The Penguin imprint of Dutton will go unscathed and will keep their profits. They weren’t the source of the leak and “Don’t shoot the messenger”, they’ll say. This will make the bean counters happy and make the editor a made man.
There should still be some accountability with publishers these days and Penguin shouldn’t get a hall pass for their participation in what has become the biggest SEAL controversy in the community’s history. Penguin also disregarded the review process and ill advised their author in a rush to grab headlines and profits.
Where’s the accountability?
Many publishers today are representing works of fiction (Pfarrer’s Target Geronimo is one example) as non-fiction and shirk common sense (in Penguin’s case) in a rush to be first to market.
Typical Publishing Timeline vs. No Easy Day’s Rush to Market
- Start: Proposal shopped to publishing houses by agent and then a publisher is picked (usually the highest bidder or best fit) and the contract is executed. Bissonette’s agent likely took this proposal to a personal contact at Dutton because her client would have wanted to keep this under wraps. Their editor has no previous experience in this genre. His advance was likely between 500k-2M. Based on my conversations with multiple publishing houses, had he shopped the book around he could have gotten a few million for sure.
- Manuscript turned in to publisher for edit. typically 6-12 month period
- Manuscript placed in 12 month pipeline and edited. Time to market is usually 12+ months after this unless it is “crashed” to market early as No Easy Day was.
- Typical Time to Market: 12-24 months for non-fiction
- No Easy Day Time to Market: 5 months
Note: Bissonette got out of the Navy in April and the book was ready to print in July. Sources in publishing tell us that the book was rushed to market to beat Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden’s tell-all book “The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden“