I've repositioned things. I've labelled things three or four different ways. I've talked about the same project in VERY different ways with editors, and that's true of almost every memoir I have on my list.
Agents want to sell. Without reenacting Glengarry GlenRoss for y'all this afternoon, let's just say, I want to sell books more than I want to tell authors I can't sell their books.
I can absolutely understand how having passed on a novel in a casual conversation, an editor could buy "memoir" on a second pitch.
And I truly understand how an author, caught up in wanting a work to sell, rewrites to make everything "true". I have authors tell me they'll do that every day of the week and twice on Sunday. They put it in their query letters, and they put it in their cover letters.
It's easy to stand here on the sidelines and say I'd never condone that, but honest to dog, I don't know that I already haven't. By encouraging repositioning, redrafting, honing, and editing, have I encouraged a memoirist across the line?
Man oh man, I hope I find out before The Smoking Gun comes calling.
Source: Publisher's Lunch
Talese Contradicts Frey's Account of Sale
Nan Talese talks to the Observer about the publication of James Frey's A MILLION LITTLE PIECES and her essential truth is different than the author's. She tells the Observer she "almost collapsed"after hearing Frey tell Larry King, "When Nan Talese purchased the book, I'm not sure if they knew what they were going to publish it as. We talked about what to publish it as. And they thought the best thing to do was publish it as a memoir."
Her statement: "When the manuscript of A Million Little Pieces was received by us at Doubleday, it was received as nonfiction, as a memoir. Throughout the whole process of publication, it had always been a memoir, and for the first year and a half it was on sale, it was always a memoir with no disputation. It was never once discussed as fiction by me or anyone in my office."