Before I get to the meat of my question to everyone, I just want to put out a flat disclaimer that this is not meant to be an author bashing thread so please refrain from using author names or book titles unless the event in question was part of public discourse in the news.My question to you is, can the author's behavior or the actions they take change the way you see their books? More specifically, will an event (like on twitter, facebook, or in the media) alter your interest in reading their books?
See, I'm having a serious moral dilemma and some internal conflict. A couple of weeks ago the blogosphere was all atwitter about the James Frey/Full Fathom Five book factory and questionable predatory tactics the author was using to ensnare and screw young hopeful writers. If you haven't heard about this, you can read the article that came out in New York magazine here: http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/69474/
and an awesome set of follow up posts by author John Scalzi here: http://whatever.scalzi.com/?s=james+frey
but in a very brief nutshell, Frey was recruiting writers from MFA programs to come write for him. The student would write him a book and be paid $250 up front and promised 40% of future earnings. Regardless of the fact $250 is a paltry sum for a full novel, it was the contract everyone had problems with. First of all, the students could not take credit for having written the book. Ever. They would not own the rights to the book and it could be altered and published under anyone's name Frey chose. The promised 40% was for an undisclosed amount of money after undisclosed expenses were taken out and the contract specifically stated there would be no audits allowed of the finances of the the book's earnings. There would be no negotiation. (Here is the contract if you're interested http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/11/read_the_brutal_contract_from.html
And this isn't even about how I feel about THAT whole thing (which I could write scores about.) My problem stems from a recently released YA book called "I Am Number Four" by Pittacus Lore. It is a book published by Full Fathom Five in a collaboration between Frey and a writer named Jobie Hughes. Apparently after things became messy between the two writers and due to the severe control the contract had on him, Hughes walked away from Full Fathom Five and will not be writing any more of the books in the series. There is also a movie coming out and the movie looks phenomenal. And so does the book. In fact, the book is in my office right now, sitting on my book shelf, staring at me with its bright orange and red cover and I really, really
want to read it. Also, the thought of reading it or seeing the movie makes me feel kind of sick about supporting this whole enterprise and not being able to really support the author, Jobie Hughes.
I can't seem to figure out what I should do. I bought the book before I knew any of this and now that I know I can't seem to bring myself to divorce the book from its slimy background.
So what would you do? What should I do? How have you handled experiences like this? What do you think?
I am torn. What do I do?