08 February 2013

Harper Hockey Book Watch: Year Nine, Day 237



As expected, rumours of a ghostwriter grow, fuelled in large measure by Globe & Mail columnist John Barber naming Roy MacGregor as the phantom. Short hours later, the description was scrubbed with "ghostwriter" changed to "editorial consultant". This "editor's note" has been appended to the story online:
Roy MacGregor acted as an editorial consultant on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s hockey history book. An earlier version of this story referred to Mr. MacGregor as a "ghostwriter."
I repeat my belief that Mr Harper wrote the forthcoming book himself. Yep, everything except the title... and he might just get around to that, too.

Not to say that some polishing was in order... or that it wasn't done by another hand.

No, I suggest that Mr Barber's piece contains something significant that is being overlooked in all this speculation over the spectral:
The Prime Minister had no role in choosing a publisher for his book, according to Toronto lawyer Michael Levine, who brokered the deal. "These were all my decisions, these were not his decisions at all," Mr. Levine said, adding it was "extremely important" to achieve North American distribution for the English-language edition. "Obviously, we’re in a very transitional time in the publishing business here, and I talked to everybody, but I felt this was the best deal for him because of the enormous commitment on both the American and Canadian side of the border," Mr. Levine said.
An observation:

Last February, a few days before the decision was to be made, Bruce Westwood of Westwood Creative Agency – Mr Levine is Chairman – told the Toronto Star that it was the prime minister who would choose the publisher: "There’s a lot of interest in the book. We are in negotiations. We have to go with [Harper’s] decision."

Emphasis mine.

A query:

To what does Mr Levine refer when he speaks of the enormous commitment on both the American and Canadian side of the border? I'm going to say that it's Simon & Schuster. Conspiracy theorists will say that all begins with Republican consultant Frank Luntz, who in May 2006 advised our new Conservative Party to feed on Canadians’ love of the game.


Full disclosure: I've paid many a bill as a ghostwriter myself. Make of that what you will.

Note: In writing this piece I was twice logged out "from another location". Again, make of that what you will.

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