Huge advances have been paid by inexperienced editors for ‘woke’ books which turn out to be commercial flops.
Examples reported in the UK Daily Mail include $500,000 paid for ‘queer feminist Western’ Lucky Red, which had only sold 3,500 copies since it was released in July, and ‘biracial’ novel Dear Miss Metropolitan which had sold 3,163 copies since its release in 2021 following a $250,000 advance paid to the author.
Even ‘woke celebrities’ were not immune to the market’s rejection, with the memoir of prominent transgender identity Elliot Page selling just over 60,000 copies after its author received a staggering $3 million advance. Even books which sell tens of thousands of copies, like Page’s, can still ‘tank commercially’, because of the scale of the advance.
Another woke celebrity case was the memoir of high profile US sports journalist and prominent anti-Trumper Jemele Hill. That also flopped, selling just 5,000 copies in spite of an extensive pre-sale marketing campaign across traditional and social media.
Industry insiders told the Daily Mail the problem was a result of ‘generational change’ with young and inexperienced editors making decisions based on their own prejudices and pre-conceived ideas of politics, rather than on sound commercial practices.
‘It just so happens that, in this case, the new generation is a generation of ideological fanatics,’ a former HarperCollins editor told The Free Press.
Meanwhile books by straight white males were more likely to be rejected, no matter how good they were.
Prominent US author Joyce Carol Oates told the paper, ‘A friend who is a literary agent told me that he cannot even get editors to read first novels by young white male writers, no matter how good; they are just not interested.’
Noted crime writer James Patterson recently described the situation as ‘just another form of racism.’