David Harris-Gershon, a struggling young writer, recently hit on a winning story — his own. The writer, a 31-year-old Jewish day school teacher and father of one (with another on the way), has offered to auction off 20% of his future literary earnings to the highest bidder. The minimum bid has been at the optimistic sum of $100,000. At press time, there had not been any offers.
Harris-Gershon came up with the auction as a possible way to attend a Master of Fine Arts program without plunging his family into debt. Lest anyone mistake the point, the bid site includes pictures of Harris-Gershon writing with a baby on his lap.
Harris-Gershon admits that the auction is more of a publicity stunt than a business proposition. He expects that anybody who agrees to fund him would do so out of a “philanthropic moment of generosity” rather than any serious expectation of profit.
That said, should an investor come forward, Harris-Gershon has an intellectual property lawyer waiting to draw up the contract. Though he said he would not alter his style to make his material more commercial, he also said that he “would feel a great responsibility to be diligent about writing,” should someone invest in him. And should he fail to complete the MFA program, the deal would be off.
Despite the lack of bids, Harris-Gershon remains hopeful and said that he will not lower the minimum bid. “If I’m going to do it, I want to go all the way.”
— ANTHONY WEISS