New Book Publisher Welcomes Conservative Writers Rejected Elsewhere

From a New York Times story by Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter “New Publisher Says It Welcomes Conservative Writers Rejected Elsewhere”:

Jared Kushner has a book deal, joining former White House officials like Kellyanne Conway and Mike Pence who are also writing books.

But others from the Trump administration have had a tougher time with mainstream publishers. Those companies have struggled to find a balance between promoting a range of voices — including conservative authors who can sell a lot of copies — and heeding their employees, readers and authors who consider it morally unacceptable to publish them.

Now there is a new publishing company, All Seasons Press, that wants those conservative authors and is pitching itself as an alternative to mainstream houses.

“The company is open to welcoming those authors who are being attacked, bullied, banned from social media, and, in some cases, outright rejected by politically correct publishers,” it said.

It isn’t the only outlet for former Trump officials. Mr. Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law and former senior adviser, has signed with Broadside, a conservative imprint at HarperCollins….Simon & Schuster has acquired Mr. Pence and Ms. Conway’s books, and Betsy DeVos, the former education secretary, has also sold a book.

But All Seasons is staking out territory that some mainstream publishers are wary to venture into, by courting former Trump officials who staunchly supported the president through the bitter end of his administration, including those who echoed the president’s false claims that the election was rigged. The company plans to release a book in the fall by Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, and another by Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s former trade adviser.

All Seasons is led by Kate Hartson and Louise Burke, both of whom ran conservative imprints at major publishers. Ms. Burke, the publisher of the new company, was the publisher of Threshold Editions at Simon & Schuster, where the authors she worked with included Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and former President Donald J. Trump. Ms. Hartson, the editor in chief of All Seasons, spent 10 years at Center Street, a Hachette imprint that published Donald Trump Jr., Senator Rand Paul, Newt Gingrich and Jeanine Pirro. Hachette dismissed Ms. Hartson earlier this year.

Ms. Hartson and Ms. Burke started their company because “we’re appalled to see the escalation of the broad censorship coming from the current administration, the media and big tech,” they said….

In addition to the books by Mr. Meadows and Mr. Navarro, All Seasons will publish “Rush on the Radio,” by James Golden, who goes by Bo Snerdley, a longtime producer of Mr. Limbaugh’s radio show. The company said it plans to release at least 10 books this year….

Like much of the rest of the media business, the publishing industry has become increasingly polarized in the post-Trump era, with firmer ideological lines being drawn in the wake of the riots at the Capitol in January.

“If you are an author who appears in any way to be defending Donald Trump, or were in any way affiliated with him, you are facing very rough seas among the major publishers,” said Matt Latimer, one of the founders of Javelin, a literary agency that specializes in political books. “It’s not impossible to get a book deal, but it’s not easy.”…

In a pointed statement in the All Seasons news release, Ms. Burke said: “We established All Seasons Press to be a publishing house that stands by our authors, rain or shine. We aren’t fair-weather friends.”

When major publishing houses have signed books by former Trump officials, the backlash has been intense. In April, after Simon & Schuster said it acquired two books by Mr. Pence, some employees and authors protested, and a petition demanding an end to the deal drew signatures from more than 200 employees and 3,500 outside supporters that month. Soon after, the news that Simon & Schuster had also signed Ms. Conway fueled a fresh round of criticism.

Jonathan Karp, Simon & Schuster’s chief executive, said in a letter to the company that it remained committed to publishing authors from across the political spectrum.

“We come to work each day to publish, not cancel,” Mr. Karp wrote, “which is the most extreme decision a publisher can make, and one that runs counter to the very core of our mission to publish a diversity of voices and perspectives.”…

Industry executives say there’s an enormous market for conservative books, particularly under a Democratic president and Congress. Under the Clinton and Obama administrations, publishers saw booming sales for right-wing books like Edward Klein’s “The Truth About Hillary” and Ben Shapiro’s “The People vs. Barack Obama.” Similarly, the Trump era proved profitable for publishers as readers devoured books by James Comey, John Bolton and Mary Trump that were critical of the president and his administration.

Publishers hope the reader interest stays strong. Sales for political titles in 2020 soared to 12.9 million print copies, a jump of nearly 60 percent from 2019, according to NPD BookScan. So far this year, political books have sold 3.3 million print units, up more than 20 percent compared with the same period in 2020….

Elizabeth A. Harris writes about books and publishing.

Alexandra Alter writes about publishing and the literary world. Before joining The Times in 2014, she covered books and culture for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, she reported on religion, and the occasional hurricane, for The Miami Herald.

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