No, Sara, I'm not taking the blame on this one

Publishers Weekly (finally) ran a full page column by editor in chief Sara Nelson, saying the Sobol Award "is lose-lose". Nice to know PW is catching up to what everyone else knew a month ago.

She continues on to say "the real damage though might be to the publishing industry as a whole". Whoa baby!

Don't blame this one on me!

You only had to read the Sobol website and have a modicum of knowledge about how agenting works to know that it wasn't quite the good news the press release made it out to be. Lots of us pointed that out after doing nothing but reading the site and posting the actual text.

The damage isn't to publishing. Publishing itself has nothing to do with what's wrong.

What's wrong is that reporters didn't do their damn job. They reprinted a press release with scarecely a single bit of independent work and it came back to bite them in the ass.

I subscribe to PW and I read it religiously but you guys (and everyone else except Reuters) dropped the ball on this one. Don't blame me for this one.


Anonymous said...

I don't understand how she is blaming you or the critics of Sobol. It reads to me like she's saying the damage of the Sobol awards (the lose-lose) would not just be to writers but to the publishing industry as a whole, because if there is an uproar and a scandal and a lawsuit, it will make the whole industry look like scammers (like the Frey thing did). Yes, PW certainly should have investigated these folks long ago. But how is she "blaming" the early whistleblowers like yourself?

Anonymous said...

Printing press releases from companies has a rich tradition in the technology industry. Ten years ago when I put out press releases about new products, I could count on about 90% of it being copied verbatim into "articles" in the tech weeklies, and the other 10% was generic rephrasing.

verification word: nckuck
An Aleut word meaning a gullible and lazy reporter.

Anonymous said...

"...She continues on to say..."

Please don't shoot me, but this is something I've noticed a lot recently, and it's driving me insane.

Surely that's not right? Surely you can't continue on? You continue on your path, maybe, but you can't continue on like you GO on.

No. Nonononononono. Take out the on. Taaaaaaakee out the oooon, everyone, please, please! It's like saying I reversed back to... What, you sometimes reverse forward?

She goes on to say... She continues by saying...

Now let me go find my medication...

Caitlin said...

I haven't read the column so I'm talking out of my hat here but I don't think saying 'the real damage might be done to the publishing industry' is the same thing as saying 'the publishing industry is to blame'. It might be the fault of lazy reporters but if the general public ends up with the wrong impression, it could still be the publishing industry that suffers as a result.

cudd said...

Granted, I just woke up, so I'm not sure how clear my head is at the moment... but I'm confused. Why on earth would we blame you?

Actually, with what little mechanics my brain is using at the moment, I'm thinking this will probably just encourage the determined writers to do more research in the future. That's a good thing, isn't it?

Ray said...

Maybe the reference was for the journalistic part of the publishing industry. I like the term nonfiction fantasy, because half of it is fluff.

That's being nice about it, but there's nothing new here. Only believe half of what you read in newspapers and magazines was true a couple turns of centuries ago, and it still is.

I've done freelance journalism, and though not ashamed of it, half of it was bullshit. Well, not exactly lies, but not the whole truth either. It's hard to report the whole truth when the subject gets to review the piece before publication and has an ad right next to it.

Those with the gold make the rules, eh? I needed some of that gold, so there you go.

This is important: If no ads appear, or no ads linked to the article at least, the info is more trustworthy. No ads on Miss Snark's blog = truth.

PW is out to make money. Beware.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong is that reporters didn't do their damn job. They reprinted a press release with scarecely a single bit of independent work and it came back to bite them in the ass.

Unfortunately there's a lot of this sort of pseudojournalism out there . . .

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Blame you? Sheesh, they oughta award you for saving publishing -- and the hundreds of people who wised up fast enough to save their bucks.

Maybe I'll head over there and mention that, myself...

Stacia said...

I haven't read the article, but it sounds like she's trying to deflect the blame from her magazine and onto the publishing industry as a whole, which includes Miss S. In other words, "Don't blame me" means "take some responsibility for what you did, and don't act like everyone thought this was great until you decided to have another look at it."

I could be wrong there.

That's really revolting. Trying to hide her own culpability by pretending nobody else did their research either.

Unknown said...

Well, before we all start thumping our chests Tarzan style, the fact is that PW got taken in by the credentialed people associated with it. This happens.

What PW fell to sea, as I continue on, (police, police, where the hell are the grammar police when you need them), is that Number 1, credentialed people are human, gullible, blindly philanthropic, or need moula, and Number 2, that the best con men surround themselves with the best people to pull off the best con.

Now where did WitLiz Yada learn this basic truth about the inner workings of the psychopathic con man? Don't ask, don't tell.

Seriously though, this talk of it tarnishing the publishing world is premature, and if I might add, hysterical. Sure some heads might role, but that's the way it is in big business.

This will be a five second storm--wait the next sound you hear will be from Stephanie and Lulu, the caped crusaders adding their belated two cents worth; so maybe it will last longer than five seconds.

At any rate, I think what MS is saying is that if the shit hits the fan, it ain't going to fall on her head; or to put it more graphically, if the guillotine falls, it won't be her head that'll roll.

Let's put the blame where it really belongs, the guy at the top of the totem pole. I know my foot's been up his ass for awhile! So, if you're going to point fingers, glove it, and shove it where it really belongs.

Anonymous said...

It seems like everything damages the publishing industry.
James Frey.
"How Opal Mehta Got Kissed," or whatever.
Something is always damaging something because the word damage is dramatic.

Anonymous said...

I doubt very much that the people who would enter the Sobol Award would read Publishers Weekly. First off, it's really expensive. And secondly, they probably wouldn't even know that it exists. So, I don't see how PW can have any impact on these nitwits who are entering the contest.

On the other hand, every business has its crooks and shady ventures. Publishing is not exempt and never will be. That people think that publishing is/should be/might be populated by saints rather than real people really stuns me. It's just business. Like any other business.