In 1994 I was working as Bloomsbury Publishing's Marketing Director in London's Soho Square. They'd taken on the author Shere Hite who's book, The Hite Report - a Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality* had been an international best-seller twenty years previously. Bloomsbury published her new title The Hite Report On The Family - Growing Up Under Patriarchy* and despite the best efforts of Bloomsbury, it didn't sell.
For reasons I never understood, Shere Hite had it in her head that the book's failure was entirely due to yours truly himself. Nothing could have been further from the truth. A professional in any field is obliged to do the job they are paid to do - and in my case, I'd always followed Alistair Cooke's observation, "a professional is someone who does his best work when he doesn't feel like it." Moreover, whether or not a book succeeds in the marketplace is a little understood and complex matter - 80% of trade books at that time failed commercially - and in a firm the size of Bloomsbury, with an array of superb sales people, publicists etc, it would have been extremely difficult if not impossible for one person to ruin a book's chances.
Shere Hite came to see Nigel Newton, the CEO of Bloomsbury and complained about her book's failure and specifically that I had deliberately scuppered it's chances. She alleged that I was anti-feminist, and offered proof that in my office there were many photos, prints and books on display, none of which featured women.
Nigel Newton, a decent fellow, listened politely. I can imagine what was going through his mind. Bloomsbury's sales and publicity departments at the time, which reported to me, was staffed almost entirely by extraordinary women, including Caroline Michel, Sarah Beal and Lucky Juckes, (the very first Sales Director at Bloomsbury at the age of 23.)
He invited Ms Hite to my office and as they walked in he pointed to a very large photograph of Shri Mataji in Her Mahakli form, which dominated the entire room.
How could it be that Ms. Hite had failed to see it?
* At the time of writing, May 2015, both books can be bought on Amazon.com for 1 cent plus $3.99 postage.