I got an e-mail from Roy Robbins, publisher at Bad Moon Books, today. I’m forced to make a decision, and I’m not sure which way to go. To put it in perspective, Bad Moon is slated to publish Little Graveyard on the Prairie this fall and The Prometheus Syndrome in April 2010. He sent the e-mail to all his authors, apparently, offering to let us out of our contracts because of an online … issue.
I don’t read message boards and blogs as often as some of my author colleagues. I haven’t seen all the “homophobia” and “hate” that Roy has supposedly spouted. I saw a bit of a ruckus at The Other Dark Place, but that was one individual posting private e-mails that, frankly, showed how he misused money Roy paid him for collectible books and how Roy got upset at him. I read a bit and moved on, unaware at the time it was part of a long, ongoing issue that was only goiong to get worse.
The complexity of the issue didn’t really set in until I began looking for blurbs for Little Graveyard on the Prairie. I was a little surprised when some people declined to read the book because it was being published by a “homophobic jerk.” Brian Keene has weighed in on the issue, and several people have chimed in on Keene’s site and other places to say they won’t buy anything published by BMB.
Is Roy a homophobe? I don’t know. Being accused, even by a best-selling author like Keene, doesn’t make it so. Poppy Z. Brite once called me a bigot, and I think anyone who actually knows me would never believe that about me. I’ve never met Roy, never talked to him, have only passed e-mail in regards to the books he’s slated to publish. Do I care if he is? Eh. Bottom line, I’m engaged in a business deal with the owner of a company. His views on gays, abortion, the Iraq war, etc. shouldn’t have any bearing on whether or not he’ll honor the terms of our agreements.
I’m a capitalist. There are limited markets for a novelette the size of Little Graveyard on the Prairie. Roy will give me a set amount of money for the book, whether it sells one copy or the entire print run. Does his hate — real or perceived — devalue his money? No. Will publishing with Bad Moon Books hurt my career because some influential people have spoken out against the publisher? Ahh, that’s the question. I’d say probably not, as my agreements with Roy were in place before I knew about all this stuff. But, you never know.
Hopefully anyone reading this will realize that I do not support hate crimes. I believe people have the right to think whatever they want. If they choose to hate gay people or black people or brown people for being gay, black or brown, it’s their loss. If they think it’s okay to kill unborn babies, whatever. If they think Jews are to blame for the death of Jesus, that communism is a fair system of government, or that man was created by a cow licking a salt rock, that’s their business. If Roy said everything he’s accused off — and at this point it probably doesn’t matter if I follow every link looking to interpret for myself what was said — I believe he has every right to think what he thinks. But it was pretty damn dumb of him to post it online, or even put it in e-mail to someone who would have no problem posting private messages for all to see.
These are the things I’m thinking about as I ponder Roy’s offer of release. I could likely find another publisher for The Prometheus Syndrome, but what about Little Graveyard? I think it’s one of the best things I’ve written, but being only about 10,000 words, it would be hard to place a second time. And yet people are saying they won’t buy it because of the publisher, won’t review it because of the publisher, won’t consider it for awards because of the publisher.
What do you think?