I have just finished writing a book about the true story of placing my baby for adoption. I wrote it hoping to go through an LDS publisher, and it’s completely clean and has many spiritual aspects. I still wonder if LDS publishers would find the topic of teen pregnancy too taboo, even though it sends a great, positive message. What do you think?
Another reader asked:
I am currently preparing a proposal for a Book I am writing about conversations with Heavenly Mother. It is the first of it’s kind that I know of. Any suggestions?
Both of these topics deal with what might be called “taboo topics.”
What do I think? I whole-heartedly agree with Brigham Young who said:
Upon the stage of a theatre can be represented in character, evil and its consequences, good and its happy results and rewards; the weakness and follies of man, the magnanimity of virtue and the greatness of truth. The stage can be made to aid the pulpit in impressing upon the minds of a community an enlightened sense of a virtuous life, also a proper horror of the enormity of sin with its thorns and pitfalls, its gins and snares can be revealed and how to shun it. (I don’t have the exact reference for this. If you do, please leave it in the comments.)
I think this also applies to literature. Personally, I don’t think any subject should be taboo—in and of itself. If it’s happening out in the world, there will be members of our Church dealing with it on some level, great or small. If members of the Church are thinking about it or dealing with it, then they would probably appreciate a book on the topic.
How it’s handled, however, is where I draw lines.
If a story is well-written, avoids use of things that would be offensive to most LDS readers (like gratuitous violence and language or detailed intimacy), and the main message supports the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then I’m good with it.
Unfortunately, not all LDS publishers are open to “difficult” or “unusual” topics. While individuals within the company may fully support books that deal with these tougher themes, the powers-that-be may feel the company reputation would be damaged by delving too deeply into the ways of the world or topics that aren’t quite middle-of-the-road-Mormonism.
If the big three (Deseret Book, Covenant, Cedar Fort) reject you, you’ll need to search a little harder to find a publisher who is willing to push the line a bit. They do exist.
I’m giving you the same advice that I gave on Monday. Make a list of LDS publishers. (I have a partial list here but no info or links yet, sorry.) Go to their websites and look at the books they publish. Have any of those books addressed themes similar to yours? Do they say in their submission guidelines that they’re willing to consider and/or actively seek books that address your topic or theme? These would definitely be publishers who would consider your book.