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Writers are philosophical creatures. We contemplate the meaning of Existence, and try to explicate the mysteries of Life through our Art. We know that although we do not possess the One Truth, we do possess the ability to articulate bits of Truth in a way others cannot. This explains our exalted position throughout history and why we are so well regarded (and compensated) today.

Okay, what writers really are is good liars. But the part of about philosophy is true, too, to some extent in every project. And sometimes it’s not in the project, but in the presentation.

It’s no secret that publishers and editors are people, and people have principles and ideas. Not everyone’s ideas and principles agree, and this applies to writers and the editors and publishers they sell to.

There have been some famous examples of this, the most recent being the Sad Puppies boycotting Tor. (Yes, they started the boycott for a specific reason, but they hated Tor’s editors already.) That’s not my point. I have sold stories to editors and publishers on both sides of the Great American Political Divide, mostly in cases where I didn’t know the “relevant” politics until later. In most cases, though, I still have no clue what politics or causes my editors and publishers espouse. The same applies to writers, although I do read some authors whose politics I know I disagree with.

What to do when I know ahead of time that a publisher holds beliefs I don’t hold? Ah, there’s the rub. I guess it’s just a matter of “what” and “how much.” What position does the publisher take? And how militant is the position? For me, it’s about the fiction. Obviously publishers and editors have their tastes. Aesthetic tastes dictate the magazine’s content. Do political tastes influence the market as well, and am I lending an implicit endorsement by publishing there?

If yes (and I disagree with their position), I’ll stay away. So far that doesn’t appear to have happened. And so far (to my knowledge) every time there has been a disagreement it’s been a matter of conflicting principles. I can write from differing viewpoints, and I like to think I can handle other people’s. If it’s a principled stand, I can handle it. If you’re using it to spew hate, that’s different.

I don’t believe in avoiding an author because I don’t like his politics. I don’t believe in blacklisting a market because I don’t agree with the publisher’s politics. And if I’ve sold a story, it’s a contract I will honor even if I find out something later I don’t agree with. With the way the internet works, however, it’s getting harder not to know ahead of time.

There are only so many markets in the world. It’s a balancing act. You have to be philosophical.

#SFWApro

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