Letter from Ward Kendall on the publishing of Hold Back This Day

Vanguard News Network
Alex Linder, Editor

Dear Mr. Linder,

I want to thank you and VNN for taking the time to review my novel, Hold Back This Day. I found J.B. Hood's commentary to be well-balanced, insightful, and entertaining, and wish to thank him as well. Realizing that no novel can be all things to all readers, I am nonetheless greatful that Hold Back This Day has received a largely positive reception.

I do wish to comment on one passage in Mr. Hood's review, however. It is not a criticism, but merely a clarification. Near the end of the review, Mr. Hood states:

At first, it appears a concession on the author's part in order to get the book published. No mainstream publisher today will produce anything even remotely critical of the Jews or Israel. But it turns out that the book was self-published -- no need to worry about offending the Yids.

Actually, Hold Back This Day wasn't originally self-published, but was published by Publish America/America House Publishers. (www.publishamerica.com) This publisher is not a self-publisher, and so I DID "adjust" my novel so that it would have the best chance of being accepted. And it was. Here's a link to an online sci-fi book reviewer called "Baryon Book Reviews" where an old review of Hold Back This Day can be found: http://www.baryon-online.com/baryon81/holdday.html

If you look just under the title and author name, you'll see that the publisher is not IUniverse, but Publish America. So, originally, Hold Back This Day was not a self-published novel. What happened? Well, shortly after Hold Back This Day was published, the founder of Publish America took objection to a website/forum I had created, called "Writers' Island", which offered a forum for Publish America writers to discuss their work and/or grievances. Anyway, to make a long story short, the publisher objected to what some of its writers were saying in my writers' forum, and told me to shut it down, while at the same time "freezing" my novel from any further sales until I did. I even had Ann Crispin (writer of "Star Wars" novels) come to my aid, via the Science Fiction Writers of America website, but all to no avail. In the end, I was forced to shut down my website in order to regain the rights to Hold Back This Day. And with no other likely publisher to take on my novel, I decided to self-published it with IUniverse.

Now, one other thing: just because Hold Back This Day is self-published, does not mean that the writer is free to say whatever he pleases, in regard to content. I know this to be true, since I wrote IUniverse, and asked them their policy. They replied that IUniverse will not publish "pornography", "how-to-make-a-bomb" kind of books, and, lastly, "racist novels". So, again, I had to "adjust" Hold Back This Day in order to "slip it through the cracks", so to speak. In other words, if a writer wrote a novel that was overtly anti-black, anti-Jewish, or anti-Mexican, for instance, it would not likely be accepted by IUniverse. In fact, even IUniverse had originally REFUSED to publish Hold Back This Day, since one of their book content reviewers had objected to a certain passage in the novel regarding homosexuals. I either had to remove it, they informed me, or not see the book accepted. That was a hard decision to make, but in the end I felt the racial theme of Hold Back This Day far outweighed the forced removal of an anti-homosexual passage. So, I complied, and Hold Back This Day made it through the PC gauntlet -- but just barely.

The lesson here is this: Not even self-published books have absolute free speech, a point I wanted Mr. Hood to be aware of. It is no criticism of him at all, since he had no way of knowing these "behind the scenes" facts before he read Hold Back This Day or wrote his excellent review.

Ward Kendall
author of Hold Back This Day


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