Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Some Serious Detective Work

By now everyone who cares knows that Kaavya Viswanathan has apologized for plagiarizing two of Megan McCafferty's books. Some of us are still wondering, though, what part 7th Street Productions/Alloy Entertainment had in all this.

To get right to the point, I don't know. But I have managed to scrape up some info on this "book packager."

galley cat directed its readers to a really fascinating AP article from last July on Alloy Entertainment. Among the more interesting points:

"It[Alloy] has a staff in New York of about 10 editors who diligently research what's hot in the teen world - what girls are wearing, the music they like, the TV shows they Tivo."

"Staff members are in charge of everything about the book, from creating ideas to finding writers for the books, crafting proposals for publishers and creating the sleek cover art. The company then sells the book, but keeps all the other rights. As many as 50 are published each year and are well distributed among the major publishing houses."

"Lisi Harrison, author of "The Clique" series, was working at MTV when she was approached by Alloy to create books about wealthy, junior-high queen bees."

"Alloy partners with most of the major publishing houses."

Alloy also promotes its books through other businesses it owns, such as a clothing line.

How much say did Alloy have in the writing of Kaavya Viswanathan's book? Her agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, said in a New York Times article, "she put Ms. Viswanathan in touch with a book packaging company, 17th Street Productions (now Alloy Entertainment), but that the plot and writing of "Opal" were "1,000 percent hers.""

And, yet, the same article says Alloy "holds the copyright to "Opal" with Ms. Viswanathan."


Again, I don't know what happened. But if I were Nancy Drew, who was also the product of a book packager, I'd be wonderin'. At the very least, if they were as involved with this book as they are with their others, how could they miss this much copied material?

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