maggie_thompson - lani_sarem_wwc.jpg

Well I asked for a spy at the panel where current publishing scandal It Girl Lani Sarem told folks how to “Break In and Get Noticed” but it seems Sarem found the one place where no one would care about the accusations that  her YA novel Handbook for Mortals gamed the system to get on the NY Times best seller list: a panel at Wizard World Chicago.


Or at least that’s how it looks in a photo from ace reporter Maggi Thompson, which was posted on FB. According to Thompson, Sarem said:

“I think I’m the only author to get kicked off the list.”

Thompson noted that the panel  was “Underattended but fun panel. (Understand that at conventions every event is counter-programmed with every other event. So lack of audience in NOT a review.)”

Indeed given Wizard World’s past promotion of bad boys like disgraced Illinois governmor Rod Blagojevich and gormless Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, with better timing they could have totally made this this biggest thing at the show.


  1. I wonder if it’s possible for you to write one article with a negative view of a woman without trying to bring in a totally unrelated negative story/comment on men.

    You need to get laid, not sure who would wanna do it though

  2. I must be missing the unrelated negative comment about men. The Blagojevich/Lochte stories are completely relevant. I remember Wizard World making a big deal about Blagojevich’s appearance in Chicago specifically because of his scandal.

  3. @ Mr. Robot Ah, well when most men stop being so terrible so often, that’ll probably slow down. So basically never. Case in point: LOL who would actually agree to lay with YOU?

  4. Lowest attended panel I’ve been to had 10 people in the audience.

    I was almost at a panel where I was the only person in the audience. They got the Con to announce the panel over the loudspeaker and people came in.

  5. The Mr Robot comment is really, really weird.

    The story about the panel seems a wee bit mean. I mean, gaming a ranking system isn’t new, so why the schadenfreude?

  6. I have to wonder how common it is for publishers to game the NYT bestseller’s list?

    Maybe the issue wasn’t that it could be gamed, but that someone operating outside of the Big 5 figured out how to “crack” the system.

    I’ve long suspected that big publishers game the system to get bragging rights, which leads to increased sales via word-of-mouth and film options.

    I even have to wonder if the NYT Graphic Novel list wasn’t gamed so that the same two or three publishers always seemed to come out on top.

    If it’s so easily gamed, maybe it’s time for the NYT pull the plug on the whole damn thing.

  7. We didn’t get our gene simmons vip bag we were supposed to get .didn’t find out until Friday when was asked about picture and other stuff supposed to receive.hoping can get this straightened stuff for suicide not gene simmons

  8. @ Mr Robot, I read this short article seven times to look for the negative aspects in it. Yeah, this is just plain old reporting. The person at the panel said they had fun and that there weren’t many people there. I did like that an author figured out how to play the NYT list. That made me laugh.
    Your comments, however , did not and you need to reconsider your comments and issue a formal apology.
    Or just zip it. That also works.

  9. The amazing thing about Wizard is they’ve been running these con for years and years now but don’t seem to have learned anything, want to learn anything, and are forgetting anything they used to know. They didn’t even have a con booklet Thursday or Friday for people, just two printed broadsheets, one of which has a map of the convention area that’s too small to tell you where anything might be.


  10. Mr. Robot, are you honestly saying that you think all articles should be segregated by sex, and once they mention a person of one sex, they have to stick with that sex and only that one?

    Or is it just for non-laudatory things? Would you be okay with an article talking about, say, a woman winning a particular award, also mentioning a couple of previous winners who were male?

    In any event, the article was neither critical of Lani Sarem, beyond the fact that her panel was poorly attended, nor was it critical of the men mentioned; it was critical of the convention’s decision to invite people so peripheral to the theme.

    If that’s all it takes to trigger you, I think you need to toughen up a bit.

  11. In fairness, I attended Wizard World Chicago this year and while the guest lineup was a huge step down from the past few years and there were some annoying organizational issues, it was a pretty decent time. Genese Davis did a great job hosting some prose-related panels, they had some very interesting presentations on Japanese culture, performances by Raks Geek and the Klingon Pop Warrior, and an amazing panel with Kevin Conroy.

    They continue to do a poor job at the comic-centric programming cons are supposed to have but Wizard’s pop culture fest approach is not without its charms. However, the lack of the kind of celebrities they’ve had in the past and no Bruce Campbell Horror Film Fest was quite noticeable. It didn’t seem attendance fell off a cliff but it was much sparser than I think three years ago when they sold out of four day tickets a month or more before the event.

    Most ominously, perhaps, is that the dealer area seemed to have fewer vendors overall and a shocking lack of comic sellers. Last year is the first time I thought comics were the minority on the floor but this year comics couldn’t have been more than 25% of the dealers room.


  12. *puts down John Grisham novel*

    Raise your hand if this article and subsequent flame war are the first time you ever heard of Lani Sarems.

    *raises hand*

    *goes back to reading John Grisham novel*

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