Hostile Publishers?

Have you seen this article yet, Banned by the Publisher? Nick Cole, who has had the privilege of a commericially successful book, lost a contract for fear a single chapter could be understood as socially unacceptable, “guaranteed to lose fifty percent of [the] audience,” and “deeply offensive.” Because it could be read as pro-life. Is that the kind of moral sensitivity running the publishing world these days? Are hostile publishers driving established, professional writers into self-publishing?


We might be tempted to think that getting a publisher’s attention is “enough” or “establishing,” but the truth is sadder than that. Even established authors can have struggles with the worldview or cultural zeitgeist at hand.

He still got his book out. He still has his voice. In fact, read it yourself and tell us all about it:

But, isn’t it something that even successful writers may need to self-publish? It sure isn’t encouraging.

On the other hand, who knows? Publishing houses can be complicated places, who have to factor marketing into the vast majority of their equations.

There are a lot of publishing houses out there, and frankly they can refuse any book. That is a necessary, rather than scandalous, point. And, well, do we want publishers who publish offensive material?

It’s good to realize that worldview and cultural sensibilities affect publishing, readership, distribution, marketing appeal, too. When push comes to shove, some of us may self-publish. Still, we can be grateful to God to live in an age with Christian publishing houses. With options, as limited as they may feel. We can give thanks that we are still part of the market.

Let’s not be hostile to one another. In fact, even if you’ve written an offensive chapter, I’m happy to encourage you still to write. Lutheran writers can stick together.

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Filed under As Christian Writers, Self-Publishing, Writer's Life

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