James Frey's Writing Factory

Polemic author James Frey has built a controversial writing factory, applying the model of an art studio along the lines of those run by Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons to the book world.

James Frey, the bad boy of American letters who was given a very public dressing-down by Oprah Winfrey over his first book—in which he passed off fiction as memoir—is back in the headlines over his latest venture, a collective writing project that some have accused of being brutal and Dickensian. ... The contentious elements include: an upfront payment of just $250 to the writer for an entire book, which is pitiful unless the book is sold, at which point they get 30%-40% of any royalties obtained; the fact that Frey retains all final creative control and the copyright of the work in his company, with total power to decide what happens to the book; and a system of fines if the writer breaks the terms of the contract.