As a publisher, I feel it’s important to remain politically neutral when selecting books for publication. A well-written manuscript on any topic is still a well-written manuscript, regardless of my views on the topic. The essays in Repeat Offenders, by Bill Bonvie, definitely lean far more to the left than I do – the book also contains many clever and funny essays I thought deserved publication. Invisible Society Fables, by Phil Canalin, is a book of “fables” dealing with homelessness, which I feel is an important topic to discuss regardless of one’s political leanings. Finally, Improbable Cause, by Brandon and Sharia Mayfield, is about Brandon’s wrongful arrest after the 2004 Madrid train bombing. It’s a story that reminds us that taking liberties with civil liberties, even in the name of public safety, can have lasting consequences, and it was a story I felt needed to be told.
So why won’t I consider the many manuscripts I’ve received about the last election?
Perhaps it’s just that I’m burned out on politics. Living in New Hampshire, every four years I get the privilege of participating in the first primary for President of the United States. The down side of this is that, at least for the past two primaries, when the Republican and Democrat clown cars rolled into my state a full year before the primary, they were full of clowns. In 2016 there were 31 people on the New Hampshire Republican ballot for president. One percent of the final Republican primary vote went to Write-ins, meaning that write-ins had more votes as a group than 21 of the other candidates. Sadly, the Democrat clown car was just as full.
More likely, it’s that the books are predicable. About a year prior to a presidential election, I start receiving “dystopian election outcome” queries from both sides claiming that, if the “other side” wins the election, the result will be the destruction of the world. After a presidential election, I start receiving the “sour grapes and roses” submissions, which fall into three categories: 1) I told you things would be horrible if you elected them, 2) I told you things would be wonderful if you elected them, and 3) they stole the election. Manuscripts in all of these categories tend to be one-sided with very little supporting evidence and don’t make very good reading. So sadly, I will also be passing on manuscripts in these categories four years from now, because I’m just not the right publisher for one-sided essays light on facts and long on rhetoric.
While I could tell you how I ended up voting in the past few primaries, I think that’s a personal thing. I will tell you that, in the past two Republican primaries, after careful consideration I couldn’t really support any of the choices I was given. I suppose I could write a book about my voting quandary, but I’m just not convinced I would be the right publisher for the manuscript…