“Publishers have adopted a defensive crouch, taking pre-emptive measures to avoid controversy and criticism. Now, many books the left might object to never make it to bookshelves because a softer form of banishment happens earlier in the publishing process: scuttling a project for ideological reasons before a deal is signed, or defusing or eliminating ‘sensitive’ material in the course of editing…. All of this is happening against the backdrop of a recent spate of shameful book bans that comes largely from the right.” (Pamela Paul, New York Times, July 24, 2022)
The new press serves as a real alternative to conventional publishers—both large and small—who increasingly deploy “soft” censorship tactics to avoid landing in hot water over boundary-pushing or “heretical” materials. Instead of adopting a “defensive crouch,” Heresy Press stands proudly for unbounded creativity and fearless expression. We discourage authors from descending into self-censorship; we don’t blink at alleged acts of cultural appropriation; we don’t pander to the presumed sensitivities of hypothetical readers; and we can hardly imagine conditions under which we would consider a retraction. Instead of playing it safe, Heresy Press is unafraid of controversy and criticism. Its ultimate commitment is to enduring quality standards, i.e. literary merit, originality, relevance, courage, humor, and aesthetic appeal. Every serious submission will receive a sympathetic hearing, regardless of the author’s age, gender identity, racial affiliation, political orientation, culture, religion, non-religion, cancellation status, etc. Fiction in all of its forms is the mainstay of Heresy Press, with adult literary fiction, satire, comedy, speculative fiction, and young adult books leading the charge.
Heresy Press is committed to freedom, honesty, openness, dissent, and real diversity in all of its manifestations. We resist conformity and instead operate within the Millsian model of the free market place of ideas. But while we stand firmly behind the First Amendment, any speech that is not protected by the First Amendment, notably incitement to violence, libel, targeted harassment, perjury, obscenity, etc. will not be considered for publication. We think of fiction as a realm that needs as much, if not more, freedoms to thrive in than common forms of real-world discourse: “No human endeavor requires freedom as much as creativity does” (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). Heresy Press will consider contributions that some on this planet might deem blasphemous, politically problematic, inconvenient, or impolite, and it will never engage “sensitivity readers” to screen out such aspects. “All great truths begin as blasphemies” (George Bernard Shaw). Heresy Press and its products and representatives shall not be drawn into the vortex of cancel culture, with its apologies, mea-culpas, retractions, atonements, propitiations, etc. and instead focus on what matters—unfettered creativity and fearless imagination.