Every budding writer wants, more than anything, to get a book deal; not only is this the ultimate sign of recognition (and it’s a-ok to want this), but it’s a way in which we can begin to support ourselves by doing what we love.
Publishing is not, however, above issues of morality, and I was disturbed and horrified to learn recently that Simon & Schuster have given Milo Yiannopoulos a hefty book deal which will allow him to publicly, legitimately, and loudly continue his sexist, vile, and racist discourse (the same for which he was banned from Twitter when it was levelled at the lovely and inimitable, Leslie Jones).
The backlash has, of course, been huge, but Simon & Schuster have issued a statement which amounts to “free speech neener neener, we’re not the bad guys”. They claim to be opposed to, or at least offer no support to, racism, sexism, and the other -isms which make the internet such a dangerous and upsetting place for many individuals, and yet they are doing just that in this case.
As a feminist and all-round advocate for general manners this disturbs me greatly, but as a writer it sent a shiver through my spine; can we, as a community that I like to think is pretty forward thinking, really allow such people to run our careers? Can I really support a publishing house that will support Yannopoulis? For me the answer is no; I will not be buying books published under this label, nor will I be submitting works to them for consideration, and I urge you to do the same. Big publishing houses get away with too much, and it’s time we showed them that their customer base, as well as the writers who put the butter on their bread, have a say.
One budding author and avid reader making such a stand will no good, but if many begin to do so Simon & Schuster might just listen. I will also be writing to them to let them know how I feel, if you want to do the same you can find their information here.