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Elizabeth

What Does Courtney Read?

Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, apparently.
courtney.jpg

Uh-oh! Someone at Simon & Schuster publicity’s getting a friendly chuck on the arm for their awesomer-than-awesome product placement skills! (Who’s the man? You’re the man! Or the woman.)

Maybe she’ll have finished it by the end of her term.

Courtney Love Sentenced [Yahoo!/Reuters]

No More Interviews for Zadie

[Ed. note—Spiers here. I'm blogging a bit while Ron's away.]

EdRants notes that Zadie Smith isn’t doing any more interviews:

yesterday afternoon, I received a voicemail from Cornell stating that “all interviews are canceled.” She didn’t state a reason and was very apologetic…[Smith's publicist] Cornell told me that Smith had been overscheduled and that she had been forced to cut back because she did not want to exhaust herself. The decision had come directly from Smith herself and Penguin supported the decision. But at the back of my mind, I wondered if the Kachka interview had something to do with Smith’s decision.

He goes on to conclude…

So what’s the answer? Possibly somewhere in between. Smith probably recalls that there was indeed a tangent, but may not recall the exact nature of said tangent. But if the question itself is, as Kachka states, a negative one (“What’s so bad about England?), then it’s small wonder that a negative response was given.

… seeming to imply that Boris Kachka (who is, full disclosure, an ex-colleague of mine) would have been in the wrong for asking a negative question which was hardly leading, given that she had just made remarks about England being disgusting. (If anything, it gave her an opening to soften them or take them back.) Sounds to me like Boris was doing his job. I don’t think it’s any journalist’s place to make sure the writer ends up with a flattering interview, or to encourage them to censor themselves. In a lot of the book blog coverage I’m reading, there seems to be an odd willingness to automatically defend the author as if the reporter has some responsibility to protect the author rather than to treat her as a subject.

There’s also a failure to recognize the fact that when press is unflattering, “I was misquoted” is a fairly common response, and in most cases, the reporter has much more to lose if that were in fact the case.

I also don’t think that Katcha’s comment here

Kachka also noted, rather ominously, “She doesn’t realize that when journalists come under suspicion, we have the tapes to prove it.”

was meant ominously (or threateningly,) as implied. In my experience, it’s a reality. It’s not unusual to have subjects claim that they were misquoted thinking that it’s just their word against the reporter’s and then backpedal furiously and apologize when they realize that the reporter has actual proof because the conversation was taped.

And there’s nothing “gotcha”-ish about an on-the-record, scheduled and premeditated interview. Having said stupid stuff myself and had it end up in the New York Times, I can sympathize with the pain of seeing your words in print and wishing you hadn’t said them. But at no point would I have blamed the reporter for them being there.

A Not-Entirely-Rhetorical Question

Who will be the first book publisher to take advantage of the Katrina tragedy to beef up this year’s budget with a quickie title? We’d bet someone out there already is.** (“But we’re donating a portion of the proceeds to the Red Cross!” we can almost see you sputtering.)

Any tips? Send to galleycatATmediabistroDOTcom.

** Years of practiced misanthropy have conditioned us to think the worst.

UPDATE: Simon & Schuster gets the prize! Sort of. Halfway.

From the Guardian:

NEW YORK (AP) – A book about a deadly 1927 flood along the Mississippi River has become an online best-seller since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast…”Rising Tide” was published by Simon & Schuster in hardcover in 1997 and in paperback in 1998. The publisher began to see increased demand for the title on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Simon & Schuster spokesman Adam Rothberg. “Rising Tide,” which had 150,000 copies in circulation, is going back to press to print an additional 10,000 paperback copies, Rothberg said.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Soft Skull’s Richard Nash writes in:

This is something Soft Skull is going to try to do really quickly, making it a “quickie,” but it’s just a benefit. I don’t know if you saw a big feature in PW about two months ago about a New Orleans book/writing project called the Neighborhood Story Project. A guy named Abram Himelstein taught writing in an inner-city school in New Orleans, of which came several students who wrote 80-120pp book-length stories about their block.

He had already done a 1K print run of each of the five books, which were selling really well down in NOLA.

Their entire inventory has been destroyed in the hurricane. We are working on reprinting the books and crashing them into the trade market as a benefit for the Project as well as to provide Americans with the direct voices of the young poor black kids of New Orleans. We’re in the middle of finding a printer to reprint for free, and then we’re going to crash all five books into stores immediately. As quickly as the system will let us.

