I don't blog about the publishing industry at large on here much, since my blogs are mostly focused on my own writing life. And I've learned the hard way not to get sucked in to online flame wars. But I just couldn't resist commenting on the Quartet Press debacle.
Those of you who follow my writing career know that I write for Ravenous Romance, a relatively new epress that was founded by several people with literally decades of experience in traditional NYC print publishing (my venerable literary agent Lori Perkins among them). The relatively new world of epublishing has never mixed well with the old-school, big-time NYC print publishing industry (most of the people who run independent epublishers started those epublishers with no prior publishing experience of any kind)----indeed, it's been kind of a "Wild West" for many years. So when Ravenous was founded in late 2007, it created quite a stir in the very tiny epublishing community, mostly due to the fact that Ravenous had big-time print publishing connections and business experience---and wasn't afraid to show it.
The relatively small, close-knit (and dare I say, snarky and emotionally immature) epublishing blogosphere pounced on Ravenous and its authors, claws drawn. The attacks, flame wars---even out-and-out harrassment---of Ravenous Romance's staff and authors by a small group of epublishing bloggers and (mostly) unpublished authors was like something out of Dante. It was like the meanest sorority-girl-slash-junior-high-school prank turned into an online horror movie. Worst of all, even some editors and staffers at some of Ravenous' competitors got in on the "fun," in appalling public acts of unprofessionalism. One blogger in particular (who shall remain nameless here) became a ringleader of sorts, dragging on the vicious mean-girl hazing (I can think of no better term for it) for several months.
And today, lo and behold, Quartet Press, which had been praised and cheerleaded to the high heavens for months by the very same bloggers that had viciously derided Ravenous Romance and its authors (not to mention had hired one of the aforementioned editors who had joined in the hazing, and had even publicly announced it would publish the ringleader blogger's debut novel) collapsed and shut down today before it published a single book.
Meanwhile, Ravenous Romance (and its authors, myself included) is going strong, has just signed an 18-book print deal in partnership with major media, and will be making a MAJOR national media splash on September 14 (stay tuned).
Poetic justice, perhaps? Karma? Something else?
I'll leave that for you to decide.
Edited 9/11/09 to add: The above-referenced blogger has categorically denied having a book deal with the defunct publisher, despite making prior Twitter posts, comments, etc. to the contrary (which may have been a practical joke on her part, who knows). Whatever the truth is, it seems there may be a gag order in place on the publisher participants, so it seems we'll never know. In any case, there was certainly a strong relationship of some kind, financial or otherwise, between the above-referenced blogger and Quartet Press' staff, which likely contributed to the chummy PR relationship between the two.
Moral of the story: Don't believe hype without actual dollars and results behind it, no matter who is dishing it out.