I know a lot of people I follow on Tumblr have already reblogged this post Seanan McGuire put up this morning, but it hits on topics I have talked about, so:
Responding to this question: kerrykhat asked: What do you do when there’s an author you absolutely adore in a short story anthology, but there’s also an author that you don’t want to give money to under any circumstances?
Well, first, I remind myself that all the authors in that anthology have already been paid, and that the majority of anthologies never earn out or make any additional revenue for the authors inside. It’s a small thing, but it salves my conscience. Beyond that…
Let’s say there are three authors whose careers I monitor. Jan, who is an absolute favorite, whom I would follow to the ends of the earth. Pat, who stepped on my foot once at a con and didn’t say sorry, and who I consequentially avoid whenever it doesn’t inconvenience me. And Robin, who actively lobbies for causes I find repugnant, and flat-out says that my friends and family are perverts and freaks of nature for loving the people that we love. Now let’s say that there’s a new anthology containing all three people.
This is a problem for me, obviously. I want to read Jan’s story. More, I know Jan makes a lot of money from anthologies, and since I want Jan to keep getting those invitations, I don’t want to pirate the story. I’m okay with giving a little money to Pat; there’s no hatred there, just mild annoyance. But what about Robin? Robin’s an asshole and a bigot and I am really uncomfortable with the idea of forking over a penny.
This is my solution, which obviously is not perfect:
I buy the anthology. And then I take an exacto knife, and excise as much of Robin’s story as I can, slicing carefully one page at a time to prevent damaging the spine. If I’m lucky, Robin’s story doesn’t share any pages with the stories around it, and I can get the damn thing completely out. And then I mail that story to the publisher of the anthology, with a letter explaining that they almost lost my money because of Robin’s presence.
I am not advocating censorship. Authors are people too, and they’re going to live their lives as they see fit. But I am saying that you have a right to live your life as you see fit, too, and that if people are going to put an author who says your life is wrong in an anthology, you have a right to comment on it.
Also: please don’t yell at authors who share an anthology with Robin, because odds are they had no input at all on who got invited. We’re all just trying to put food on the table however we can.
I think this is a great idea. I may have to go find some anthologies to buy paper copies of just for this purpose, now…
Note: I can’t take credit for the above idea. Neither should anyone conclude from my re-blogging this that she agrees or endorses anything I may have previously blogged about authors who I refuse to give money to and that I discourage other people from giving money to because of their decades of advocacy against gay rights.
My endorsement of her suggestion is simple that, an endorsement of her idea of one way to support writers you like, while still commenting on those who contribute to oppression.