Today a New York Observer article printed an excerpt from Ryan Holiday‘s book proposal with the Twitter headline: “Did Ryan Holiday dupe Gawker and GalleyCat?”
The proposal excerpt in the Observer suggested that the marketing team should seed fake news about Holiday’s book advance to blogs: “That the information is all fake and part of a social experiment will be revealed later in the book itself—as evidence of the gullibility of the web and proof of concept.”
Oddly enough, nobody asked us where we got our information. This GalleyCat editor wrote about the deal yesterday because Will Weisser, the VP and associate publisher at Penguin’s Portfolio imprint, emailed us directly with all the details. We asked Weisser for a comment this afternoon.
The associate publisher explained that he had copied a deal announcement (which called it “a major deal”) from Publishers Lunch in his email to us. However, his original email did not identify the source of the information.
Weisser added this statement: “Portfolio has acquired a book by Ryan Holiday that we consider a major, important, newsworthy book. I didn’t tell you the advance because as a policy we never disclose author advances. We had nothing to do with the speculation that followed the Publishers Lunch announcement. The book will be embargoed and therefore I have no comment on what the Observer’s unverified, anonymous source thinks it’s going to reveal.”