News happens fast and furious on the Internet. I’m writing this post Tuesday night and by the time this posts on Wednesday morning, who knows what may have changed?
I’ve been following the Jessica Verday tweets and blog posts about the non-inclusion of one of her short stories in an anthology because the story included a male/male romance. She was asked to change the romance to male/female; she refused. Verday first shared what had happened in Being Gay is Okay and then, as responses and clarifications came in, she posted again in Wicked Pretty Things – Running Press and Constable & Robinson Respond. Her last post was, appropriately enough, The End. These posts (and the comments) include the multiple layers involved; basically, “The young adult anthology Wicked Pretty Things, due to be co-published in the United States by Running Press, was commissioned by Constable & Robinson Ltd, which is wholly responsible for its content. Running Press has no direct association with Trisha Telep, the editor of the anthology.” (From Constable & Robinson statement at Verday blog). So, two publishers, one editor, multiple authors.
Publishers Weekly published The Misinformation Age: What Happens When A Headline Goes Viral, written by the publisher involved. In a nutshell, the publisher separates itself from the actions of the editor who requested the change: “Running Press guidelines for YA anthologies do not exclude diverse lifestyles. C&R’s freelance editor was incorrect in stating this to the author, and furthermore, she never informed C&R—which in turn did not inform Running Press of the editor’s request.”
Information does travel quickly; sometimes this results in misinformation. Sometimes, it is not so much misinformation as multiple venues. People are cross-talking and not realizing what has been said elsewhere. It can be hard to follow what is going on, especially when some of the conversation is at one blog, some is on Twitter, some is going on elsewhere.
Thank goodness for those who keep on top of it for the rest of us. The must-read round ups and ongoing analysis of the situation that I’ve read to stay up to date are by Cleolinda: Sit Down and Get Comfortable; Wicked Pretty Update; Wicked Pretty Update #3: The Wickeding; Wicked Pretty Update #4: The Prettying. Cleolinda writes at LiveJournal, which has been up and down recently, so if those links don’t work try her mirror website. I’d recommend reading all this (yes, it’s a lot) because new information (or new perspectives) keep getting added, including how other authors are reacting to this. And a typical contract used for anthologies.
My thoughts? Transparency is important, and Verday has forced transparency. I think Verday is in a tough place, and she has handled it with grace and honestly.
Edited to add: Cleolinda’s Wicked Pretty Update #5: Wick Harder
Edited on April 11 to add: The anthology has been cancelled. Details at Cleolinda, Cleolinda’s Wicked Pretty Update #6: The Canceling.