- Publishing industry figures have signed an open letter opposing a memoir by Donald Trump.
- “A lot of people feel passionately about this,” said Barry Lyga, the novelist behind the letter.
- Co-signers have doubled since The Los Angeles Times and Publisher’s Weekly first wrote about it.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Hundreds of authors, editors, and agents signed an open letter asking the world’s publishers to skip a post-presidency memoir from Donald Trump.
More publishing industry figures are being invited to add their names to the”No Book Deals for Traitors” letter, which as of January 18th had 547 signatures.
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 crystallised” 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 â€” 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.
To those who believe this is censorship, I can say only this: If the first amendment guarantees book deals, then there are some publishers who turned down books of mine in the past who now owe me money.
— Barry Lyga (@barrylyga) January 16, 2021
Lyga said he had heard from critics, who accused him of censorship.
“There is no promise or guarantee of a book deal in the Constitution, and the people we are talking about still have the option of going on TV or radio, of writing op-eds, of self-publishing, of posting their own blogs, of shouting in the town square,” he said on Sunday.
He said he doesn’t know if publishers will listen. But he took it as a good sign that Simon & Schuster cancelled “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.