Mike Pence & Kellyanne Conway score book deals, Simon & Schuster employees revolt

Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway Addresses The Media Outside The White House

Shortly after the November 2020 election, I wrote about the expectations many had that ex-Trump administration officials would be getting generous book deals and CNN-analyst positions come January. That was before the January 6th insurrection, when all of the Trumpian neo-Nazi chickens came home to roost, and everything was laid bare: these people are terrorists, a–holes and insurrectionists. None of them should have book deals. They should have criminal trials for inciting terrorism and insurrection. But no, people in the publishing world are still striking deals with the worst of the worst: Mike Pence, Kellyanne Conway and Bill Barr.

Things were already strained at Simon & Schuster. After backing out of a deal with Senator Josh Hawley, a prominent supporter of former President Donald J. Trump, the company announced this month that it would publish two books by former Vice President Mike Pence. Dana Canedy, who joined Simon & Schuster as publisher last year, called Mr. Pence’s memoir “the definitive book on one of the most consequential presidencies in American history.” That’s when much of the staff erupted in protest.

On Monday, editors and other employees at Simon & Schuster delivered a petition to management demanding an end to the deal, with signatures from more than 200 employees and 3,500 outside supporters, including Simon & Schuster authors such as Jesmyn Ward and Scott Westerfeld. Most were probably not aware that the company has also signed the former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, according to people familiar with the matter — a move that is sure to throw gas on the fire.

In today’s hyperpartisan environment… Simon & Schuster has become a test case for how publishers are trying to draw a line over who is acceptable to publish, and how firmly executives will hold in the face of criticism from their own authors and employees. Many publishers and editors have said privately that they would be reluctant to acquire a book by Mr. Trump because of the outcry that would ensue and the potential legal exposure they would face if Mr. Trump used a memoir to promote the false view that he won the 2020 election. But the reticence extends beyond Mr. Trump himself, and several publishers acknowledge that there are certain ideological lines that they won’t cross. Some said they wouldn’t acquire books by politicians or pundits who questioned the results of the presidential election. Another bright line is working with people who promoted the false narratives or conspiracy theories that Mr. Trump espoused.

Certain literary agents representing Trump officials have adjusted their sales tactics. A few are avoiding large auctions in hopes of staving off a backlash until after a contract is signed, according to some publishing executives. “What I’m watching very closely is the succession of lines crossed,” said Thomas Spence, the president of Regnery, a conservative publisher. “People start to wonder: Whom else might they shut down?”

After the 2020 election, those ideals have been tested in unprecedented ways. “There is a tension there — on the one hand, I’ve always believed, and I still believe fervently, that we need to publish major voices that are at the center of the national conversation, whether we agree with them or not,” said Adrian Zackheim, the president and publisher of two Penguin Random House imprints, including Sentinel, which is geared toward conservative books. “On the other hand, we have to be leery of public figures who have come to be associated with blatant falsehoods.”

[From The NY Times]

“What I’m watching very closely is the succession of lines crossed. People start to wonder: Whom else might they shut down?” GTFO. Insurrectionist Nazis are not being “shut down” because NO ONE WANTS TO GIVE THEM A BOOK DEAL. This is not how the First Amendment works, you Nazi freaks. It’s not a constitutional imperative that Kellyanne Conway get a f–king book deal. Notice how the Times just slid that in too, like people were already mad as hell about Pence’s book, but they didn’t even know that Simon & Schuster gave Conway a book deal too. Anyway, I’m not naive – I know there’s a market (made up of idiots) for these Nazi propaganda memoirs. I know that publishing houses are looking to tap those revenue streams. But how about this: don’t do it. Let these freaks have their own little alt-right publishing houses, an echo chamber of bullsh-t that no one legitimizes. Let’s try that for a while and see what happens.

Trump gives an Update on the Nation?s Coronavirus Testing

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

34 Responses to “Mike Pence & Kellyanne Conway score book deals, Simon & Schuster employees revolt”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. OriginalLala says:

    ugh. starve an (alt-right) fire, don’t stoke the flames. Do better Simon & Schuster!

  2. SarahCS says:

    It’s always S&S isn’t it. There has been another one since the Hawley book that made the news too (I can’t remember which awful person it was). They truly are racing to the nazi bottom. Is this genuinely a good commercial tactic?

    • Lemons says:

      They really are doing THE MOST to cater to this crowd. It’s gross.
      I’m sure 0 competent editors, designers and ghostwriters want to work with anyone from this administration.

    • lucy2 says:

      I was going to say, I think this is like the 4th time in a few months they’ve been called on this.

    • Deering24 says:

      S&S always rabidly chases the hottest controversies, biggest advances, and notorious celebs—it’s been their brand since the Jacqueline Susann days. But this is beyond disgusting.

  3. Merricat says:

    Simon & Schuster should be embarrassed and ashamed to have liars and thieves represent any imprint with their brand on it.

  4. Sid says:

    Simon & Schuster have been giving the sleaziest, vilest people book deals lately. There was Hawley, then they gave a book deal to one of the cops involved in Breonna Taylor’s murder, a book deal to some sleazy royal reporter who plans to bash Meghan, and now this. I know the publishing industry is going through it, but come on.

    • MissMarirose says:

      Maybe it’s time to boycott all Simon & Shuster-published books. The alt-right revenue alone can’t sustain such a large publishing company, but they’ll keep doing this until they feel the heat in the bottom line.

  5. Oh_Hey says:

    What is going on over there?? S&S over the past couple of years had become a clearinghouse for right ring crazies and general creeps. Didn’t they just get I trouble for giving a distribution deal to one of the cops that killed Breyona Taylor?

    I can’t. I just can’t.

