PDA

View Full Version : PA book gets reviewed in the Chicago Sun-Times? ? ?



Sakamonda
10-02-2006, 06:55 PM
Don't know exactly how this happened (I suspect the Sun-Times reviewer knew the author). But there it is, in print. I am sure PA will milk this for everything it's worth.

http://www.suntimes.com/business/79565,CST-FIN-AMA02.article

PVish
10-02-2006, 07:05 PM
Don't know exactly how this happened (I suspect the Sun-Times reviewer knew the author). But there it is, in print. I am sure PA will milk this for everything it's worth.
http://www.suntimes.com/business/79565,CST-FIN-AMA02.article

My prediction: the Sun Times will receive a sudden deluge of books from the happy PA authors who will expect their books to be reviewed too.

JanDarby
10-02-2006, 08:17 PM
The key to this review is probably the "roman a clef" aspect of it, mentioned in the review. It may be fiction technically, but the review almost treats it as non-fiction, and it sounds like the reviewer has his own agenda, and is using the book to forward his own agenda. Very different sort of thing from reviewing some random PA novel that doesn't have the insider aspect to it.

JD

Tsu Dho Nimh
10-03-2006, 03:03 AM
Sad, because those "blow the cover off" books can get a lot more coverage through a real publisher.

James D. Macdonald
10-03-2006, 03:12 AM
(I suspect the Sun-Times reviewer knew the author)


James Stacey, author and press lobbyist, can deliver crucial messages to the media because he knows how to talk to reporters. Following a successful career as a reporter, with stints at Business Week and American Medical News, Stacey became the director of Information Services in the American Medical Associationís Washington office. There he maintained contacts with key reporters on the major newspapers, including The Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, as well as broadcast and cable networks, and made sure that the AMA perspective was included in stories involving patient care and physiciansí concerns.


Drawing on his extensive exposure to health policy issues, Stacey authored Inside the New Temple: the high cost of mistaking medicine for religion, Conversation Press, 1993, and The Medicine Men, PublishAmerica (2006), and co-authored Severed Trust: Why American medicine hasnít been fixed, Basic Books, 2000. He also published a family memoir, A Wounded Name. In a free lance capacity, Stacey has written articles for The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The Hill, among other publications. He also has offered consultative services to Numerix, an international financial software firm, and other clients.
http://www.thestillwellgroup.net/tsgteam_stacy.html

Sounds like he knows the reporter, all right.

Want to make any bets on how the Ingram numbers on this book look, oh, a month from now?

Sakamonda
10-03-2006, 03:43 AM
What I don't understand is, why did this guy, who obviously has several legit-published books and major publishing creds under his belt, need to go through PA to get his novel published? Surely he could have had a legit publisher put it out with his resume; I doubt it could be all that bad. Weird.

icerose
10-03-2006, 04:25 AM
It will be interesting if PA treats him like they treat every other author, you know a man with connections. I can't wait to revisit this author in a year or so.

JennaGlatzer
10-03-2006, 05:00 AM
Surely he could have had a legit publisher put it out with his resume...

Obviously, I'm not justifying going with PA no matter what, but I'll comment on this one line... I have a pretty great nonfiction resume, but that doesn't necessarily translate over to fiction. If I had a novel to sell, I'd be in only a *slightly* better position to sell it than a totally new author. The only thing that would give me an edge is that I could say to my editors, "Hey, would you refer me to one of your colleagues who handles romance/mystery/whatever?" My editors are all nonfiction people, so they couldn't buy my book. I'd get read faster than unpublished writers, but I'd still have no fiction track record and I'd be judged pretty strictly by the book's merits.

Sakamonda
10-03-2006, 06:44 PM
What is also interesting to me is, my day job is as a writer/researcher in organized medicine (not the AMA, but a similar organization that reps a specific medical specialty; I work a lot with AMA people so based on the review, I recognize several of the "characters" as representing actual people I've worked with at the AMA, and I know the internal politics the book deals with very well, too. I think this book would lend itself well to the roman-a-clef format for the specific demographic of physicians and physician lobbyists, but perhaps mainstream publishers thought that was too narrow a demographic. Still, there are several million physicians in the US, most of whom are members of the AMA, so I'd think they'd want to read something like this.

