So yesterday in my news post I wrote about Jessica Verday being asked by editor Trisha Telep to change her story for the YA anthology Wicked Pretty Things because it contained gay romance. Since then, the publishers of the anthology, Running Press and Constable & Robinson, have issued a response, which you can read on Verday’s blog. In my opinion, their ambiguity on the matter is entirely unsatisfying, and apparently others agree because five more writers have now pulled their stories from the anthology in protest.
Besides Verday, the authors who have removed their stories so far are listed below, along with links to their various blog posts/tweets about their decision.
In addition, author Melissa Marr has told the editor she does not want her name associated with the anthology, and authors Saundra Mitchell, Ann Aguirre, and Maria Lima have pulled their stories out of other anthologies edited by Telep. Author Caitlin Kittredge has also said she will not sell any more of her stories to Running Press or Constable & Robinson as long as they employ Telep.
Wow. That’s a lot of people coming down on Telep and the publishers and it makes me want to cheer. This shit storm probably isn’t over, so I’ll try to post updates as it continues to unfold. For more info, Cleolinda Jones wrote two great posts following the events here and here and The Sparkle Project is also covering it here and here.
For the record, the writers protesting this anthology have my full support and admiration. Over ‘n out.
UPDATE (April 1st): Cleolinda has posted the latest news. Two more authors – Andrew Smith and Stacia Kane – have dropped out of related anthologies, and Telep has posted a formal apology as a comment on Verday’s blog. Links in the article.
Also, Book Lovers Inc. discusses the topic of homophobia in publishing in their latest news post. I had no idea that authors Brandon Sanderson and Orson Scott Card hold anti-gay beliefs because of their religion. Personally, if I disagree with an author’s opinion, I try not to let that influence what I think about their books, but I realize that’s easier said than done.
UPDATE (April 5th): Wow, this is far from over. Publishers Weekly just posted an article from the publisher of Running Press called The Misinformation Age: What Happens When a Headline Goes Viral which completely misrepresents the facts of what happened and portrays Verday as some kind of trouble maker. This is insane! It sounds like he didn’t even read Verday’s blog or speak with any of the authors withdrawing their stories! Here’s a great post from Dear Author that covers this horrendous article.
As always, Cleolinda has the latest news – and there’s a lot of it. Here are her third and fourth updates, and I have a feeling there will be more to come. The Sparkle Project is also keeping us updated here.
What strikes me the most is that no one from the publishing houses has ever publicly criticized Telep, only denied their association with her (which is still ambiguous) and said, "We support the GLBT community" (which is great, but they also continue to support Telep). Cleolinda speculates, and I would agree, that this is all really about money. Apparently, Telep has a bunch of anthologies in the works, some of which are expected to be big sellers.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how the situation develops. And the WTFery continues…
UPDATE (April 6th): It looks like this might finally die down. Verday has posted her final thoughts and Cleolinda has composed a nice summary along with a few more remarks. One of the issues she brings up is the question of how this whole fiasco will affect the careers of Verday and the authors who supported her. It’s sad to think that publishers might refuse to work with them in the future because of that one damaging Publishers Weekly article that didn’t even have the facts straight.
All I can say is that I greatly admire Verday and those other authors for standing up against bigotry and doing what they thought was right, no matter the consequences. More people should be like them.
UPDATE (April 12th): Well, it looks like Wicked Pretty Things is getting canceled. After all that backlash, this was probably inevitable. You can read more about it on Cleolinda’s blog. There are still some questions floating around… Was Telep motivated, as least in part, by fear of getting fired? Is it possible that we’ll get to read the authors’ stories on Jim C. Hines’ blog? Despite the lingering speculation, I think it’s safe to say that this mess it pretty much over, by which I mean that the Wicked Pretty Things mess is over, not any and all discrimination against GLBT characters in the publishing industry. That will change eventually, I hope, but I suspect our culture still has quite a ways to go.