How Publishing Is Rigged You thought it was a meritocracy??

8Sep/11

Lorin Stein, Mister Cronyism

Lorin Stein A recent blog post over at The Paris Review displays exactly the kind of cronyism that I've come to expect from the Editor in Chief, Lorin Stein.

In a different post, I noted that Anna Stein (Lorin's sister) was promoting her brother's magazine in an interview (she says that she's very much looking forward to the next issue of The Paris Review), without revealing to the interviewer that she was Lorin Stein's sister. Not very honorable of Ms. Stein, who is in the business herself—she's a literary agent. In early August, it was apparently Lorin's turn to return the favor, pushing a book on TPR blog-readers that was written by an author who is represented by Anna Stein's agency.

The blog poster asks the following question:

Are there any books coming out this fall that you’re particularly excited about? —Leo

An excerpt of Lorin Stein's answer appears below:

Lots—and the stack keeps growing. Two days ago, for example, my sister gave me the galleys of a first novel, Various Positions, by the young Canadian writer Martha Schabas, all about the sexual awakening of a ballerina.

It's an editor's right to like whatever he wants to like, but with such a visible position in the literary world, should Lorin Stein be doing advertising for his sister's client? Instead of doing favors for their family members and friends, editors like Lorin Stein have a greater responsibility to their reading public. Instead, he's functioning as free advertising for his sister's agency by noting a client's book in his blog.

(I'll also note that Stein again loves his faux sexual content. Everything, no matter how mundane or exciting, is made better in Stein's eyes by a dash of faux sexual content.)

Doesn't anyone in this business care to excuse themselves from praising—or outright promoting—works that might be tainted by the stain of cronyism? Does anyone in the publishing world have any sense of ethics or morals?