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Thursday News: Feminist fights back against online harassers; Cedar Fort cancels...

The meme had over 2000 shares, 10,000 likes and nearly 1000 comments. Broderick was upset but refused to allow these horrible people to keep her down. Facebook wouldn’t remove it even when she requested it be taken down because “it didn’t violate their Community Standards.” She created another tumblr so people can submit pictures of what a Feminist looks like.

Go Kelly Martin Broderick. You are an awesome, strong, fabulous and gorgeous human being. Thank you for being a feminist. XO Jane

On August 2, 2013, Mr. Jensen received his page proofs but noticed that his bio wasn’t current. In response, his editor said “I was concerned about your bio and wondered what effect it would have with our LDS buyers, so I spoke with Lyle about it. He says we can’t risk ruining our relationship with them by stating you live with your boyfriend, so we need to cut that part out…I hope you can understand our objective with this.

Mr. Jensen asked to change boyfriend to “partner” which was what it stated in the original bio he had submitted. “He lives in Salt Lake City with his partner and their four dogs.” Ms. Workman, the editor, wrote back “I noticed that when you first sent in your bio and asked them to delete that…We’ll need to take that out as well.” Author Jensen disagreed with this, not wanting to erase his relationship with his partner.

In response, that same day, Publisher Lyle Mortimer told the author that Mr. Jensen could buy back his rights “Otherwise, we are going ahead without bios.” Mr. Jensen also claims that Publisher Mortimer cast aspersions on Mr. Jensen’s character in a telephone call. Cedar Fort then canceled the contract and returned the rights to the two authors.

This is a deeply unfortunate situation but hopefully the authors can find a new home for the book. PDF Link

Random House signed Beth Reekles of The Kissing Booth to a three book contract.  Reekles had over 40 million hits to her free fiction at Wattpad. It sold well in the UK but according to NovelRank, her book never cracked the top 2,000 of books sold at Amazon.  This doesn’t mean that Random House and other publishers shouldn’t be experimenting.  They should.  I just wonder if this particular partnership will work.

The Kissing Booth

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

27 Comments

  1. Spinster
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 07:57:23

    Mental note: do not buy from Cedar Fort or Desert Publishing. Plenty of other ebooks in the cloud, after all.

  2. Anne
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 08:19:51

    I believe the LDS publishing house is actually called Deseret Publishing.

  3. hapax
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 08:24:45

    If they are LDS-affiliated, I suspect that “Desert Publishing” is a typo for “Deseret Publishing”. I don’t want an innocent publisher to be boycotted.

    I looked at the “author guidelines” for Deseret Publishing and the most relevant thing I could find was

    Deseret Book publishes many kinds of books and other products, but all of them reflect the values espoused by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Presumably the text of the book itself reflects those “values”. It doesn’t say anything about the requirement that the author’s life reflects those values. What if the author bio notes that the author smokes or drinks coffee? Would that also be censored?

  4. mari
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 08:48:59

    @hapax

    Well yes, smoking and drinking would be censored in the author bio if your market happens to be people for whom those things are an affront to God. If you want these people to buy your book, you have to at least pretend to respect their values. But if its more important that you be out and proud, then you’ve made your choice.

  5. hapax
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 08:59:49

    If you want these people to buy your book, you have to at least pretend to respect their values. But if its more important that you be out and proud, then you’ve made your choice.

    Really?

    I mean, REALLY?

    Do you really think that it’s the responsibility of an authors to conduct their private affairs to suit the taste of a crowd of Pecksniffian critics, rather than simply to deliver the best books that they can? Do you hold any other artists, professionals, or any one else who eventually receives your money to the same standard?

    And does “respecting their values” mean that you have to “CONFORM to their values” or just allow them the right to live their lives as they choose — the same right you ask for yourself?

    And what the heck kind of “values” system deems acknowledging your life partner exists an “affront to God”?

  6. Amanda
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 09:00:18

    What the guy (Lyle) supposedly said to Mr. Jenson on the telephone was atrociously bad behavior coming from someone in a professional setting. The publisher knew he was gay from the beginning. They knew of his biography. Why shouldn’t he be able to say he lives with his partner. It’s a clean read, otherwise. Why did the publisher wait so long before making a stink about the bio?

