Senator Ted Cruz complains when he’s kept off the New York Times bestseller list, accused of bulk sales, and then proves there were no bulk sales.
Bill O’Reilly complains that he can’t get a Publishers Weekly blurb for his latest, Killing Reagan, despite the fact that his Killing Patton was the top nonfiction title of 2014.
From your perch, or shall we say depth, is there an institutionalized bias against conservative authors in the publishing industry? If a lit agent agrees to represent a book by a conservative author, do they risk the disdain of many of their peers? If Donald Trump sought representation for a new book, would many lit agents decline on ideological grounds, even if they stood to make a small fortune on the deal?
It's interesting that you use the word institutionalized to describe the bias you think you've illustrated. Publishing isn't an institution, it's an industry. Some of us may belong in an institution, but nonetheless this is not some sort of lockstep monolith.
Yes it is true that the people who work in this industry tend to skew left in their politics. Since my politics is more middle of the road, that makes for some interesting bar conversation. I can usually stop everyone dead in their tracks with the bald statement that I am a registered Republican (and I am.)
Ted Cruz may have been unfairly blocked from getting his NYT Bestseller badge but he merely joins a LONG list of authors who have that complaint. The NYT list is based on orders, not sales, and data is gathered from bookstores of the Times' choosing. That list is not published, nor is it widely known. Thus if Ted Cruz is bulk buying from Powells in Portland, Amazon isn't going to have a clue and Harper (Cruz's publisher) wouldn't know either.
The reason bulk buys are discounted for the list is that indeed, an author DID do this some 25 years ago. I'm iffy on the details but it was quite the scandal at the time.
As to Bill O'Reilly, he's just wrong about this, like he is about a lot of things. I've included the link to the PW piece that explains very calmly why that is so.
And honestly if those two rabblerousers are what you base your argument on, here's the counterargument:
She's been publishing books with a major publisher for years.
And so has Donald Trump.
Let me remind you of one cold hard fact: publishers LOVE to make money. If there is "institutional bias" of any sort in publishing it's for making not losing money.
What Cruz and O'Reilly are complaining about is what EVERY author of every political stripe complains about: they didn't get their props.
I have no idea what anyone else would do if Donald Trump wanted a new agent. I'd say no because I prefer to work with people who are actually interested in being writers, not demagogues.
There is no political litmus test to pass here for becoming a client. I have clients who voted for Mitt Romney. I have clients who pounded the pavement for President Obama. I have clients who'd register as anarchists if such a thing was allowed. What they all have in common is they write REALLY REALLY well...and they were robbed of their spot on the NYT list.