WARNING: If you are highly sensitive, this article may trigger you. If that is the case, click the back arrow in your browser now.
A BookLocker author sent me a 7-paragraph message this morning that included this:
“Self-publishing may be the last bastion of free speech.”
He has been shopping a new manuscript to traditional publishers, and said some now have verbiage in their guidelines saying that they won’t accept any manuscripts that don’t have any LGBTQ characters. Some only accept manuscripts with a conservative slant and some with only a liberal slant (yes, we’re talking about FICTION). Some require at least some major characters to be people of color. The list goes on and on.
The L.A. Times has “LGBTQ style guidelines.” Many paying political markets for writers will only accept articles that sway one way or the other. Don’t even THINK of agreeing with the “other side” on any topic, nor trying to find some middle ground.
Some paying religious markets for writers will only accept very specific content. The same thing applies to anti-religion publications.
Even if you’re a mid-leaning writer, your publisher or editor might edit out parts of your manuscript or article that don’t conform to their specific ideas and opinions.
While every publisher has the right to choose what their readers read, there is a lot of censorship going on now, to the point where they want to remove some of the classics from the market, which is ludicrous. We are supposed to learn from history, not erase it.
At BookLocker, if your book has LGBTQ characters, that’s fine. If it doesn’t, that’s fine, too.
If your book leans to the left, great. If it leans to the right, also great.
If your book is about Christianity, awesome. Judaism? Also awesome. Islam? We’re totally cool with that, too.
As long as your book is well-written, does not contain hate speech (about any group), has a viable market, and doesn’t teach people how to perform illegal acts, we will publish it.
You CAN write a book with a political slant without forgetting your manners when discussing the “other side.” That’s called professionalism.
Some publishing companies have political correctness (PC) screeners who look for any and all words and phrases that might offend somebody. Even software companies are getting in on the game. NEWS FLASH: In this day and age, you’re going to offend somebody. That doesn’t mean you need to outright insult them, of course, but you can’t write anything today without offending SOMEBODY.
If this article has set off any triggers for you, you’ll be fine. I promise.
Despite a Few Readers’ Accusations, WritersWeekly is NOT a Political E-Rag! by Brian Whiddon, Managing Editor
How I Outwitted Government Censors to Publish My Book – by Leonard A. Slutsky
Some POD Publishers: “Buy a Manuscript Evaluation So We Can Upsell You on Our Editing Services!”
SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP! How to Handle Bad Book Reviews (Hint: Do NOT Ask Amazon to remove them!)
Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE
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Banning books, for whatever reason, reminds me of the Dark Ages.
An adult can decide for themselves if they want to read something or not.
I for one don’t want to be told what I can’t read because it contains…
I just commented and meant to write I agree with the earlier comment, not the above my comment. My mistake. I thought my comment would appear below the first one.
I want to thank you for having the courage to address this issue. As a librarian, I have helped promote Banned Books Week and realize that the fight against censorship will never end regardless of how it changes over time. I agree with the above comment and had the same thoughts about the issue. I also think that works that don’t fit in with current standards can include a preface that explains how society now views that writer. As an unpublished writer, I worry I will never be published and am grateful that you provide services for authors who don’t fit into current publishing trends. I certainly welcome more diversity in publishing but am disheartened that publishers feel they must accomplish it this way.
Thanks for writing this! The level of censorship, group think, and bullying we’re seeing now is detrimental to democracy and to all of us as individuals.
The unfortunate part is that the media (who should be promoting free thought) and big tech is complicit in this, IMO.
If we don’t feel free to share our ideas and feel like we have to monitor every word before speaking it for fear we’re going to be canceled, lose our livelihoods, or worse, how do we grow, learn, and make positive change when needed?
As always, BookLocker rocks! I have an indie-writer friend who recently shared a 1-star review she received on Amazon. Her book is a cozy mystery (no overt sex, language, blood and guts, etc., just an enjoyable whodunit) that takes place with a tour group of 5 couples in Paris. As it happens, one of the couples is a lesbian couple. The reviewer took issue with this, stating the author should have put a “warning” on the book cover that a lesbian couple was included in the story and “not everyone wants to read about that.” Of course, just about everyone in the FB writer’s group jumped to the defense of the author. And of course, the author has no intention of adding this or any other warning to her cover.
These twits need to make up their tiny minds. They scream that actors are “appropriating” culture by acting (whoda thunk an actor is supposed to act?) in roles, even voice roles, of POC. They boycott businesses who dare to make burritos and tacos and who aren’t Latin American. Can’t wear clothing that appropriates any other culture.
“They” also say “white” writers shouldn’t write about people they are not or with whom they don’t share experiences. Now they insist these groups be included. How about I just pretend I’m a black writer? It’s been done when a male writer pretended to be female, such as the Nancy Drew author–Carolyn Keene, and George Eliot.
A small group of people is turning society into the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and the rest of us are putting up with it.
Yes, thank goodness for self-publishing. The traditional publishers can go jump. No one is telling me how to write or what to write about.
It’s such a relief to hear you say all this, Angela. I’m against censorship, even of material I don’t like. And I think it’s unrealistic to expect writers 150 years ago to have predicted the sensibilities of our time. Maybe they “should have,” but as society evolves, so do mores. I still like Laura Ingalls Wilder, despite her prejudices. I think it’s fine if every new edition has a foreword or intro explaining the problematic nature of some of her observations, but I don’t believe in banning the books altogether. Same with movies. “I Love Lucy” has a lot of sexism and even physical spankings of Lucy by Ricky. It’s inappropriate, but I’m still going to enjoy the good parts of those shows. And if someone else chooses NOT to watch, that’s a choice they’re free to make. As an LGBTQ advocate, I’ll still reread my Harry Potter books, even if I think J.K. Rowling is wrong about trans issues. No writer is perfect, no book is perfect, and I have yet to find a perfect ideology. Thanks for offering writers a port in this cancel culture storm.
Johnny Townsend, I agree with everything you said, and you’re the kind of person this moderate conservative would love to have as a neighbor.