Hemingway wouldn’t make the cut either, these days

Used to be, your book got rejected because of the writing or the subject. Now what counts is who you voted for. Opinion.

Jack Engelhard ,

Flash 90

Sen. Josh Hawley made quite a splash with the news that his book…taking on Big Tech…was cancelled because he doesn’t play well with others, namely Democrats.

Conservative writers will have to resort to Samizdat.
So if that’s the new normal, and apparently so it is all along the New York’s publishers row…conservative writers will have to resort to Samizdat.

That’s how the Refusenik mostly Jewish Russians did it back in the 1980s when they used mimeograph and fax machines to get the word out that they are stuck in a regime that wants them trapped and silenced. That is something we should never expect to be happening in America, but the surprises keep coming.

Hawley didn’t give up a different way. He got lucky. Chicago’s Regnery Publishing picked up his book.

That’s the same book Simon and Schuster had turned down, for political, not literary reasons.

I know something about this. Simon and Schuster were the first to publish my (Jewish/Biblical themed) novel “Indecent Proposal.” The book sold big. Then the movie came out and because it differed substantially from the book (no Jews), it was decided by the powers that the book would have to suffer.

There’d be no more advertising nor distribution for the book, and I knew this from the hundreds of phone calls I got from friends and booksellers across the country.

“No doubt about it,” reported an investigative journalist in LA, “your book has been banned. Off the shelves.”

Then, to keep this short, it was back on the shelves, and sales zoomed once again (and happily now in the hands of Paul Rabinovitch at CCB Publishing.)

So I know the industry, and perhaps I can play the part of a secret-sharer. Used to be, your book got rejected because of the writing or the subject. Now what counts is who you voted for.

If you voted for Trump, consider yourself Indexed…as in, blacklisted.

If this sounds positively medieval, well, back then if you voted wrong or were disobedient any other way, you faced the Inquisition for being in conflict with the Index of Forbidden Works.

You could face the death penalty.

Something like that happened to Salman Rushdie when he came out with “The Satanic Verses,” 1988, which the Ayatollah considered blasphemous and placed a bounty on Rushdie’s head. Rushdie went into hiding. Booksellers hid the book. They wanted no troubles from the Islamic world.

Many of us in New York City went marching for Rushdie and for the freedom to write and publish.

We were a fired-up group, mostly writers and artists, and a few lawyers who threatened to sue bookstore owners who refused to stock Rushdie’s book.

After Rushdie, who’s next?

Around that time, everything in the book world changed. Publishing houses consolidated. So that 100 publishers became Four. That left writers with slim pickings.

Then book stores started to fail. The big chains swallowed up the local bookstore, and then the chains themselves started downsizing. `

Enter Amazon, with perhaps the biggest idea since Gutenberg…bookselling online. Who knew?

One day I got a phone call from an executive at this new company. Would I mind if they picked up for sale all my published works?

I wasn’t sure. Brick and mortar book stores were all we knew and trusted, and what is online anyway?

Would it last?

Finally, after a few more phone calls, I gave in.

Then I was asked if I had anything new in the works. Always. But I’ve only got 10 chapters so far, with 20 to go.

Would I be amenable to running it as a series, say one installment per week?

Well, Twain and Tolstoy did it like that, so okay.

This warning I gave them…in what was to be “The Bathsheba Deadline” …this thriller is entirely up on Israel and down on Iran’s type of Islam…thinking here of Rushdie.

No problem, to Amazon’s everlasting credit, and the book ran as a hit series for 30 weeks…later picked up in full by DayRay Literary Press, an imprint of CCB Publishing.

Would I be so lucky these days, with everyone so touchy? Would anyone? Could Hemingway make the cut?

I don’t think so. Because a bounty is now upon all our heads, thanks to ayatollahs of our own making.

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.

He wrote the worldwide book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal,” the authoritative newsroom epic, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” followed by his coming-of-age classics, “The Girls of Cincinnati,” and, the Holocaust-to-Montreal memoir, “Escape from Mount Moriah.” For that and his 1960s epic “The Days of the Bitter End,” contemporaries have hailed him “The last Hemingway, a writer without peer, and the conscience of us all.” Website: www.jackengelhard.com

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