Sunday, January 22, 2006

Selling lies as truth

Why do publishers want writers to tell lies in a non-fiction genre?
Well, I have written a book. It is a book based on my experiences in Operations for a bush commuter in Fairbanks, AK. It is a book with a lot of flying, some dying, and a lot of thinking about just how much you should be willing to risk for your job. ... I have been trying to get an agent or editor interested, and pretty much everyone thinks it's a great idea for a book, that the flying is amazing and on and on. But - then - they think that it should be nonfiction. They have asked me to change the names of the pilots (they are all fictionalized composites already) and call the whole thing nonfiction. They want it to be a memoir and if I will do that then they will talk to me.

Is that what the reading public really wants these days? Do they want to hear about our "true" personal stories, about what happened to us? Even if it really didn't happen? Perhaps so.

I blame Oprah. When she puts her stamp of approval on something, that defines it as quality in the eyes of her adorers. Even if the thing is crap. The problem is, she has so many adorers that her stamp actually has an effect.

UPDATE: Oprah changes her mind and berates the liar she propped up.

NEW YORK - In a stunning switch from dismissive to disgusted, Oprah Winfrey took on one of her chosen authors, James Frey, accusing him on live television of lying about “A Million Little Pieces” and letting down the many fans of his memoir of addiction and recovery.

“I feel duped,” she said Thursday on her syndicated talk show. “But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers.”

She should have said that from the start of the mess instead of initially defending him.

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