If you’ve had a lot of time on your hands lately, you may have been following the Tor boycott, originated by the Sad Puppies, who once said boycotts were bad, but now apparently they’re okay if undertaken for the right reason, i.e., a reason one supports. (I bought a Tor book a few days ago by an author I’d never heard of just because it was a Tor book.) The oddest thing, perhaps, about the Tor boycott is that at least one of the SPs is a Tor writer who goes to great lengths to say he’s “not supporting the boycott” in a way that shows he totally is, except he doesn’t want to hurt his own bottom line. Which is fine, everyone gets that, but you really ought just to admit it and shut up.
Still, it reminds me of the famous uproar over Orson Scott Card and his Ender’s Game movie. I don’t agree with OSC about gay rights, but I sold a story to him that he published last year. Because hey, money is money, and as long as his magazine doesn’t reflect views I find abhorrent, I’ve got no problem with us making money together. It’s not the first time I was published by right-wingers. I’m an equal opportunity writer: I’ve been published by pagans, too. I’m not going to go out and give every editor and publisher a litmus test. I’d run out of markets.
On the other hand, there was a furor a few years ago about a story in Weird Tales that people complained was racist. I read some of it; it was pretty insensitive, to say the least, but it was also awfully written. I had a sub in at WT at the time, but I eventually withdrew it because I didn’t want to be linked with a magazine that would publish that particular story. Because of the content or the craft? Both, really. But that time it was the magazine that offended me, not the publisher.
I’m seeing, though, that other people (unsurprisingly) have different views. I’ve seen writers admit they won’t sub to certain markets because of the political views of the publishers/editors. This is their right, of course, and I respect their integrity. But I’m also secretly glad that there’s less competition. Because I don’t discriminate on account of who’s behind the curtain.
Oh, wait, yes I do. The leader of the Rabid Puppies, Theodore Beale, runs a publishing house. I’ve not read any of his offerings, but I’m going to, because several are up for Hugos. I’m told they’re awful, but I’ll make that call myself. Regardless, I will never sub anything to that publisher–even if it would make me look good by comparison with their other titles–because I find the publisher’s views ugly and repellent–so much so that if you want to see his blog (which I don’t recommend), you’ll have to find it yourself. I will not link to it. Nor would I want my fiction affiliated with him in any fashion. (I have a suspicion the stories he sells reflect his views, but I don’t know yet.)
So there are places I won’t go to make a sale. Everybody’s line in the sand is different. But at the same time, when does someone become so anathema that you won’t do business with him? Does that ever change? Maybe that’s why lines are drawn in the sand; every once in a while you can wipe them out and draw new ones.