10/30/06

Censorship

How much are novel submissions censored to fit LDS "standards"? Do most publishers censor similar to Church magazines or are they more open to situations outside traditional LDS values?


Depends on the publishing company. Some are very circumspect in the topics and treatments that they will consider for publication. Others, though few in number, are willing to take on non-traditional treatments. You can easily tell which is which by a quick browse of their website or reading a few of the books they've previously published.

Also, for most LDS publishers, it's not so much a case of censoring what doesn't fit LDS standards, as promoting and selecting items which do fit those standards. I know that's a small distinction to those attempting to sell manuscripts which explore things outside the LDS box, but it's a distinction that is important to me.

3 comments:

FHL said...

Along similar lines, what I would be most interested in knowing is how "LDS" submissions should be. Is it enough to have a story that's clean, or do your characters have to be LDS and do, um, LDS things? (Go to church, give blessings, have a temple date night, etc.) Some books I've read have felt too ... churchy isn't quite the right word, and intimate sends the wrong message. I guess, if I read much dialogue that has the character speaking directly to God, it feels like I shouldn't be intruding as a reader.

I suppose some publishers are open to different degrees of Mormonishness. And making up our own words. =)

Tristi Pinkston said...

Making up your own words is definitely fine with me. :)

I wrote a chapter about this in the book "LDStorymakers: Publishing Secrets," which deals with LDS publishing. I'll encapsulate here.

If one of your characters is LDS and they stray a bit, it's important that the book clearly show a repentance process, or, if that character decides not to return, the book needs to show the consequences of that action. That's one of the trademarks of LDS acceptibility -- sorrow for sin, responsibility for that sin, use of the Atonement, etc. The market doesn't bear gratuitous anything.

So while your book doesn't have to be preachy (and the readers prefer it not to be, in actuality) it does need to show LDS standards and if your characters stray, it needs to be dealt with appropriately. It helps if you mention they go to church, but you don't have to show them doing it just to prove that the book is LDS.

Anna Maria Junus said...

I would add something as well.

Sometimes it's not the publisher. It's the distributor. There are two major distributors in LDS publishing. Deseret and Covenant. If someone complains about a book, either one of these companies has been known to pull it off the shelves.

This can be death to the book.