Steve Broback, who is working on a book with his partner DL Byron picks up on a Wall St. Journal article about how James Frey's publisher's simply trusted the ex-convict turned author and didn't have the budget to fact check. Robert and I have a different publisher, but that statement is very far from what happened for Robert and me.
Our publisher's Wiley's most annoying team member was their fact-checker, who pored over every statement in the book, who even checked out quotes we attributed in the book to ourselves on the blog. I swear if I had written that my mother loved me, he would have checked it out. The result was that several episodes were deleted from the book, because he challenged assertions we had made, that we did not feel we could back up with attribution. I don't even know the SOB's name, but Robert and I will be forever in his debt.
That being said, there are two catches: (1) Robert and I had the final say. If we thought the fact checker had pushed too hard, then we could overrule him. We did several times, but we did so prudently. (2) No fact checker can verify conversations that I held, with people I said I talked to. In these areas, the publisher had to go on blind faith. They had to trust that I was a truthful person.
Steve Broback is right in his post. The blogosphere served as a whole new, and effective fact checking layer. Dozens of facts were corrected by them. Most were minor, some were spelling and date errors. But a couple were significant and we are most thankful for those of you who caught them.
That being said, we have already learned of one factual error in Naked Conversations. Adam Curry to not make the first podcast as he claimed to in an interview with me. At least according to other people. If we were wrong on that one fact, I consider it a wart on our faces. f we end up with too many warts, then out book should be discredited.
I think the villain in Mr. Frey's case is him. The guy deliberately lied to make big ink and big bucks.