Joe Posnanski is having a hard time coming by any good news these days. The latest? The book tour and media interviews for his woefully timed biography, Paterno, due out Aug. 21, will now be severely cut back.
The New York Times reports:
Now Simon & Schuster is limiting interviews with Mr. Posnanski and scaling back a planned book tour. Anne Tate, a spokeswoman for the publisher, said in an e-mail, "We're sensitive about putting our author in forums where he might be viewed as a stand-in for his subject."
Jonathan Karp, the publisher of Simon & Schuster, said in an interview that the release of the Freeh report had complicated matters for the book.
"It's made people angrier at Joe Paterno," he said. "And that has made it a more difficult environment to publish a biography about Joe Paterno."
Really? Amazing that Karp, the publisher, finally figured that one out, especially since leaks from the Freeh report surfaced a month ago.
So, Simon & Schuster is scaling back Posnanski's book tour for two reasons, we'll speculate: 1.) They finally realized that when Posnanski shows up at a book reading—or on Charlie Rose, say—he will get absolutely slaughtered. 2.) They realized the biography is not going to sell the way they imagined it would when they gave Posnanski $750,000 a couple years ago to write a Father's Day book.
Remember that Simon & Schuster chose to move up the book's publication date, from Father's Day 2013, because, Karp said, "there is so much more public interest." At the time the decision was made, Penn State was in Louis Freeh's crosshairs, and Sandusky's trial was months away. Complications for the book were almost certain to arise.
This is a no-win situation for anyone, particularly Posnanski. Even Posnanski's former colleague, Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim, conceded that:
I'm not sure how anyone benefits with rushing a book out. It takes advantage of the timing, but it's awful timing. It's timing that basically just obliterates Joe Paterno. If I'm (Posnanski), I may have just cut bait. I also might have said let's really take a step back and wait…I have a feeling this is not going to be pretty.
The great lesson that Paterno may have taught (a player) pales in comparison to the cover-up. People who read the book will say they don't care about (his great deeds). I worry this will be the literary version of the Matt Millen fiasco.
Well, it appears this might be dawning on Simon & Schuster but far too late.