Nick Davies, the publishing director for interesting article issued an interesting explanation of why the house is publishing WikiLeaks’ chief Julian Assange’s book against his will.
Davies’s account is an intriguing look at what goes on behind the scenes with some of these celebrity books. The subject isn’t happy, can’t be made happy, the publishing house and ghostwriter are caught in the middle, and turmoil ensues.
The fact of the matter is that often the celebrity isn’t happy with the book. This discontent is frequently the result of cold feet as publication date approaches. The rocker or political bigwig or business hotshot starts the process more than happy to share all the details, to name names, and to get decades worth of frustration off his chest. But then, as the book becomes more real, more concrete, and the celebrity faces the fact that it will be on newsstands all over the country, he or she starts to say, “The book isn’t right, it’s not good.”
One particular rock musician threatened to kill himself if the book he had spent a year working on was published. Ultimately the title was released, everyone liked it, and the rock star is now very proud of those same words he previously cringed at.
So this situation with Julian Assange and Canongate is odd in that it’s so high profile. But this kind of conflict often happens behind the scenes with celebrity titles.