James Frey, the disgraced author of “A Million Little Pieces,” has a hard luck story he doesn’t want to share: He will not write a book about the unraveling of his admittedly tainted million-selling memoir of addiction and recovery.
“I think writing a book about this experience would be trying to capitalize on it in some way and that’s not something I want to do at all,” Frey said in a segment on Oprah Winfrey’s syndicated talk show that was taped, but not immediately aired, after Thursday’s explosive program when Winfrey turned against the author whose book she endorsed last fall.
Frey’s comments were part of “Oprah After the Show,” a conversation featuring Frey, Winfrey and publisher Nan A. Talese to be broadcast Friday night on the Oxygen network, a cable channel Winfrey helped found.
Despite Frey’s on-air humiliation, when Winfrey berated him and the author acknowledged that key parts of the books were invented, “A Million Little Pieces” kept on selling. On Friday, it was in the top 5 on both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.
Meanwhile, publishers and agents agreed that tighter scrutiny was needed after Talese acknowledged what the industry knows well but perhaps not the general public: Memoirs are not fact-checked.
Despite calls from Winfrey and others to tighten standards, many doubt publishers will hire fact checkers.
“Publishing companies run on pretty tight budgets and there’s just not enough time to check every book,” said Viking associate publisher Paul Slovak. “But it is possible that somebody might look at these books with a slightly more alert eye.”