On Friday the New York Times announced that James Frey was co-authoring a six-book YA series about alien teens with an unnamed collaborator. The film rights have already sold, with Michael Bay signed on to produce. Doesn’t this sound like something you’d read on McSweeney’s? But it’s true. And here’s what we find confusing: Frey’s agent was shopping the book around anonymously.
As controversial as his past might be (we’re talking more about the lying in his memoir than the drugs/rehab), why would Frey try to sell an idea without his named attached to it? Is he afraid Midwestern moms will refuse to let their daughters by his work?
After the surprising success of Bright Shiny Morning (yes, it only sold 71,000 copies in hardcover and 10,000 in paperback, but this is a man who crossed Oprah), is he afraid readers will take him less seriously as a literary writer if he has a side gig going as a Stephanie Meyer wannabe?
Or maybe it was just a smart way to drum up more publicity so a publisher places a bid on the manuscript? Sure beats interning at Gawker.