Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

The Complicated Mess When The Missing Stair Gets Noticed

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[Edit: I think the next post is an important companion and, hopefully, a step towards changing the systemic problems.]

Thanks to being on call for my day job all weekend, I didn't see that a missing stair - Sunil Patel - got named.  He wasn't the only one - Greg Andree also got named - but for a very specific reason, the accusations1 against Mr. Patel impact me directly. (There's a roundup of news and Mr. Patel's response on File 770.)

Because there's a story from Mr. Patel in the upcoming anthology No Shit, There I Was.

I do have a respect policy.  And there are some people I won't publish - because of their actions.

I want to make a big distinction here about that, because the accusations toward Mr. Patel include him claiming to have the power to make or break them, to blacklist them, in order to have the authors in question behave a certain way towards him. That's just...wrong, as Ann Leckie points out.

Me? When I choose not to publish someone because of their behavior, I'm saying that because I don't want to be associated with sexist, racist, bigoted, assaulting jerks. It's because I want the areas where I am, that I'm sponsoring, and that I'm representing to be safe and inclusive.

I believe the women who have come forward. I'm all too aware, as Natalie Luhrs put it, "[that] this is a problem that is endemic to our community, social and professional. There are people being abused right now who truly believe that no one will care if they speak up."

And I do care.

Which is where the complications come in.

I admire the example set by The Book Smugglers, but I can't exactly follow their example.

The contracts have already been signed, and the money already paid. Review copies have already been sent out. I can't undo those things. And undoing them would impact not just Mr. Patel, but all the other fine authors who are in No Shit, There I Was.

What I can - and will - do is offer that all backer rewards that involved Mr. Patel may be fulfilled by me personally, or if we can work it out, another author.

I will also investigate how to update future contracts so that should this situation happen again with a different author, I will have more options.

I welcome your feedback about the actions I'm taking. I am not interested in discussing whether or not you believe the accusations.

Signed by Steven Saus, publisher of No Shit, There I Was
Cosigned by Rachael Acks, editor of No Shit, There I Was


1 Note: I'm using "accusations" here in a pedantic legal sense.

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