Sunday, 6 February 2011

L J Smith Fired From Writing Vampire Diaries

Okay, so this is some crazy WTF?! news that I've just got wind of...

L J Smith is the writer of the Vampire Diaries series of books, which have been made into a TV series. Apparently although L J Smith is the author and HarperCollins is the publisher, the rights to the books are owned by Alloy Entertainment - Ms Smith wrote "for hire".

And now Alloy Entertainment are not happy with the developments between Elena and Damon in the series - they want L J Smith to concentrate on a Stefan and Elena endgame. L J Smith has refused to do this and so Alloy Entertainment have fired her from writing the series and will use a ghost writer to continue the series in the vision they wish to see.

Now... on the one hand L J Smith should have read the contract, I guess, to ensure that she actually owned the rights to her own novels. But I don't know the ins and outs of that particular matter - I've no legal background, I haven't read the contract and I don't know if this is at all usual.

BUT the series was conceived by L J Smith. She came up with the ideas, the characters and she surely must be the one to see the series through to its conclusion? What is more insulting is that Alloy Entertainment believe most casual fans won't even notice a ghost writer doing the job anyway!

This is poor form and disrespectful, in my opinion, and L J Smith has my sympathies. Now, I had no particular preference for either Stefan or Damon. In fact, I didn't really enjoy the last Vampire Diaries book I read and had pretty much decided to stop reading the series. But, if I were to continue reading, I would want to see the way in which the AUTHOR wished to finish the series of books, not some external vision from a company.

There are petitions and whatnot flying around on the Internet, including a Twitter campaign so, if you think that this treatment is not right, do show your support for L J Smith and spread the word. I know many bloggers are stating they will not buy any more Vampire Diaries books if not written by L J Smith.

Oh, and budding authors? Read the damn contract.


  1. Wow! i agree with everything you said, so disrespectful, you would be surprised how many people take no notice of their contracts.

  2. Now, Vampire Diaries is not my favourite series that she's done, but honestly, she started it, and to tell her to shove off because she's not doing what they want... That smacks of all those Harry Potter fans who vociferously proclaimed that they wouldn't buy another of Rowling's books unless she started writing the "true pairings" as they say them. Only with more cash. Never mind that the author made the characters in the first place. Never mind that the series wouldn't have been freaking spawned if it wasn't for her work.

    She should have read the contract. And in a sense, that she got into this mess is partly, therefore, on her own shoulders. But there's some level of trust inherent when those contracts get signed. "I write for you, you don't screw me around." "You write for us and are making us money, so we'll do what we need to do to keep you writing for us." That got tossed out the window. I feel sympathy for her, and I support her.

  3. I have never read a Vampire Diaries book and have no idea who these characters are. However, I'm skeptical of any corporate bean-counter who thinks they know how to plot out a series better than the writer who created it. So I guess writers now know to be really careful about signing contracts with Alloy Entertainment.

  4. This reminds me of the whole James Frey Brouhaha a while back. While it's absurd Smith is getting kicked off, you're right, she should have read the contract! The first thing I thought, was: "Didn't she have an agent?" Which in turn is a nice reminder why (good) agents are important!

  5. Thanks a heap, Harper. Now everyone knows what's gonna happen. So not buying the books now. And plus, Stefan's such a huge dork, and not in a good way. I would have loved to see Damon and Elena get together at the end.

    They should have known that this move's gonna piss everyone off, and lose a HUGE chunk of their fanbase. Why would they even TRY to open this can of worms?!

  6. Everyone who has read the vd books knows there amazing and Lj smith inspired a television phenomenon with the vampire diaries tv show, and now there going to fire her!!!! I think fans should buy Midnight (which is writen by Smith) and not buy the next books the the ghostwriter is planning to write because its not the way the story is intended to go.

  7. I'm sure she did read the contract, I dont think that is the issue and I really dont think she would be that silly.

    You have to remember that she wrote these books in the 90s, when young adult novels were not treated with much or any respect. Young Adult authors were not given contracts or offered fees like other ficton writers, that is a new development. They were cannon fodder, think of the Point Horror books, of which The Forbidden Game books were of for example. You sign up to write three books for them and they own them. You get paid. End of.

    This is such terrible news and is proof of how much the industry itself has changed, you would never get away with anything like this these days as a young adult author starting out.

  8. Wow is all I can say. I truly believe removing the conflicting feelings between Elena and Damon would be a bad move. I think the tension in the love triangle is what the readers keep coming back for. It would be a shame to leave the series as is, with the end of Midnight being all there is, but having it continued by another author would also be a shame. I feel like the book was finished in a way that either could happen, and maybe that's why it was done the way it was. It almost felt like a forced ending, possibly not what she would have written under any other circumstances. I hope whomever made the decision to fire Smith has really thought it through, changing the dynamics would ruin the series.

  9. I feel bad, because I really love L.J but I'll probably buy the new book- just because I need some kind of resolution to the series, and I'm also curious to see what the ghostwriter comes up with. Does this make me a bad person?

  10. whoa, just found out - thats kind of a low move. It won't stop me from continuing to read the series (if it's any good, of course), but really, those sorts of moves from will come back to bite Alloy Entertainment in the butt sooner or later. There are plenty of AN books out there with 'Twilight' endings, and I can't help but be disappointed that Alloy Entertainment had gone for that.