So, in Handbook For Mortals news, brace yourselves, because there is a lot. If you need a break, I encourage you to visit author Claribel Ortega’s Tumblr, where she’s writing an excellent Handbook For Mortals fanfic.
So, remember when Lani Sarem insisted that no one gamed the system, that her books weren’t bulk-ordered, that she played by the rules and was viciously robbed of her legitimate success by jealous haters? She hasn’t exactly changed her tune, but she’s definitely singing her sad song of lies in a different key. In an op-ed for Billboard.com, she writes:
If I had purchased the books directly from my distributor, Itasca Books, they would not count as sales for purposes of the New York Times list. If they were purchased from booksellers — brick and mortar or online — they would count. While I didn’t limit my purchases to only those booksellers involved in the Times list, I did purchase books in bulk from booksellers to resell them later at events.
But it’s not a scam, she argues. It’s publishing’s antiquated model that constrains artists that’s at fault for her con game:
What I have chosen to do is to build a community of interrelated fans at these 3D, real-time events. This is part of what I believe is an innovative strategy — one that is aimed at building an entire new franchise in the Hunger Games and Game of Thrones mold, yet without having to give up creative control and a huge cut of the revenue to some synergistic studio giant a la Disney or Fox.
What Sarem is describing here is indie publishing and indie film. It isn’t new or innovative to bring your book to a convention. Self-pub authors do it all the time. And it isn’t new or innovative to make a movie without a studio.
Sarem concludes by saying that she hopes the New York Times will return her book to its rightful #1 slot on their list, albeit with their bulk-sales indicator. But perhaps the most delusional part of her piece is that despite the laughably bad writing, lack of any major star attached to the project, and the total bungling of her brilliant con, Sarem still appears to believe that she’ll be starring in a major film franchise:
That is why we published the book with the film rights already in place, set to produce the first of up to five “Handbook for Mortals” films that will star, in the lead role, yours truly, alongside my producer and co-star, Thomas Ian Nicholas. If all goes well.
However, one amazing thing has come to light in the wake of allegations that Sarem wrote the infamous troll fic My Immortal. It has brought the actual author of My Immortal out of the shadows, and she has a memoir in the works. Because the story is too fascinating to be believed, I won’t say too much here, except that rarely has an internet mystery had such a satisfying and heart-wrenching conclusion.
As Sarem continues to name-drop her connection to various celebrities, especially her former ties to the band Blues Traveler (who fired her), let’s all sing a beautiful ode in her honor, to the tune of the band’s hit, “The Hook”:
It doesn’t matter what you sell
So long as you sell at conventions
It’s such a freakin’ unique way
To make the headlines through deception
And it’s not fair that you lost face
To all those nasty trolls and haters’ campaign
The New York Times should apologize
You’ll take that asterisk and tout it without shame
‘Cause the book brings you fame
From a spot you had to buy
The book brings you fame
You got caught because you lied
The YA world is gonna miss
The stellar prose you tried to bring them
Who wouldn’t want to read another teen witch
Who’s old enough to rent a car
You could have just written a screenplay
And shopped it around to your famous friends
When your biggest names are ’90s stars
Maybe a scam was the way to go
‘Cause the film won’t get made
With the guy from American Pie
The film won’t get made
Here’s a camera you can buy
Con and win, con and win, con and win
That’s the position that you are in
If they find out all the ways you sinned
There’s always blame to pin on the community
At least you get publicity
“A lot of folks are jealous of me”
You’ll just project your problems on the trolls
Go ahead and take somebody’s art all for yourself
Stage pictures of your books up on some shelves
Now change your name and hide
From the critics who deride and all the deceptions that you tried. Your career is fried,
it died, you killed it with your lies
And all the claims that we won’t buy
about the bullies at the New York Times
You said fuck all the rules
they don’t apply to Lani
That shit might fly in music
It’s much harder to sleaze your way into YA
You’re pissed that none of us wanna kiss your ass,
And we don’t want to read you
Act innocent and victimized
To try to make a buck
With names to drop, like Mall Cop
You’re delusional please stop because we’re
Not buying your crap
It’s embarrassing to watch
Please don’t bother to try
My apologies to John Popper for mangling his rhyme scheme.
Now, on to the recap!