Losing sight of literature: the commodity of book packaging
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In every young writer's heart there is a dream, a dream that one day all of their hard work will lead to a successful, published novel. And not just any novel, but the next Great American novel that will be taught in classes for decades to come. Unfortunately, much of the publishing industry has another goal in mind when weeding through submissions and story ideas: making money and duplicating the success of Harry Potter or Twilight. In this paper, I plan to examine the workings of companies like Alloy Entertainment and James Frey's Full Fathom Five Factory, each of which provide outlines and hire writers to put together novels for the Young Adult (YA hereafter) genre. By using a “novel by committee” format, these companies are weakening the publishing industry and making it that much more difficult for an up and coming writer to get their original work seen, much less published. They are doing away with what is considered to be the author and replacing it with brand names and product placement, changing the ideals of what it is to be a writer. In this essay, I will question whether or not these precooked ideas can still be considered art with any literary value, or if they're simply commodities to companies consumed with the desire for money rather than the desire to share good books.