It is an authors dream to have their manuscript accepted for publication, but imagine if a manuscript was accepted but later publication canceled, not because of the content of the book, but the author’s bio. This was reality for a couple of authors in Utah. As reported by The Salt Lake Tribune on August 21, authors David Powers King and Michael Jensen had their book canceled by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media because the author bio contained the word “boyfriend”.
The book “Woven” is a young-adult fantasy novel that both authors are very proud of and so was Cedar Fort Publishing until they discovered through the author’s bio that one of the authors were gay. The book, which was scheduled to be released on Oct. 8, was canceled because the company refused to publish the book as long as Jensen’s bio remained unchanged.
The bio included the following sentence which was omitted:
“He lives in Salt Lake City with his boyfriend and their four dogs.”
When Jensen emailed acquisitions editor about the omission, she told him they couldn’t include the reference to his boyfriend because of the company that owned Cedar Fort Publishing, a church-owned company named Desert Book. The editor claimed the books wouldn’t be stocked on the shelves, despite the publisher feeling that “Woven” would be their best seller.
Jensen wouldn’t give up and talked to the owner of Ceder Fort Publishing, who claimed Jensen had an agenda, and that’s when the real issue became clear to the author.
“Lyle [the owner] started yelling about my ‘agenda’ and how I was trying to destroy families. He even started saying inappropriate things about how God had given me a penis for a reason. It was very uncomfortable.”
Jensen states that the company knew he was gay when they signed him. He did have his rights to the book returned after publication was canceled. It is sad and frustrating for an author to have a book not be published because of who he loves. But one publisher’s loss will be another publisher’s gain.