  6. SusanRagain says:

    Hard. Pass. No! Not ever. Save the trees!
    Not one thin penny to these wretched, vile humans.

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I don’t know. Obviously I wish the country would round up all these losers, drop them in the exact middle of the Sahara, toss a roll of paper towels and a 12oz bottle of water so they can fight for futility. And I’ve always rolled my eyes when prisoners are able to secure educations and sign book deals. I may despise these people, but I don’t need a publisher to be my moral compass. If a company wants to bow to the almighty dollar and publish trash, that’s on them. It’s risky these days to think your company could benefit and/or weather the consequences and fallout following a controversial business decision. People seem to want to thrive on controversy of late, and as evidenced, so do businesses?

    • tealily says:

      But the idea that her talking points would continue to get circulated is just too much to bear. We don’t need to be spreading these ideas any further than they’ve already spread. It is damaging our society.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        Oh I completely agree. So many people shouldn’t have platforms. Ever. I hate it that these people have fans and supporters. But silencing them is a slippery slope. If this publishing house says no, in their minds, they’ll find another one. One way or another, these crap people want to be heard. Additionally, silencing them feeds into their unhinged rants. Let the future read about the crazy ass shit pouring out of these f@cker’s mouths.

      • tealily says:

        Eh, but a major publishing house doesn’t have to be the one giving them a platform. I would encourage them to say so. Being relegated to an indie release isn’t the same thing as being silenced. It’s just not giving money to a**holes.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        Exactly which is why I’m thankful for the in-house uproar. It’s nice to see.

      • Veronica S. says:

        Eh, the books themselves I don’t think are the biggest problem here. Like I said below, they aren’t winning anybody over who didn’t already buy their lies. They already had the biggest platform possible when voters put them into office and they were broadcast into our homes over and over again.

        What this should make us wary of is a reminder that they very much have sympathizers out there. The fact that companies out there will touch this because they see the ability to capitalize on it tell us two things: 1.) there’s enough fascists in this country to make it worthwhile to print it, 2.) capitalism will walk lock and step with fascism if it benefits them. We cannot be blind to either of those things if we want to actually survive the damage the Trump administration did in the long run.

      • tealily says:

        I guess it’s down to uproars like these to make a deal like this less profitable. Publishers need to not want to touch a book deal with these people with a ten-foot pole.

    • Gillysirl says:

      S&S giving these people a platform helps to legitimize their lies. The three individuals named all lied or distorted the truth to forward their own beliefs and sacrificed our democracy for their personal gain.

      KC also has additional issues related to her parenting. It’s not just the yelling and shaming, she shared a nude picture of her underage daughter. She isn’t someone who should be given a platform.

  8. windyriver says:

    There was a great Forbes editorial in January, right after the Capitol riot, that said flat out, hire any of Trump’s former press secretaries (looking at you Kellyanne), and “Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie.” There’s a lesson there, S&S.


  9. cassandra says:

    I can’t imagine what Pence and Conway really have to add to the conversation, you know? I doubt there’s going to be any shocking revelations-especially from Pence.

  10. amiloo says:

    FYI – Your ad company threw in a Tucker Carlson/Fox News Nation ad in this article, but it disappeared when I hit the rewatch icon.

  11. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    I wouldn’t read ANYTHING by Conway. I would only be interested in what Pence has to say if he truly unloads on trump. Not gonna happen so I am spared, but…trump was ok with the terrorists lynching pence. I would be all “okey doke dumpster. Time to go scorched earth. Byeeeeeeeee”

  12. Amy says:

    I’m a writer. Simon and Schuster was my publisher. It is an abusive, evil company that treats its writers horribly. I wish I could tell you all the details. They are truly evil.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      Oof. Sorry you had to deal with that, Amy. No wonder they’re attracted to these Nazi assholes.

    • Deering24 says:

      Amy, yep. One of the worst working experiences I had outside of the Mouse. 🤮🤮

  13. Aimee says:

    I was reading an interesting article yesterday about some of these political books. They somehow become “bestsellers” yet no one actually reads them. They are bought up by political groups to boost sales and make it look like it’s actually selling. Have you ever actually seen anyone read one of these?

  14. Jennifer says:

    Is Mother going to have to approve the book or maybe even just write the book for Pence?

  15. Veronica S. says:

    I am slowly going insane as America seems to forget we had a LITERAL INSURRECTION barely four months ago. These people are fascists! They are dangerous! They will do it again if they think they can get a better demagogue at the wheel, somebody more palatable and competent than Donald Trump!

    Don’t get me wrong – the books themselves don’t worry me. The kind of people that will buy this shit up and believe it were already lost causes. They WANT to believe they’re victims of society and an excuse to be a fascist. It’s not going to convince anybody to switch sides. Lines are already drawn, as it is. This is just intellectual masturbation and a money grab for them.

    What bothers me more is the way it normalizes them, the way it sanitizes the fact that they were literally part of a wannabe Nazi regime. You don’t let them back into society! You treat them like the scumbag outcasts they are!

    That’s where the real danger lies: feeding into the idea that we should view this as a one off that’s behind us. Swear to God, complacency may kill us in the long run. I am eyeing 2022 warily. People need to learn to show up because the roots of this problem didn’t go anywhere.

    • Darla says:

      Veronica I relate to every word in your post. And where you end, 2022, is a nightmare for me. I fear what is coming. A lot.

  16. Melanie P says:

    Vile,,evil looking face on that woman,,, *shudders*

  17. Kfg says:

    S&S needs to be boycotted out of existence. Also charges need to be filed against all of the trump team so they won’t be able to profit from their crimes.

  18. shanaynay says:

    Is Conway’s book going to be a paint by numbers book?