My heart breaks for those of you who worry that your stories will be turned down by agents or publishers due to their LGBTQ content, and for those of you who have been disheartened by everything that's happened here. Don't give up. Don't stop writing. (Keep writing. Please, please, PLEASE keep writing.) Things are changing. Things will keep changing. The world needs you and your stories and your poems and your plays. We need you. I need you.
Don't give up.
Now, to answer a couple of quick questions -
What type of content did my story have? Was there explicit sexual content? Is that the real reason why it was not included in the anthology?
- No. My story does not have explicit content. There are a total of 3 kisses and sexually, it's G-rated. Please note, there are some macabre/horror aspects to the story and one use of the word F*ck. (Not used in a sexual manner) I was not told that I would have to remove the horror elements or tone down the language.
Did you know what type of story you had to write for the anthology before you wrote it?
- My contract didn't state anything in regards to what type of story I was supposed to write, and the only information I was given was when I was initially contacted by Trisha Telep and she pitched it as "
Would you include your story if the publisher let you keep it as an m/m story?
- I have been asked by the publisher if I would reconsider including it in the anthology due to the fact that they would be perfectly okay with accepting it as-is (meaning m/m, not m/f), but I have said no. I was informed that Trisha Telep would still be the editor for the anthology (and considered the "author"), and due to her preconceived notions, I can't support any of the royalties from this project going to her.
Will I get to read the story elsewhere?
- Yes. I'm still finalizing details, but in the near future you will be able to read it. I'll link here when it's available.
Has the publisher commented on the matter?
- Yes, they have. On Wednesday, I spoke to Lisa Cheng, the editor at Running Press Kids, at her invitation after receiving an email from her. Although I can't speak for Running Press, and can only tell my side of the story, I will say that Lisa was misinformed as to why I pulled out of the anthology and I corrected that, and although she apologized profusely over the "misunderstandings on all sides," she told me that they have worked with Trisha many times before and stand behind her.
On Thursday, I received a private email from Duncan Proudfoot at
- my personal opinion that Running Press has no direct association with Trisha Telep.
STATEMENT FROM CONSTABLE & ROBINSON:
Constable Robinson said...
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.
The misunderstanding which has led to Jessica Verday’s story, ‘Flesh Which Is Not Flesh’, being excluded from this anthology, ostensibly on the grounds that it concerns a m/m relationship, is entirely regrettable and something we have sought to correct. Constable & Robinson Ltd remains fully supportive of LGBTQ writing, and apologises unreservedly for any offence caused.
STATEMENT FROM RUNNING PRESS:
Running Press said...
Running Press Teens deeply regrets any offensive comments recently made by Trisha Telep, anthologist for Wicked Pretty Things. At no point were we consulted in Trisha’s decision to reject Jessica Verday’s story as submitted. Opinions expressed by Ms. Telep do not reflect our publishing philosophy. As publishers of quality Young Adult literature, we proudly support the LGBT community and are deeply committed to publishing diverse authors and subject matters. We have since approached Ms. Verday to reconsider including her original m/m story in the anthology. Even though we respect her decision to decline, we have a responsibility to all of the talented writers that have contributed to Wicked Pretty Things, and therefore intend to move forward with publication.
ETA: 3/30 - I just received notice that Constable & Robinson has issued a statement from Trisha Telep
Constable Robinson said...
I sincerely regret the sequence of events which has led to Jessica Verday’s story ‘Flesh Which Is Not Flesh’ being excluded from the forthcoming anthology Wicked Pretty Things. This has been the result of a misunderstanding on my part which is entirely regrettable. Along with publishers Constable & Robinson Ltd, who commissioned the anthology, and Running Press, who are due to co-publish the book in the United States, I fully support LGBTQ issues. I apologise wholeheartedly for any offence that I have caused and offer the assurance that I would not in future reject any story on the grounds that it included a gay (or any LGBTQ) relationship.