  7. Sunita
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 09:09:27

    Reading the attached pdf, I don’t think Deseret Book (a subsidiary of Deseret Management Co., which is wholly owned by the LDS church) had any direct involvement with this. Cedar Fort is an independent LDS-oriented publisher and its relationship with Deseret Books is presumably about getting their publications into the Deseret Book stores. The Cedar Fort editor says

    We will have much better sales if we can get into Deseret Book and Seagull, so that’s what we need to focus on.

    The press release at the beginning of the pdf explicitly says that Deseret Book carries books by gay authors.

    This looks like a decision Cedar Fort made by itself, anticipating concerns without showing any concrete evidence for them.

  8. Isobel Carr
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 09:19:24

    @mari:

    *scrapes jaw off floor*

    Cedar Fort bought the rights to his book, not the rights to his life.

  9. Heidi Belleau
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 12:40:55

    All I can say is, shame on this press, and if that’s the kind of readership they want to court, then I’ll gladly make sure I’m never a part of it.

    Here’s hoping that the publicity from this fiasco gets the author a better book deal with a reputable, inclusive publisher, and that it translates into thousands of sales that the LDS-and-affiliates will never get to put their grimy hands on. Less money in their pockets the better.

  10. Heidi Belleau
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 12:44:55

    And as to that horrid “This is what a feminist looks like” meme, I will say I agree with the meme’s imposed caption because I look at that picture and see a confident, gorgeous woman proud of who she is and willing to face scorn in order to stand up for herself. So yeah, she looks exactly like a feminist to me.

  11. Emily A.
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 13:05:37

    @Mari
    As far as I understand, the book was a young adult book. That meant the Target audience was young adults, regardless of religion, sexual orientation or race. It was not labeled necessarily labeled Christian/Inspirational/Mormon young adult. There was never any indication that his book was marketed toward LDS-members only.
    Second of all just because the publishers have certain values doesn’t mean the audience or target audience for a certain book has those values. If Cedar Fort is going to try to market a Young Adult book, only to young adults that are Mormon then are missing out on a big share of the market. Stephenie Meyers (a Mormon) is one of the biggest names in the young adult market, and that is because the books she writes are aimed at all young adults (or probably predominantly female young adults) and not just Mormons.
    Anyway I think Isobel Carr is right. They don’t have to right to judge: their imput should be limited to the book.

  12. Spinster
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 14:09:13

    @hapax: “a crowd of Pecksniffian critics” may have just made my week.

    And to answer your question:

    “And what the heck kind of “values” system deems acknowledging your life partner exists an “affront to God”?

    …that would be religious (generally monotheisic) fundamentalism. A.k.a. the Pecksniffian crowd.

  13. Jackie Barbosa
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 14:13:25

    Just FYI, the Ruthie Knox book that’s being launched on Wattpad is Truly and based on what her website says about it and the fact that it’s being published under her Ruthie Knox brand, I believe it’s a standard adult contemporary. Her New Adult novels are being published under a different name, Robin York.

  14. Willaful
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 14:32:59

    I wanted to mention that much beloved romance author Carla Kelly is now published by Cedar Fort. So the voices of romance readers in protest to this company could potentially have some clout.

  15. Isobel Carr
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 15:27:43

    @Willaful: Yep. And I feel bad that I won’t be buying any of ther Cedar Fort books, but not bad enough to give that publisher money.

  16. Miss Bates
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 15:37:41

    @Willaful:
    Thank you, Willaful, I wanted to bring up that very point. Cedar Fort (under the label Sweetwater Books, I believe) is re-issuing some of Kelly’s older titles. Intermix/Penguin also does so & Harlequin still publishes her as well.

  17. E
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 15:55:50

    While I disagree with Cedar Fort’s decision not to publish this author’s work, they aren’t holding him hostage. They realized that this author did not conform to their religious moral views and the views that they would like to display to their readership, so they offered a choice to remove any reference to his partner or receive the rights to his book back. He chose to buy the rights back.

