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Are You Prepared to Prove Your Life?

Consider this. After the recent James Frey controversy over his book, “A Few Million Pieces”, where people assumed, and he didn’t discourage their assumption, that his book was true and auto-biographical, USA Today claims “Writers Watch Out”.

One first-time memoirist says she had to answer a lot of questions about her experiences but doesn’t think the publisher checked them out. Another hired an investigator to be sure she had her facts straight.

In the wake of the James Frey fiasco, the ripple effect on other writers is, if anything, making them more cautious, though not very worried.

Janice Erlbaum, whose memoir of her life as a homeless teen, Girlbomb, has just been published by Villard, says she had “an extensive legal review with the Random House legal department, but I don’t think they followed up.”

“They asked me a lot of questions like, ‘What were the dates that this happened?’ They really wanted to know who was who. I don’t think they did any independent verification, but they certainly did ask me about every person and every detail in the book.”

…Jenny Frost, president of Crown, Brown’s publisher, says Crown didn’t fact-check Brown but says of life after Frey: “I would like to think that we’ve always been intelligent about our authors and good judges of character…”

But, she adds, “we’ll never be quite as innocent as we were before.”

Has this issue of truthfulness in book publishing crossed over to the blogging world? Many people have their blogs turned into books, or write their blog as an online book, so the line between book and blog blurs.

Do you think that you have to “watch out” and be honest with your readers? If you are blogging about your personal life, do you now feel a responsibility to “stick to the truth” with your stories, and be able to prove them? Should an auto-biographical blog be held to the same inquisition for truthfulness as a book? What do you think about this?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen

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