Publisher’s Weekly – FAIL

Publisher’s Weekly sent me this today via their subscribers email list.

I am appalled.

I’m not appalled because I don’t like the President. Frankly, I don’t care that some people in PW like him a lot or not, and I would be appalled if they were emailing me to solicit support for Romney, too.

I’m appalled because I subscribe to their emailing list in the hopes of getting professional information. They’re supposed to be a professional organization, and their email list is supposed to be used to disseminate the latest in what is going on in the publishing industry. And this has absolutely nothing to do with what’s going on in the publishing industry.

Maybe it’s just my background in the Navy, but the idea of a professional organization that puts out information for publishers and people who deal with publishers – all of them, whether they have Ds next to their names or Rs – making this kind of endorsement….well, it really rubs me the wrong way. It just seems jacked up.

Maybe they’ll have an “Elect Romney” event in a few weeks. I doubt it, but maybe they will. But you know what? That would piss me off too. Because this is not what belongs in a publication/email list about the publishing industry. Or any industry, for that matter.

You want to endorse a candidate? Fine. Donate money. Volunteer at the candidate’s events. But do it yourself. But don’t co-opt a respected organization that is supposed to be speaking to an entire industry (which probably contains a bunch of people who don’t agree with that endorsement) to do so. It’s inappropriate, and unseemly.

But that’s just me. Maybe I’m off base here.


I just sent the following email to Mr. George Slowik, Jr, the President of Publisher’s Weekly, along with several of his subordinates.

Dear Mr. Slowik,

Earlier today (it’s still the 28th on the West Coast), I received this email over your subscribers’ email feed.  I am writing because I found it very inappropriate, and I wanted to bring it to your attention.
At the outset, let me be clear that I do not take umbrage with this email because of any ill will toward the President or any desire that he not be re-elected.  Had you sent a similar email about a campaign rally for Mitt Romney I would be equally offended.
I take offense to this email because I do not believe it is appropriate for the venue.  I subscribe to your news feed in order to keep abreast on the professional goings on in the Publishing industry.  In that light, I am happy to receive announcements on new books releases and other publishing-related things that you send out over the list.  However, this campaign announcement has nothing to do with publishing whatsoever.  It is a naked endorsement of a political candidate over a professional communication channel.  To me it is unconscionable for a professional organization such as yours to foist such a thing onto your entire readership, many of whom likely do not agree with or have any desire to endorse that political candidate.
I am a professional Naval Officer in addition to being a fiction writer.  Maybe that has shaped my view somewhat, because as you well know it would be beyond that pale for anyone in uniform, or even worse a uniformed service as a whole, to endorse one political candidate or another.  I believe that this email is a similar breach of etiquette, though obviously less extreme and certainly not illegal, as such an action by a military unit would be.
So we’re clear, I do not care that you appear to be endorsing the President’s re-election campaign.  All power to you, if that is the case.  Endorse away.  Donate all you wish.  Send your employees to volunteer at his campaign events.  Do so yourself.  Or oppose his opponent.  I don’t care.  But when you decide to include that endorsement into your news feed (i.e. – your email content), you have crossed the line.
Your readers look to you as a source for professional news, opinion, and insight.  In my opinion, this email tarnishes your reputation as strict professionals and lowers the standing of your institution as a whole.  I was extremely disappointed to receive it.
Thank you for your attention.
I’ll be curious to see his response (if any).