Roger L. Simon

Blacklisting Myself: Will the New York Times review my book and do I care?

It’s only a few weeks before the mid-January publication of my first non-fiction book –  Blacklisting Myself: Memoir of a Hollywood Apostate in the Age of Terror – and I am going through the usual authorial paranoid mood swings. Will I be loved or hated? Is my book a turkey or a golden egg?   Lately I have allowed myself  delusions of grandeur because of an early glowing notice in Blogcritics and now this amusing YouTube review. (Don’t miss it – it’s a hoot.)  And the esteemed Commentary magazine has bought first serialization rights (an excerpt from my chapter on Richard Pryor and the ‘baby moguls’).  And I have great blurbs from Ron Silver, Michael Barone and John Podhoretz.  But that is not enough…

What about the New York Times? Never mind that I have loathed the newspaper for the better part of a decade, what will they say about me? Or will they say anything at all?  My previous ten books have all been reviewed (for the most part pretty well) by the Times, but they were  fiction – and, more importantly, I was not an apostate.  Who loves an apostate, especially when it’s from the Times’ traditional ideology?  And complicating matters is a feud between my publisher Encounter Books and the Times.  The “newspaper of record” apparently abjured reviewing Encounter’s high-toned conservative books in recent years, so the publisher said arrivederci to the Times.  They send the paper no more review copies.

So where does that leave me?  Hoping some editor at the NYTBR will be so intrigued he or she will order the book on Amazon?  Not bloody likely.  Do I care?

Well… to be honest… yes, I do.  I would love to be reviewed by the paper, but not for the usual reasons.  Thin-skinned though I am, this once I would love the New York Times to slam me.  That way people might come to my defense. It could create a little controversy and sell some copies.  Come on, Grey Lady – make my day!