Bad Moon Books


I got an e-mail from Roy Robbins, publisher at Bad Moon Books, today. I’m forced to make a decision, and I’m not sure which way to go. To put it in perspective, Bad Moon is slated to publish Little Graveyard on the Prairie this fall and The Prometheus Syndrome in April 2010. He sent the e-mail to all his authors, apparently, offering to let us out of our contracts because of an online … issue.

I don’t read message boards and blogs as often as some of my author colleagues. I haven’t seen all the “homophobia” and “hate” that Roy has supposedly spouted. I saw a bit of a ruckus at The Other Dark Place, but that was one individual posting private e-mails that, frankly, showed how he misused money Roy paid him for collectible books and how Roy got upset at him. I read a bit and moved on, unaware at the time it was part of a long, ongoing issue that was only goiong to get worse.

The complexity of the issue didn’t really set in until I began looking for blurbs for Little Graveyard on the Prairie. I was a little surprised when some people declined to read the book because it was being published by a “homophobic jerk.” Brian Keene has weighed in on the issue, and several people have chimed in on Keene’s site and other places to say they won’t buy anything published by BMB.

Is Roy a homophobe? I don’t know. Being accused, even by a best-selling author like Keene, doesn’t make it so. Poppy Z. Brite once called me a bigot, and I think anyone who actually knows me would never believe that about me. I’ve never met Roy, never talked to him, have only passed e-mail in regards to the books he’s slated to publish. Do I care if he is? Eh. Bottom line, I’m engaged in a business deal with the owner of a company. His views on gays, abortion, the Iraq war, etc. shouldn’t have any bearing on whether or not he’ll honor the terms of our agreements.

I’m a capitalist. There are limited markets for a novelette the size of Little Graveyard on the Prairie. Roy will give me a set amount of money for the book, whether it sells one copy or the entire print run. Does his hate — real or perceived — devalue his money? No. Will publishing with Bad Moon Books hurt my career because some influential people have spoken out against the publisher? Ahh, that’s the question. I’d say probably not, as my agreements with Roy were in place before I knew about all this stuff. But, you never know.

Hopefully anyone reading this will realize that I do not support hate crimes. I believe people have the right to think whatever they want. If they choose to hate gay people or black people or brown people for being gay, black or brown, it’s their loss. If they think it’s okay to kill unborn babies, whatever. If they think Jews are to blame for the death of Jesus, that communism is a fair system of government, or that man was created by a cow licking a salt rock, that’s their business. If Roy said everything he’s accused off — and at this point it probably doesn’t matter if I follow every link looking to interpret for myself what was said — I believe he has every right to think what he thinks. But it was pretty damn dumb of him to post it online, or even put it in e-mail to someone who would have no problem posting private messages for all to see.

These are the things I’m thinking about as I ponder Roy’s offer of release. I could likely find another publisher for The Prometheus Syndrome, but what about Little Graveyard? I think it’s one of the best things I’ve written, but being only about 10,000 words, it would be hard to place a second time. And yet people are saying they won’t buy it because of the publisher, won’t review it because of the publisher, won’t consider it for awards because of the publisher.

What do you think?

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11 thoughts on “Bad Moon Books

  1. Do I care if he is? Eh. Bottom line, I’m engaged in a business deal with the owner of a company. His views on gays, abortion, the Iraq war, etc. shouldn’t have any bearing on whether or not he’ll honor the terms of our agreements.
    This speaks volumes to me, Steve. I’m a capitalist, too, but I also have certain principles that I’m unwilling to devalue or ignore. I’ve walked away from friendships, businesses, and writer because they expressed horribly bigoted opinions in even less public ways than Roy has. I know it’s cliched, but I really believe you do know a man by the company he keeps.
    That said, if you entered into a contract with BMB before you learned about all of this, I certainly wouldn’t hold anything against you for following through on that obligation. I won’t be buying that or any other BMB publication, nor will any of them be reviewed in Dead Reckonings. Not a slight on you, but I just can’t support that business, just as I won’t patronize a store whose owner expresses vitriolic bigotry. And if you were to continue entering into contracts with BMB beyond the books slated there, then my opinion would change.
    Ultimately, it seems your more mercenary question is the one that will decide how you act. I think that, despite what Brian and others have said, people will begin to perceive writers publishing and associating with BMB as holding or supporting–at least tacitly–Roy’s opinions. It’s unfair, but that’s how people see you by the company you keep.

    • Of course you’re right, Jack. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment here. It’s a tough call. It’s not like I don’t have morals or that I want to be associated with that kind of behavior. Frankly, the money and idea of my first limited edition has been pretty alluring, and I’ve really liked all aspects of the books BMB has released.
      Thanks again. You’re certainly added to what I’m considering.

  2. I truly do not envy the position you’re in, Steven. As Jack said, you signed before the mess, so no one would hold it against you. But I still ain’t buying or reading or considering any BMBs. Best of luck with your decision.
    I’ll only comment further on this:
    Is Roy a homophobe? I don’t know. Being accused, even by a best-selling author like Keene, doesn’t make it so.
    Brian Keene speaking out does not make Roy a homophobe. It’s Roy’s own (public…and witnessed, not “supposed”) actions that do.

    • Brian Keene speaking out does not make Roy a homophobe. It’s Roy’s own (public…and witnessed, not “supposed”) actions that do.
      This is part of what makes it so hard. I trust Keene’s judgment too much.
      Thanks for weighing in. I really appreciate the comments.

  3. I don’t have any advice to offer, but I’m interested in buying your book. The title grabbed me.
    I wonder why Poppy Z. Brite thought you were a bigot. I didn’t get that impression in the short amount of time I spoke with you at Conestoga.
    Hopefully, the hoopla will die down. Just because the guy who publishes your book is an ass doesn’t mean you are.
    *sends good vibes your way*

    • Thanks. The Poppy thing is kind of a long story. There was a message board discussion about discrimination in the work place and she thought an analogy I made was trivial compared to what she felt was the more legitimate issue.

  4. Bolt. Drop BMB like it was plutonium. I know that suck, bird in the hand and all that, but this kind of thing, this kind of behavior from an editor, is usually just the tip of the iceberg.

  5. …or that man was created by a cow licking a salt rock,…
    Crap. My views on evolution were just shot down the tube. *headdesk*
    The big question is who is not buying it? Given that it’s a short piece of fiction I’m assuming we’re not worried about book buyers. If this is an anthology piece then you could potentially pull it and start submitting it to various anthology and collection works.
    Or…set it aside. Work on 7 more 10k word pieces and have enough for a short-story collection.
    Will it ruin your career forever? Probably not. Will you write better? Most likely.

  6. I like the last suggestion, Steve. Pull it now and include it as an unpublished hook in an upcoming collection, which is surely in your future somewhere.
    Regardless of how anyone feel’s about the situation, it may be best to just get out while you can and spare yourself the potential fallout. Besides, if things get really bad, what looked like a good deal with BMB may not happen, anyway.
    Good luck,
    Jason.

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