In both our non-fiction and fiction lines up we publish books that address controversial social issues. The reason we publish these book is because we feel its important to address these issues head-on. We don’t want to bury our heads in the sand and we think our readers also don’t want to bury their heads in the sand. I’ve been told, on occasion, that someone is surprised we’d publish a book a given topic and my response to that is: “Why wouldn’t we publish that book?” Reading a book, any book, should challenge a person to think, and to act. It should make you uncomfortable or do something that prompts you to want to make a change in the world.
We love controversial topics because such topics get people talking. And speaking only for myself, I want people to talk. I want them to do more than talk, but talking is a good first step and that won’t happen if we aren’t willing to bring up the social issues that are uncomfortable, but are that uncomfortable precisely because we don’t face and acknowledge them for what they are.
Controversial topics are topics that some people want to ignore or pretend don’t exist. Not us! And not our readers! We know those topics exist and we want to bring them out into the light where they can be seen for what they are. We aren’t scared of those topics and in fact we think that by publishing them, our readers will be inspired to examine those issues as they show up in their own lives, while also giving the authors the chance to speak up and be heard. We want our authors to be heard. We want them to speak up, not just in the book, but on their blogs, in workshops and wherever they go because what they are saying NEEDS to be heard. And as publishers we support their need to be heard and want to encourage them in whatever way we can.
Controversy makes a book stand out. You might love it or hate it, but you have a response to it, and that’s a good thing because it means the book moved you. A book doesn’t really become a book until the reader responds to it…then the book has performed its function. Controversial topics move people and that’s what we want. We want our books to mean to something. We want our authors to feel like they have said something which has struck a chord with their readers and gotten something to happen.
We publish controversial topics because other publishers won’t do it. I have yet to see other publishers publish books on some of the topics we’ve published. Perhaps they will eventually, but we’d rather be at the forefront, helping much needed conversations come about now, rather than catching up later. By doing so we’re helping authors speak out and get heard and helping readers learn more about the issues that need to be addressed now.