those who say I am hurting those poor authors who have already signed up with James Frey by claiming that it would be hard to hurt them any more than they already have been.

I am going to let you know that I’m not thinking very straight about this whole situation because it makes me very angry but that’s okay as I am going now.

I am going.

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