I just finished reading Because She Can. It’s hilarious, edgy and I highly recommend it. The focus of the story is a high-profile Editor named Vivian Grant who makes Miranda Priestly (from the Devil Wears Prada) look like a girl scout. There’s been a lot of scuttle in the industry as to whether Because She Can is about the once-high profile Editor of Regan Books, Judith Regan. Having never worked for her I can’t really comment on that (although the author of this book did work for her, hence the Grant/Regan comparison). I did meet with her several times during a book negotiation and I’ll say this: she is tough as nails and no-nonsense about what she wants. She wasn’t the easiest person to deal with and also, eh, a little scary and very intense, that said, her legacy will always be her keen nose for a bestseller.
Recently Judith landed in the “notorious editor” category over her poor choice in books when the OJ tome began getting a tidal wave of negative publicity. But did she really pick this book? Turns out she may not have. A publishing insider told me that sales were down for Regan books and supposedly she was handed the book and publishing deal and told to make her numbers (although I have a hard time believing Judith could be told to do *anything*). When the deal went south she was sent packing (or made to be the scapegoat as reported by New York Magazine: Even Bitches Have Feelings http://nymag.com/news/profiles/26988/index.html). A bookseller who wished to remain anonymous told me that stores were overloaded with pre-orders and pretty upset when the deal fell through. Quite a different story than the one publicized. Is it true? Well the person who relayed this to me is credible and perhaps now’s a good time to remember that even in publishing, there are two sides to every story. Further, how could something get this out of control without News Corp or HarperCollins having some hand in it? If Judith was truly insane as was reported, why would anyone let an insane person run amuck like that? Hardly a good choice for a publisher the size of HarperCollins.
Will Judith be back? Oh, you betcha, in some form or fashion she’ll rise from the ashes. With a new imprint (or perhaps her old one resurrected) and enough bestsellers to turn New York on its head.
If nothing else, there’s gotta be another book in here somewhere. Don’t you think?
I really liked this piece, it was well-balanced, and in this world of pack-attack mentality and frenzy-over-everything, I truly appreciate a daily reminder that there are two sides to every story.
Thank you for this, Penny!