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Mormon Authors Support Gay Colleague, Call for Quality Not Sexuality to Guide Publishing Decisions

In Utah, Mormon authors are coming to the defense of colleagues who say their publisher dropped them over a reference to a gay male partner in one of their bios, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported this weekend:

“As of Saturday morning, 41 Mormon authors had signed a letter asking publishers to base decisions on ‘content, quality, and commercial viability, not on any other factor.'”

Earlier this month, David Powers King and Michael Jensen, co-authors of the young adult fantasy novel, Woven, went public with their complaint against Cedar Fort Publishing’s Sweetwater Books.  They said the publisher refused to include the line, “He lives in Salt Lake City with his boyfriend and their four dogs,” in Jensen’s book jacket bio.  Jensen said he offered to change “boyfriend” to “partner.” When that didn’t satisfy the publisher, the deal was off.

Cedar Fort has not commented on the controversy. But in an email to Jensen that he made public, acquisitions editor Angie Workman expressed concern that the line would offend Mormon bookstore buyers, saying, “We will have much better sales if we can get into Deseret Book and Seagull.”

Apparently, Mormon authors aren’t so easily put off by references to homosexuality. Many of those who signed the letter supporting Jensen and King are or have been published by Cedar Fort, including Ryan Rapier, author of The Reluctant Blogger.

“Rapier also said he was rejected by another LDS publisher, Covenant Communications, for the stated reason that his book had a gay character. And his acquisitions editor at Cedar Fort, Angie Workman, was the same editor who raised a red flag over Jensen’s bio.

‘It’s very odd,’ Rapier said, ‘because they had chosen to take a risk with my book.'”