Bookish News Round-Up: New Queer Press & A Few Publishing Disasters

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Freshly Squeezed is a series of posts on all things new and upcoming in the bookish realm.

The publishing industry seems to always be in tumult, but the past few weeks have been especially full of ups and downs. Let’s look at what’s been going on.

Cipher Press: A New Queer Publisher Hits The Market

Just a few weeks ago, UK-based Cipher Press announced its upcoming launch on Twitter. The new small press will be publishing books by and about LGBT+ people, with a focus on adult fiction and non-fiction.

Cipher Press logo

According to their website, they hope to publish “stories about queer bodies and queer sex, about shapeshifters, about skaters, about private detectives, about strippers, about librarians,” as well as “self-help books from queer sex workers, and memoirs from queer elders.” Hell yeah to all of that.

Their launch is predicted for August 2020, and they will be announcing some book titles in the near future. If you’re as excited about their catalogue as I am, fear not, for I will be sharing their titles with you as soon as they are announced.

Barnes And Noble’s New Classics: A Complete Disaster

Barnes And Noble, the American bookshop chain, recently announced a new series of “Diverse Editions” – classics revamped to have people of colour on the cover. This sparked a whole lot of backlash, as many of those classics are straight-up racist in nature.

The new series was called out for being a cheap marketing ploy, attempting to participate in popular conversations about diversity without putting in the actual work of promoting writing by BAME authors. Many people have articulated their frustrations better than I can, so I will leave some of their responses here.

Tweet saying "How’s about just putting my novels and novels by other POC up front and on display?  We have amazing covers of black people who represent characters that actually appear in our labors of love. Can’t browse what you can’t see and can’t buy what’s not stocked. Thanks in advance"
Tweet saying "Good job you managed to make diversity look racist, a real talent of white America!"
Tweet saying"Ah yes the white canon in Blackface. Yes, please further commodify Blackness to sell more copies of Moby Dick and pay yourselves instead of hiring, promoting, and publishing people of color"

That Homophobic Baker Is Writing A Memoir

Remember that baker who refused to provide a wedding cake for a gay couple? And later on again for a trans woman? That very same man, Jack Phillips, is now writing a memoir.

As Pride aptly put it, he will now have a chance “to talk about his experience being a professional homophobe.” The memoir will be published in June by Salem Book, an imprint of Christian publisher Regnery. It’s to be titled The Baker, promising one hell of a dramatic tale.

The description further emphasises the kind of nonsense we can expect, painting Phillip’s experience as “harrowing” and the man himself as some sort of hero on the “frontlines of the battle.” The publisher seems to be in a conservative bubble, believing that Christians have no rights in America, and that LGBT+ people are destroying religious freedom.

Gif of woman doing math and looking confused

I haven’t seen a single person talk about this, so I’m not sure how the general reception will be. What I do know is that there are some really great books by LGBT+ authors that I will be reading instead.

Have some bookish news you’d like to share? Leave a comment below, or get in touch on Instagram or Goodreads.

If you’re looking for some queer books to read this year, why not check your local library? To get you started, here’s a list of over 90 LGBT+ books you can get from the National Library.

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