Josh Hawley’s Lost Book Deal Isn’t Orwellian. It’s a Consequence.


In this op-ed, The Effigies Series author Sarah Raughley pens an open letter to Senator Josh Hawley, after Simon & Schuster cancelled his book because he challenged the results of the U.S. presidential election.

Hey, Josh? Simon & Schuster cancelling your book isn’t “Orwellian,” like you posited in a statement after attempting to sabotage a democratic election. It’s not “the left looking to cancel everyone they don’t approve of.” It’s not a “direct assault on the first amendment.” It’s a consequence of your anti-democratic actions.

A private publishing company is not obligated to do business with you, and the fact that you even believe this is in and of itself just another example of your white male privilege. According to your whiny Twitter post in the wake of your book’s cancellation, America and its businesses and institutions must cater to your every whim, even when you commit acts of literal sedition. Can you see the problem here?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was right when she called you out yesterday. You are a senator. You have an obligation to uphold democracy and fight for the public good. Instead, you supported Donald Trump in attempting to overturn your country’s lawful federal election and further helped incite the violence that led to Wednesday’s disturbing insurrection at the Capitol, which, might I add, resulted in at least five deaths. That fist pump photo-op to the domestic terrorists you actively encouraged? Not a good look. What’s worse is that according to BBC News, most of the insurrectionists you supported don’t even feel any shame in the crimes they’ve committed. In fact, given the interviews they gave reporters, they seem energized, which means there’s a chance such violent confrontations could happen again.

And yet, here you are whining about not getting your book published? I can’t.

As an author myself, I can say with certainty that this whining is an even bigger slap in the face to those of us who tirelessly work on our craft to get that coveted shot at realizing our publishing dreams. I, like many authors, have dealt with rejection after rejection. It took me almost a year to find an agent (which, believe me, is on the quick side for authors). The first book I shopped to editors, about an American daughter of African immigrants going on a mythical adventure, was on submission for almost two years, but no bites. The first book I did publish was released by an imprint that went under just a month later. It took me two years to write and several months to finally get editor interest in Fate of Flames, the first book in my young adult trilogy, The Effigies Series (think Sailor Moon meets Pacific Rim, yes, it’s awesome). But again, many authors would tell you that this publishing trajectory is on the fast side. Some dedicated authors are still honing their skills, taking classes, attending workshops, and working, working, working just to get their first break, knowing that it might not happen.





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