Frontlist | A potential Trump memoir is being opposed by hundreds of editors, writers, and agents - who have signed an open letter against itFrontlist | A potential Trump memoir is being opposed by hundreds of editors, writers, and agents - who have signed an open letter against it
on Jan 20, 2021
Hundreds of authors, editors, and agents signed an open letter asking the world's publishers to skip a post-presidency memoir from Donald Trump.
The letter, No Book Deals for Traitors, was created by novelist Barry Lyga, as The Los Angeles Times and Publisher's Weekly reported. Lyga's letter opposed any book from members of Trump's administration.In part, it read: As members of the writing and publishing community of the United States, we affirm that participation in the administration of Donald Trump must be considered a uniquely mitigating criterion for publishing houses when considering book deals. Among the growing list of co-signers were staffers from each of the five biggest publishing houses, Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan.
Lyga told Insider on Sunday he'd been noodling with a version of the letter for a while, but the Capitol riots on January 6 really crystallized the idea. Afterwards, he began emailing people he knew in publishing, asking them to sign on.The letter read: And no one who incited, suborned, instigated, or otherwise supported the January 6, 2021 coup attempt should have their philosophies remunerated and disseminated through our beloved publishing houses.
When Lyga started tweeting about it last week, co-signers began flooding in.That's all it took - it grew organically. A lot of people feel passionately about this, Lyga said.
On Friday, The Los Angeles Times and Publisher's Weekly wrote about the letter, which had about 250 signatures at the time.
Since then, the number of co-signers doubled, Lyga said. He said he planned to update the list every few days, as more names flowed in.
Trump hasn't said publicly whether he plans to write a memoir, but doing so has become a usual milestone for ex-presidents. Barack Obama's A Promised Land sold about 887,000 copies in its first 24 hours. An instant best seller, boxes of the 768-page book filled the aisle and stockrooms of indie bookstores around the world.
The prospect of a Trump memoir has been filling the publishing world with dread, as Insider reported in December.
Insider also reported in November that the first Lady, Melania Trump, was also reportedly trying to secure a book deal.
Lyga said he had heard from critics, who accused him of censorship.
He said he doesn't know if publishers will listen. But he took it as a good sign that Simon & Schuster canceled The Tyranny of Big Tech, a book by Senator Josh Hawley, who opposed certifying the November election results.We believe publishers want to do the right thing, but as in almost any industry, memories can be short and profit can be persuasive. We are serving as a reminder of what the market will and will not accept from publishers, Lyga said.
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