Some of my readers may have seen the news about the Cedar Fort book contract that was cancelled this week because the publisher refused to allow one of the authors of Woven, Michael Jensen, to reference his partner in his author bio, and this refusal came just hours before the book went to press.
You can read more about the dispute in this Salt Lake Tribune article.
Discussions about this incident also occurred in the LDS author community. As a result of the things learned about the situation, I chose to join other authors in signing a petition of support for Michael Jensen and David Powers King.
My reason for signing: Publishers have a responsibility to honor their contracts, and they must treat their authors with respect. You can read the petition here: Mormon Writers Petition.
This story has been picked up by the Salt Lake Tribune, the Associated Press, and is being carried by ABC News. Because of the attention that it is getting, I want to be very clear about why I signed that petition.
First of all, I support the right of a publisher to publish or not publish a manuscript, at their sole discretion. But publisher submission guidelines typically have a submission form where information about the author, including the author’s bio, is requested, and that info is gathered very early in the contract negotiation process. Cedar Fort is no different. You can go to their webpage and read their submission guidelines here.
My entire issue with this dispute is that Cedar Fort knew these personal details about this author when he signed, and then the publisher changed the game mid-stream, hours before the book went to press. That is not acceptable. If they had an issue with Mr. Jensen, they never should have offered him a contract in the first place. But they did. And therefore, they have an obligation to fulfill it.
Second, in signing this petition of support, I am supporting Michael Jensen the author, as a business person who has been seemingly wronged by a poorly behaved publishing house. My signing does not indicate that I, as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, am condoning or supporting his gay lifestyle.
But to be clear, I do support Mr. Jensen’s right to make that lifestyle choice. It is his choice. And nobody deserves to be treated in a disrespectful way.
I wish both authors, Michael Jensen, and David Powers King, the best of luck in their search for a new publishing venue. I hope their book is a great success . . . it sounds like a fun story!