As a fiction writer myself though, I know the fiction market is very tough these days. A lot of very high-quality fiction gets rejected by publishers, often over the opinions of editors, on the sole basis of marketing departments saying the books aren't "marketable." Maybe that happened with this book. Or, maybe it's just bad. Hard to tell.

James D. Macdonald
10-03-2006, 07:12 PM
a) Maybe the book is an unreadable Mary Sue.
b) Maybe real publishers' lawyers took one look and said, "Do we want to get sued?"
c) Maybe he didn't try very hard to get it published (a surprising number of newspaper people don't know squat about commercial publishing).

(Conversation Press (http://www.pma-online.org/scripts/showmember.cfm?code=645) is a microscopic publisher with half-a-dozen books out over course of a decade, most of them by the publisher's wife.)

Sakamonda
10-03-2006, 07:24 PM
Actually, I don't buy the legal argument. In addition to first amendment rights, there is are _huge_ legal precedents (up to and including Supreme Court decisions) that protect fiction writers when it comes to their liability for being sued for "libel" in fiction, even in thinly-disguised roman-a-clefs; there is essentially no room for libel/slander under the law when a book is labeled "fiction", because the legal definition of libel/slander requires that false information must be labeled as "true". Case in point: The Devil Wears Prada, a very thinly disguised portrait of VOGUE editor Anna Wintour; Wintour could not sue the book's author in any court because it was _fiction_, albeit, thinly disguised.

Even memoirists and journalists are pretty well-protected by law and legal precedents when they write unfavorable portrayals of real people; either by changing names to protect anonymity or being able to prove the truth of their statements. Short of outright fabrication, it's hard to sue anyone for libel/slander unless you have hard proof the publication is false.

I believe either a) the book is bad; b) publishers thought the book was interesting but unmarketable; or c) the author made no effort to seek legit publication.

James D. Macdonald
10-03-2006, 07:52 PM
"Can we get sued?" and "If we get sued will we win?" are different questions.

icerose
10-03-2006, 07:58 PM
"Can we get sued?" and "If we get sued will we win?" are different questions.

That's right, going to court is expensive! Whether or not you win. You have to pay for lawyers, time, it marrs your reputation, look at what Dan Brown went through, he won, but you can bet it cost the publisher quite a bit to go through that legal proceeding.

T. Nielsen Hayden
10-03-2006, 08:21 PM
"Can we get sued?" and "If we get sued will we win?" are different questions.To that list, add: "Will most readers know what's being talked about?" and "Is this book worth the headache?"

Sakamonda
10-03-2006, 08:39 PM
I don't think the Dan Brown paralell is relevant; he was sued for stealing ideas from other authors (something that's often easier to prove than libel), not libel. And most lawyers, even the sleaziest ones, will not pursue even those kinds of cases unless the target is a megasuccessful writer with deep, deep pockets. It's not profitable for them to do otherwise. Most midlist authors will never see this kind of thing in their careers.

I'm almost tempted to buy this book just to satisfy my curiosity (I also would understand the politics of this roman-a-clef due to my day job), but then again, I hate PA and all it stands for so I'm hesitant to do so.

icerose
10-03-2006, 09:41 PM
I don't think the Dan Brown paralell is relevant; he was sued for stealing ideas from other authors (something that's often easier to prove than libel), not libel.

I do realize that, but the costs are still the same no matter the issue that's being taken to court.

Sakamonda
10-04-2006, 12:38 AM
yeah, but that doesn't change the fact that most midlist authors are not the targets of suits. (i.e., they don't have deep enough pockets for lawyers to want to bother with, therefore the suits aren't brought.)

Of note, this book's Amazon ranking today is below 98,000, which would put it selling at a rate higher than some mainstream-published midlist books.