    This publisher has every right to publish what they want. If this book goes on to become the next Twilight, then they screwed themselves out of a lot of cash due to their religious convictions, but that’s still their right. They never told the guy he had to not be gay. They have zero control over how he conducts his life. They made a decision to not associate themselves with an openly gay author. The author then chose to stand for his own convictions and good for him. Frankly, who’d want to work with people who hate your lifestyle and believe you’re going to hell? Hopefully, he’ll find a publisher for his book that is excited about the quality of the book and not the bio of its author.

  18. Anne
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 16:33:26

    @E: I’ve been stewing over this all day and I’ve decided that Cedar Fort DID hold them hostage for at least 8 months. That contract was signed back in January. CF knew the guy was gay and in a relationship at the time of signing with the bios being submitted a short time later. It is now almost September.

    Cedar Fort is entitled to publish whomever they want but they never should have signed these guys if they weren’t all into the deal. Aren’t these the people that are supposed to nurture and promote authors? If the pdf referenced is accurate, I think it reasonable to assume the authors were harmed by that 8 month time lag.

    WRT to Carla Kelly, this is from her blog ,Carla Kelly.
    : She was supposed to be at a book signing at BYU this week but was disinvited by Cedar Fort because she also writes for Harlequin.

    I’m adding Cedar Fort to my list of publishers behaving badly while hoping the publicity from this turns out to be beneficial to the authors in the way of a bigger, better deal.

  19. Anne
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 16:39:45

    @Willaful: According to Carly Kelly’s blog she was just disinvited to a signing at BYU because she also writes for Harlequin. It reads like Cedar Fort did the disinviting but I’m not sure.

    Carla Kelly.

  20. Moriah Jovan
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 17:15:32

    There is an undercurrent in Mormon literature circles that the owner of Cedar Fort’s just your plain, ordinary asshole who gets his back up when he’s questioned, then doubles down when pressed.

    Consider: Cedar Fort JUST LAST WEEK published a book that “contains a sub-plot that deals directly with homosexuality.”

    I won’t go so far as to invoke Carla Kelly’s name (@willaful, she can’t get out of her shitty contract any more than any of the others), but Cedar Fort is the type of publisher we in romancelandia would have run out of town on a rail anyway.

    This has nothing to do with a religion and nothing to do with homosexuality. It has to do with one asshole running an operation that’s always treated its authors like shit.

  21. Willaful
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 17:55:34

    I’m not at all trying to blame or target Kelly, my point is just that this publishing house has a base of romance fans. A united protest from such a base could have an impact.

  22. Moriah Jovan
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 18:04:09

    @Willaful: Oh, no! I didn’t take it that way at all.

    What I’m saying is that, with regard to the owner of Cedar Fort, no protest, no matter how well organized or how large or why (e.g., everybody being Carla Kelly fans) would make a lick of difference to him.

  23. Moriah Jovan
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 18:26:19

    @Willaful: Oh, no, I knew what you meant.

    What I’m saying is that with regard to the owner of Cedar Fort, no amount of pressure will make any difference.

  24. Sirius
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 21:53:35

    Unfortunately for me it would be meaningless to boycot Cedar Fort – I never heard of this publisher before today, was not buying anything from them. If I accidentally will be considering a book which will turn out being published by that publisher, of course I won’t buy it. But I surely will hope that karma would come to bite them-I also hope it will be in the for of authors finding a new home for the book and being very successful with it.

  25. Sirius
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 22:08:13

    @hapax: just what you said, every word only much more eloquent than I would have.

  26. JessP
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 23:21:55

    In reading Carla Kelly’s blog entry, I got the strong impression it was BYU doing the disinviting, not Cedar Fort. I can’t see why writing for Harlequin would get a Mormon author disinvited from a booksigning by BYU, but she goes on to talk about having learned so much while studying at the history department there, and that when she returns to the campus (to attend plays, etc.) she’ll probably have to wear a scarlet A. None of that changes the stupidity of the Cedar Fort owner. It certainly doesn’t paint BYU in a good light, either.

  27. Author
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 12:11:37

    Just pointing out that Novelrank is completely useless in terms of sales numbers. I’ve tried to use it a handful of times and it will tell me I sold something like 270 books on Amazon one month when, in fact, I sold close to 4k. It’s never been even remotely correct in tabulating what my sales actually are.

    You’d be better off casting some runes or consulting the stars to discern an author’s sales numbers.

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