Monday, October 19, 2009

Top Four Ways NOT To Gain Media Attention: #4

Write an autobiography that's not really an autobiography.

Okay, is some cases this will get you published. Probably the most famous fake memoir is James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. And really, if the writing is good and the story is interesting, you'd think it could get published on its own merit, right? Wrong. Breaking into the publishing world is difficult. Trying to make it in this industry myself, I can kind of understand the method behind their madness. If they couldn't sell their stories as fiction, why not try to sell them as non fiction, right? Unethical, yes. I wouldn't do it, but sometimes integrity wavers in the face of desperation.

And it's probably not worth all the trouble when you get caught. I mean, would you want to be reprimanded on national television by Oprah? Me either.

Some fake memoirs have been relabeled as fiction and sold, others are not so lucky.

Take Margaret B. Jones (really Margaret Seltzer) for example. She wrote Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival. This was supposedly the story of a part white and part native American girl, who grew up in South-Central Los Angeles, a foster child in a world of drug dealers and gang members. When it was found out that she was actually a rich white girl, the book was recalled by the publisher.

The Honored Society
, by Michael Gambino was supposedly his story of life as a gangster as Carlo Gambino's illegitimate grandson. Gambino’s real son, Thomas Gambino exposed the book as fraud, and it was withdrawn by the publisher.

I could go on and on, but I won't. You get the idea. Lying about your life in book form is not always a good idea. Attention grabbing? Sure. In a good way? Not usually. James Frey is the exception, not the rule.

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John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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