Wednesday, August 15, 2012

YOU are Not For Sale

Lately, I've been looking at eHouses. Trying to muddle through everything else before I self-publish a novella. Especially last night, I dived in and started digging through everything I could find, and always, always checking them against Absolute Write Water Cooler and Piers Anthony's Publisher Reviews. A Google search never hurt, either. If a house is bad business-wise, there are a ton of resources to find that out. Aside from the internet, talk to your network of writers, see if anyone has worked with them or knows someone that worked with them.

But, what if the business is fine, but something about them is wrong? I've now run across three (maybe more) ultra-Christian presses. Only one of them doesn't bother me. I won't name any names either way, but the two that really grind on my nerves have something in common: we don't see eye to eye. They have restrictions on content, which is fine. Every house has restrictions on content. But these houses both say that they will immediately reject anything that contains a GLBTQ character (I added the Q to make them seem more worldly--they didn't have it there, didn't even acknowledge the queer/questioning part of the milieu). One of them takes it a step further: they won't take anything anti-Christian or unpatriotic.

I'm not saying they aren't allowed to do that. In fact, I don't have a terribly huge problem with the first one at all--they have to sell to their audience, and they're audience doesn't do GLBT(Q). It's that second one that grates on me the most. If they would have said 'no religious discrimination' or forbid works that portrayed any country as the world's ultimate evil, I would be on board.

But they didn't. If somebody were to submit a well-written work where French pagans were the ultimate evil, nothing in their guidelines says anything about not accepting that.

Your work is what you're selling, not your soul. I will not submit to a house like that. To me, when I see them forbidding anti-Christian works, or GLBT(Q) works, or unpatriotic works, I start to flash on all the great bigots of history: the Inquisitors in Spain, the slave-owners in early America, the people that ship GLBTQ kids to camps where they can be 'fixed.' And, to me, that's a no-no.

Whatever your button is, whatever makes you feel like that, if you see it in guidelines (or anywhere, really), stay away. I can promise you, whatever they're offering is not worth it. It's not worth you. It's not worth that little bit of your soul.

Stepping off the soapbox,


Amalie said...

I understand the anti-gay propaganda to a certain extent. I don't UNDERSTAND it, but I know that is pervasive in most Christian religions i am familiar with. It would be better to say I expect it rather than understand it.

But Unpatriotic? WTF? I'm assuming this is an American press. Some folks that that God Bless the USA/In God We Trust(all others pay cash) stuff too seriously.

Mina Lobo said...

I agree; no contract is worth the feeling that you've sold out on your own code of ethics.
Some Dark Romantic