A Remake Chronicles Extra by Adam-Troy Castro
Okay, folks, so here’s a case of my common sense and my professional knowledge trumping the emotional reaction the local media would like me to have.
The warmhearted news story teased by the local TV report involved “the youngest professional author in the United States.”
After the commercial, we are gushingly introduced to a nine-year-old girl who likes writing stories more than anything. She h…as published several books of short stories available in stores in South Florida. She certainly does seem to have the creative bug. She says she would rather write than do anything else with her life. I know the feeling.
We are then provided a few sound bites from her supportive Dad, who says that his daughter was always into writing and that when he saw she was getting scary good, he wrapped up one of her manuscripts and sent it to a publisher. The rest is history.
The little girl reads from one of her story books, a single line – it is impossible to imagine local TV sitting still for more – that with that single line establishes that something is wrong with this picture. It’s about a little boy who is “the most unique” little boy the narrator has ever met.
Ouch. But okay. She’s nine. Maybe she’ll get better. We move on.
The report concludes with a close-up of one of her books. It’s from Publishamerica.
Folks, I really don’t want to get too cruel about this. It’s absolutely terrific that this little girl has the creative urge and that her father encourages it. It is even better that he has done the exhaustive legwork and gotten her opuses into a handful of local stores. You won’t find me being cynical about any of that. More power to them. I’ll buy that over enrolling the kid in beauty pageants. It’s cheaper, for one thing.
But it doesn’t take very much knowledge to find the worm in this apple, and shatter the feel-good illusion. I happen to know that Publishamerica pays a token one dollar advance. It more than makes up that money by selling copies of the book printed on demand to any friends or relatives who want any. No doubt this book is a best-seller among grandparents and indulgent uncles. Publishamerica, who will **take anybody**, counts on that.
This girl has done the equivalent of sing “Happy Birthday” in an arcade karaoke booth which spits out a burned CD. Which is fine. But if she’d done that, she would not have local TV news representing her as a local singing sensation. Instead, she wrote some books, is indulged in this by relatives willing to buy copies, and is represented by local TV news as being a professional author and a publishing sensation. To anybody who knows anything about publishing, the story is transparently an illusion…but this was no doubt NOT perceived by the vast majority of people who watched the report.
She is not a “professional writer.” The report is fiction.