Check out [this] for a story about the books, the authors, etc… Also, If you go to NeighborhoodStoryProject.org you’ll see some info, and there’s more here:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA530138.html
http://www.bookslut.com/features/2004_05_002066.php
http://blogs.chron.com/exile/

This latter item is because the co-director of the project is blogging on on the Houston Chronicle website:
Here’s what he knows so far from the writers of the books:

“On Thursday we finally heard from students. Arlet and Sam Wylie, the teenage authors of Between Piety and Desire (named for Ninth Ward streets)—they’re in Shreveport. Ashley Nelson, author of The Combination, finally got through to our mostly dysfunctional cell phones. She’s in Baton Rouge, in shock: “I can’t even tell you what happened to us in that water.”

Also, the money raised will be used as follows: “The NSP will spend the next 4 months working with refugee high school students to document the stories of people living in the Astrodome.”

The Collected Letters of Dave Eggers (And Who Ostensibly Reps Them)

In a 994-word piece misleadingly labeled “Small Corrections,” (which would seem to mistakenly imply brevity) to a recent Neal Pollack piece in the New York Times Book Review, Dave Eggers complained that Pollack mischaracterized his relationship with Andrew Wylie:

Andrew Wylie does one thing for us, which he does very well and which helps us exist: he sells foreign rights to certain McSweeney’s books, because among our business staff of three, only one person has been farther than Maine.

But according to this week’s Book Review, there is one other thing Wylie could do for McSweeneys/Eggers:

A writer’s papers would be “considerably” more valuable if they included e-mail, Wylie said. The question for an acquiring agency or library is how to prevent “extrapolated diminishment of value,” he added. “I could certainly see Dave Eggers’s collected e-mail correspondence appearing in 10 volumes in the course of the next 40 years, and I think it would be absolutely riveting,” Wylie said of another client. (He said there were no immediate plans to sell Rushdie’s or Eggers’s e-mail correspondence.)

Which is fantastic of course, because the only way this would be better is if were printed, bound between two pieces of cardboard and sold for $24.95. Thank you, Andrew Wylie.

UPDATE: I didn’t realize it, but Alex Balk beat me to the punch here.

[Ed.—By the way, until tomorrow, I'm guest-blogging Galleycat. The good book bloggers will return shortly.- Elizabeth Spiers]

From the Editors Interviews

We’re experimenting with making our (usually subscription-only) “From the Editors” feature free for the first few weeks it’s up.

This week’s interviewee: Jill Schwartzman, HarperCollins

And previously:
Megan Lynch & Sean McDonald, Riverhead

Editor’s Note: 08.15.2005

Dear Readers:

Galleycat’s publishing schedule will be fairly sporadic until August 29, when we’ll introduce a new guest editor. In the meantime, be sure to check out the many fine blogs and publishing news sources on our blogroll.

Elizabeth Spiers
editor in chief, mediabistro.com

Zeitchik to Variety

Steve Zeitchik is leaving PW for a post at Variety. Memo below:

—–Original Message—–
From: Nelson, Sara (RBI-US)
Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2005 4:57 PM
To: Zeitchik, Steve (RBI-US)
Subject: Good News/Bad News

It is with tremendously mixed feelings that I am writing to announce that Steve Zeitchik will be leaving PW after nearly seven years as a writer and editor. Apparently, some little magazine called Variety has lured him with the promise of covering media companies, Hollywood and (just a little bit about) the book business.

The good news (for him) is that this is a great offer, richly deserved. The bad news (for us) is: he’s really taking it.

While at PW, Steve helped launch, develop and write for first PW Daily, then PW NewsLine (then PW Daily again). For both the magazine and online, he’s reported on the personalities, controversies, deals and dramas of the U.S. and international book scene. He has done this with a passion and perseverance unusual enough to be called — rightly, for once — awesome.

Steve will be here through the middle of September, and he’ll rejoin PW for a reunion tour at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where he’ll help us cover deals and the fair. And when he starts at Variety, he won’t be going very far –he’ll be working in the publication’s New York office just one floor up.

I have only worked with Steve here for six months, but for six years before that, he made my life a living hell — and I mean that in a good way. A fearsome competitor, he has also been a delightful colleague. I know that you will all join me in congratulating — and missing — him heartily.

Revolving Door: Jon Karp

The editor-in-chief of Random House has resigned.

We Interrupt Your Scheduled Galleycat

Galleycat is feeling under the weather at the moment and is not quite well enough to blog. She promises to return shortly.