Monday, September 27, 2010

A Home for Your Tea Party Memoir

I was born in a red state. I was later raised in a state that, not unlike Lindsay Lohan, has been known to swing both ways (moreso when in a retaliatory mood). Needless to say, I know more than a few people who continually bemoan the state of publishing/print media in general and its relentless "liberal bias." If you're one of those people, you're in luck! HarperCollins has just announced their new conservative imprint, Broadside Books.

As the article notes, the addition of conservative imprints to major publishers is not uncommon, though it is a relatively new phenomenon. Random House has Crown Forum; Simon & Schuster has Threshold Editions; Penguin has Sentinel. Publishers can print Karl Marx and Sarah Palin side-by-side under different imprints, and as the Tea Party furor continues to mount over the next year or two, I expect publishers to begin printing a lot more of the latter.

There's a sizable minority in the publishing industry that says—or at least jokes—that conservative voters don't read, so publishing books that cater to them is a waste of time and money. I'm certain that the continued success of books by politicians/pundits/celebrities like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Sean Hannity, not to mention their perpetual presence on the New York Times bestseller list, fairly refutes this notion; there can't be that many liberals buying these books out of morbid curiosity.

So, with all the usual caveats that: I am not a seer; I am not speaking from any inside or non-public knowledge; I am not providing professional advice; I am not responsible for your lost time or money in the event you decide to go ahead and do this, &c: if you're writing conservative non-fiction, political analysis, or memoir, especially anything Tea Party-oriented, you might have more of a chance at representation and good sales than you think. Just, you know, try to avoid ranting.

My personal politics notwithstanding, I'm encouraged by this quote from Adam Bellow, son of Saul Bellow and head of Broadside Books: "What I intend to do is uphold a standard of intellectual seriousness on the right. [These books] should be written in a way that they are serious, soberly argued, well researched, and make a respectable case—agree or disagree." If your book is well-researched and well-written, I see no reason why you shouldn't give the Liberal Book Publishing Machine a try.


  1. They buy them, but they don't actually read them. My father-in-law has a stack of them on the coffee table, on display, for when other like-minded folks come to visit.

  2. The commercial success of conservative books is already a pretty strong argument that whether or not the industry is dominated by left-thinkers, they will print a sellable book that caters to the right.

  3. I've heard the far-right have PACs that buy up books in bulk to boost sales ratings. And hey, if you need a hostess gift next time you're invited to a Pam Geller Neo-Nazi get-together you'll know right where to go.

  4. I am amused by the titles of the imprints. Anyone else see the theme?

  5. Amusingly, I worked at Thomas Dunne Books at St. Martin's Press in the early 2000s when they published Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader in the same month, under the same imprint! Although all of us who worked there were pretty left, the bottom line is, it's a business. The Buchanan book did better (and he was easier to work with) so guess whose option was picked up and whose was dropped?

  6. I live in a very rural, very red state. Conservative books are bought, read, and shared on a regular basis. In fact, my family and their friends devour them.

    I agree that all political books should be held to high standards for intellectual rigor, though there are many on the left or right that are published because they will sell, not because they meet high standards. (Ann Coulter or Al Gore, anyone?)

  7. (Ann Coulter or Al Gore, anyone?)

    Ahahahahahahah! Hahaha!



    Hoo boy.




  8. Hey, Nancy Pelosi's book sold well.