Multi-tasking, multi-hyphenate actor- director-writer-artist-curator-producer-hypnotist James Franco has sold his first novel, to Amazon. The New York Observer got the scoop of the sale, but I’ll tell you a little bit more. “Actors Anonymous” is said to be in the style of late German novelist, W.E. Sebald, who mixed memoir with fiction and punctuated with black and white photographs. Ed Park, who’s a happening novelist, is editing the book at Amazon. (His novel, “Personal Days,” was a cult favorite last year from Random House.)
If you haven’t followed this story so far, Amazon’s actual physical books are distributed by Houghton Mifflin. But there’s a hitch: Barnes & Noble has threatened not to stock Amazon books or include them for Kindle. (This is so ridiculous, it’s hard to discuss. This is the same Barnes & Noble that killed off small bookstores 30 years ago in favor of their “supermarkets.” )
Anyway, Franco’s collection of short stories, called “Palo Alto,” was published a year and a half ago by Nan Graham at Scribner’s. (Note to Gawker: “Palo Alto” was pretty damn good.) But Franco made friends with Park while doing some of his graduate work at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. “Ed is really into making the book a big deal,” agent Richard Abate, who made the deal at Franco’s behest. Franco, studying at Warren Wilson, Yale, and the Rhode Island School of Design, has no publication date in mind yet.