By: Fern Sidman
As the era of “wokeism” and “cancel culture” continue to pervade our daily lives, ad nauseum, it appears that free speech and the free expression of the written word is under brutal assault, with no respite on the horizon.
According to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun, writers with politically conservative proclivities are finding it quite difficult or nearly impossible to get a book deal with a mainstream publishing house. It appears that the publishing industry is concerned with fierce blowback from readers, employees and others who find conservative dogma to be morally reprehensible.
The Sun report indicated that those who worked in the Trump administration and who wish to pen books detailing their experiences are facing the problem of their publishing options being circumscribed to them.
There are some exceptions, however.
Former President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner garnered a book deal with Broadside Books, a conservative imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, according to a recent Associated Press report. Broadside announced that Kushner’s book will come out in early 2022. Kushner has begun working on the memoir, currently untitled, and is expected to write about everything from the Middle East to criminal justice reform to the pandemic, as was reported by the AP.
“His book will be the definitive, thorough recounting of the administration — and the truth about what happened behind closed doors,” Broadside announced Tuesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.
AP reported that the signing of Kushner comes during an ongoing debate within the book industry over which Trump officials, notably Trump himself, can be taken on without starting a revolt at the publishing house. Hundreds of Simon & Schuster employees and thousands from outside the company signed a petition this spring condemning the publisher’s decision to sign up former Vice President Mike Pence.
At a Simon & Schuster town hall in May, employees confronted CEO Jonathan Karp, who responded that he felt the company had a mission to hear opposing sides of political debates, as was reported by that AP. He also said that he did not want to publish Trump, who issued his 2015 book “Crippled America” through the Simon & Schuster imprint Threshold Editions, because he didn’t think the former president would provide an honest account of his time in office.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Karp’s decision to proceed with Pence’s books came after the company scrapped plans to publish “The Tyranny of Big Tech” by Sen. Josh Hawley, citing the Missouri Republican’s role in challenging the presidential election results on Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Conservative publisher Regnery Publishing later put out the book.
Simon & Schuster has also acquired books by Kellyanne Conway, a Trump advsior and Betsy DeVos, the former education secretary in the Trump administration.
AP reported that Trump issued a statement last week that he was “writing like crazy” and had turned down two offers “from the most unlikely of publishers,” a claim widely disputed within the industry.
For those conservative authors who feel left out in the cold in the publishing world, it appears that there is yet hope that their views can be shared with the masses. According to the Baltimore Sun, there is now a new publishing company, “All Seasons Press, that wants those conservative authors and is pitching itself as an alternative to mainstream houses.”
In a press release issued on Tuesday, All Seasons Press said, “The company is open to welcoming those authors who are being attacked, bullied, banned from social media, and, in some cases, outright rejected by politically correct publishers.”
As was reported by the Baltimore Sun, All Seasons is particularly seeking those former Trump officials who have stood by the former president’s side through thick and thin and have even echoed Trump’s belief that the 2020 election was indeed rigged and thusly stolen from him.
Because such hypotheses are considered anathema in the mainstream media who have made it their mission to incessantly assail this line of thinking, authors who wish to embellish on these theories are boxed into a corner and summarily silenced.
The Sun reported that this fall, All Seasons has plans to release a book written by Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, and another by Peter Navarro, Trump’s former trade adviser.
Moreover, All Seasons will publish “Rush on the Radio,” by James Golden, who goes by Bo Snerdley, a longtime producer of Limbaugh’s radio show, according to the Sun report. The company said it planned to release at least 10 books this year and, unlike many independent publishers, would handle its own distribution.
According to a WSJ report, All Seasons is led by Louise Burke, the former president and publisher of Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books Group, and Kate Hartson, whom Hachette Book Group dismissed as editorial director of its Center Street imprint earlier this year. Center Street has published works by Donald Trump, Jr, Senator Rand Paul, Newt Gingrich and Fox TV’s Judge Jeanine Pirro.
Burke worked with such authors as Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Donald Trump.
Speaking to the WSJ, Burke said, “I’m increasingly concerned and somewhat outraged about what’s going on in terms of free speech and free press.” She retired in 2017 after a 40-year career.
In an e-mail exchange with the Baltimore Sun, Hartson and Burke said they started All Seasons because “we’re appalled to see the escalation of the broad censorship coming from the current administration, the media and Big Tech. People are being fed a false narrative about the history and current state of our great nation, and even being told what words to use and what to think.”