– Mark E. Smith

Newsflash: Man bites Mediabistro.

The Galleycat column reported the exact way “Forbes reporter David K. Randall scored a book deal”: By querying an agent.

For authors who don’t already have agents and connections, this is how it’s usually done. It is a symbol of the ongoing dysfunction of the publishing business that business as usual is considered news.

I asked Randall for comment on that topic, but heard nothing back. Interestingly, the writer of the piece, Jason Boog, is listed as an instructor at NYU Journalism. And so is Randall. It looks like one academic told another academic he’d sold a book the standard way books are sold, and the latter academic wrote a news article about it. But Boog tells me he quit NYU after he got hired on at Mediabistro and merely consideres Randall “a professional contact.” Still, the whole thing is a bit insider, and the news value is precisely nil – unless, like the writer, you’re a friend of the subject.

The shocking thing is that somebody this well connected had to resort to a cold call. I’m one of those people who would like publishing to have a future. I want to meet somebody within that industry who might actually make it happen.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2010.03.12 15:45. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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