Dorothy Must Die and Full Fathom Five

DiscussionSo, I’m really behind on this whole scandal. I hadn’t even read Dorothy Must Die when this came to light and I wasn’t really a member of the book blogging community or watch booktubers to really know what was going on with this. But as I learned about this yesterday, I felt like I really needed to address it, especially since I gave Dorothy Must Die and it’s prequel novellas such good reviews.

First, I want to say that I stand by my reviews and love for the world of DMD. I do want to read the rest of the series because I honestly fell in love with the story, and I don’t want to feel like it’s incomplete. Some of you may disagree with my decision and that’s your right. If I had heard about all of this sooner, I wouldn’t have begun the series in the first place. But I started and fell in love so now I have to see it till the end.

The decision above wasn’t easy to make when I learned that Dorothy Must Die is a Full Fathom Five book. For those of you who don’t know, Full Fathom Five is a book packaging company owned by James Frey. James Frey is the author of A Million Little Pieces, a book he sold as a memoir and was later discovered that most of it was fabricated and/or exaggerated. Now, book packaging companies are companies meant to nurture the talent of unknown writers by promoting their books with merchandise and trailers and such. They are not inherently bad things. Lauren Oliver has a book packaging company called Paper Lantern Lit, and though I’m not entirely familiar with it, it seems like her packaging company fits the true definition of a book packaging company.

As you might have gathered, Full Fathom Five is not like Paper Lantern Lit. Full Fathom Five, if the research and articles are to be believed, exploits authors. James Frey gets a major cut of the proceeds of a successful book, authors only get a $250 advance for writing the book, and the contract states that if an author leaves the company, Full Fathom Five owns the rights to the work, meaning the author cannot continue to write their own story if they choose to leave. FFF must have a very good legal team if they can play with copyright like that. The company didn’t even have a website to proudly display which books are theirs until sometime in the past year when everyone called their lack of a website into question. Many take that as a sign of shadiness. I choose to be skeptical but not assume that shady business is going on. I’m a journalism major after all. I follow facts and not speculation.

I really hate what Full Fathom Five and James Frey are doing. Authors should not be taken advantage of, especially new authors with a lot of talent, potential, and good ideas. It makes me so angry and sad that this is happening. James Frey’s story should have ended when Oprah chewed him up and spit him out after his deceit came to light. Unfortunately, it has not. I will be taking A Million Little Pieces off my TBR. I don’t want to read his story. I will not be reading any other Full Fathom Five books. I don’t want to support this company. Like I said, I want to continue the DMD series, but I do so with reluctance. The minute that the story turns me off, I will stop. I have many other books to read.

Like I said, I know I’m very late to the party when it comes to addressing this, but I had no idea. Below, you’ll find a few articles and a video that explain the whole situation very well, an article that explains what book packaging companies are, and a list on Goodreads that lists what books are Full Fathom Five books.

Snuggly Oranges – Full Fathom Five & Why I Boycott Their Books

Bibliodaze – Say No To James Frey: Why I’m Boycotting Full Fathom Five

C2 Education – Read This Not That: Full Fathom Five

New York Magazine – Inside Full Fathom Five, James Frey’s Fiction Factory

Stacked – On Book Packagers and Literary Development Companies

Goodreads Listopia – Full Fathom Five