Unbelievably, yet another author reality show has hung out an online shingle.
"A New Reality Show for Authors is Under Way!" announces American Book Factory. Taking inspiration from four titles--Coy Masters and The Earth Daughters of Zeus, Lethal Dose, Naseema's Secret, and A Tick on Shanana's Wedding Day! (a deer tick? Tick tock? Ticked off?)--four entire books will be co-written by teams of authors "competing for what could turn into a major book deal." Competitors must be "prepared to leave work, home, family...basically your life, for at least two months. Authors will have to reside at the American Book Factory studios in order to work together. Each author chosen for Season One will be paid a minimum of $10,000 for their input into the book."
Tempted by that $10,000, or perhaps the Big Brother scenario? Just dream up a one-page synopsis for any of the titles, paste it into the online entry form, and send it off into cyberspace for the chance to become a competitor. Unfortunately, if you'd like to know more before taking the plunge--who's judging, what the procedures and rules are, whether there are sponsors, whose brainchild this is--you're out of luck, because that information does not appear on American Book Factory's website. In fact, apart from the titles, there are no specifics at all.
Even Google is stumped. A search on the show's name turns up nothing but a cached version of the website that's slightly different from the current version. Domain registration information reveals that the site is registered to Fayeshawn Peavy of Dothan, AL. Of Ms. Peavy, all that can be discovered is that at one point she was looking for donations to help her write a book, and that she appears to sell vitamins on the Internet.
All in all, color me skeptical about the likelihood of seeing this latest author reality show on TV any time soon. In fact, it occurs to me that something like this might be a good way to get other people to give you book ideas.
Am I alone in being fascinated (and boggled) by the way this author reality show thing keeps popping up? Maybe so. At any rate, here's a rundown on the other author reality shows Writer Beware has learned about:
In the spring of 2005, the Book Millionaire author reality show sent out a call for competitors, inviting writers to submit video auditions. By March 2006, fifty finalist videos had been chosen, which, according to the show's guidelines, were to be reduced by viewer voting to ten or twelve (the videos are still archived online). Since then...silence. Clearly, this reality show is a no-show. (Writer Beware's take on Book Millionaire.)
Announced in the press in February 2007: the impending launch of a UK author reality show called "Bestsellers," hosted by industry insider Tony Cowell. According to the latest info I can find, the show, which was originally slated to air this summer, has been pushed back. No definite air date has been set. (Writer Beware's take on Bestsellers.)
The Ultimate Author issued a casting call for June 16th, 2007. June 16th has come and gone, and the show's website dubs the casting call "a big success"--but according to the website's Casting Call page, the date has been pushed back, or else a new casting call has been scheduled, for November 2007. Hmmm. Like Book Millionaire, which originally aspired to network TV, The Ultimate Author appears to have resigned itself to the Internet; it now describes the show as "the first reality show specifically programmed for online viewing."(Writer Beware's take on The Ultimate Author.)