James Frey's Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland

The Nightworld

When we last heard from James Frey, he was releasing a YA novel with a soundtrack. Now his book packaging company, Full Fathom Five, is launching The Nightworld, a joint mobile video game and e-book.

Mobile game developer Glu Mobile (NSDQ: GLUU) created the Nightworld game, and HarperCollins is publishing the e-book. Both are currently only available through the iTunes store, where the game is free and the e-book is $3.99. HarperCollins will release a print version of the book in spring 2012. The book is written by Full Fathom Five’s “Jack Blaine,” which is almost definitely a pseudonym.

Frey launched Full Fathom Five, which uses a team of work-for-higher writers to produce highly commercial YA novels, in 2009, about three years after his Million Little Pieces fabrication fiasco. The venture has gained notoriety for its low author payments and harsh contracts. Frey tells Crain’s that Full Fathom Five “has signed contracts for 30 titles over the past 14 months,” is “developing two television series, and will open a Los Angeles office in January.” About a third of those 30 deals have been made public, and I’ve asked Full Fathom Five for a full list.

In addition to the new Nightworld e-book, HarperCollins also publishes Full Fathom Five’s “I Am Number Four” series, including the soundtrack-ed Power of Six released this summer. Separately, HarperCollins released another YA book with an accompanying mobile app, Dark Eden, this fall.

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