Jamie Wilson is running a crowdfunding campaign for ConservativeFiction.com, which will be a 1-stop-shop for un-woke fiction—for authors and readers alike.
Where do you go if you want to read compelling fiction without the wokeness? Where do you go if you want to write and publish it? Answering those questions can be frustrating. But Jamie Wilson of Conservatarian Press is seeking to change that. She’s crowdfunding for a brand new site where un-woke authors can list their fiction and readers can find them. Bleeding Fool did an exclusive Q&A with her in which she explained why she’s creating the site, and in which she revealed some of the latest happenings with Conservatarian Press.
Paul Hair: What is the purpose of the “Make Finding Conservative Fiction Easy” GiveSendGo crowdfunding campaign and will backers receive any perks?
Jamie Wilson: For years, I have owned the website conservativefiction.com, which obviously is a great name to own in our particular subculture, and I’ve been thinking about the best way I could leverage it for everyone’s benefit. I finally hit upon creating a database hub where authors could register their books—and where readers could search to find books that won’t insult their intelligence.
I had tried something similar before, but it failed simply because there was too much work for one person to effectively do. With this version, writers create an account. A few people who know our subculture and market very, very well check these writers out to ensure they are legitimately conservative or libertarian fiction writers. (We want to minimize trolls.) Once the account is approved, the writer can register his books—including title, description, cover image, review blurbs, sales links, a link to his home page, and anything else we can think of that will help drive those sales. Once the database is well populated, we will open it to readers. Readers, who for now are not asked to register, will be able to search by title, author, genre, and keyword to find books, and we are looking at options for browsing and randomized recommendations.
A second, hidden part of the database allows contractors like editors, cover artists, and similar folks to register with their services and sample work. Logged-in authors will see a prompt allowing them to search this smaller secondary database for the help they need. And because our contractors are drawn here specifically to sell services to conservative/libertarian writers, there is no worry about a clash of politics.
All of these services will be free. We will fund the site with minimal paid advertising on the front page and by inserting affiliate sales links in the author’s sales links. We will also be keeping advertising prices as low as possible.
There is only one perk for backing this campaign: writers (or really anyone, within reason) who donate a minimum of $30 get a free banner ad for one week at the top of the primary search page (i.e., the most visible location). They need to provide the ad to our specifications—which will be industry standard—and I will do my best (no promises) to work with their timing. (We won’t run any of these for about four weeks after we start, though, so that the database has time to populate and readers have time to congregate.)
PH: Do you have any fears that the “conservative fiction” or “conservatarian” brandings will make potential readers think that it’s message fiction?
JW: Not really. The fiction market has gotten so bad with “woke” content that readers expect it. Some like it. Those people are not, in general, our market, though they are certainly welcome. But we are specifically seeking out writers who have a conservative or right-leaning libertarian point of view—the people whose voices have been systematically kept out of the marketplace.
Later, our publishing company’s imprints will start reflecting a more neutral point of view in order to draw in more centrists and others, but for now we are just trying to build a marketplace. And for that we need those conservative READERS who have felt ignored for decades.
When it comes to the Conservative Fiction database hub, I have zero concerns about the “message fiction” aspect. I want readers looking for fiction specifically from a conservative point of view to come to us, and I think they’re smart enough to know our fiction is in general not going to preach to the converted.
Additionally, we will be working on placing informative articles in conservative media so that readers can find us easily and understand what we are, and I have pretty robust contacts for accomplishing this task.
PH: Will Conservative Fiction tie in with Conservatarian Press in any way or will they be entirely separate?
JW: Conservative Fiction is NOT part of Conservatarian Press—my husband (Clark, marketing) and I just happen to own them both. Their accounting and management are separate. When Conservatarian Press runs ads at Conservative Fiction, we will be paying for them.
Obviously, Conservatarian Press will be promoting Conservative Fiction, and we will be using it extensively, but we will be no more important to Conservative Fiction than any other publisher or writer. We can’t be. Conservative Fiction needs to be a tool that welcomes everyone, not one that favors us.
It should be a fun little challenge to maintain this!
PH: How are Conservatarian Press titles doing and what future titles can readers look forward to seeing?
JW: So far, Conservatarian Press has four books in print, and they are doing about as well as we anticipated: a slow build.
We will have four more coming out in May, then another four or five in July. Many of these are what I call Remastered—reprints that we are re-editing for various reasons.
For instance, Keith Korman’s Tea House of the Hidden Moon was first published by Tor Books, but they absolutely wrecked a very politically incorrect story. We are restoring it to the author’s original vision, and trying hard to get a Very Special Cover for it.
Michelle Buckman’s Death Panels was rushed to press to take advantage of Sarah Palin’s sudden notoriety, and large chunks of the book were cut out; the author is currently working to restore those, and this book will be republished this year.
We are also working in reprints by authors whose books were previously owned by Silver Empire, including Marina Fontaine and Declan Finn.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that conservatives and libertarians have plenty of books to read in certain genres—thrillers and science fiction, for instance—but not so many in other genres, like romance, YA, and women’s fiction. To that end, we are trying to spread our books over all the genres.
My Life as a Dixie Darling by Mark Goldblatt is a fun mainstream caper novel about a young wife and mother who decides to try internet soft porn modeling in the days before OnlyFans, and it’s another novel that was treated poorly by the big publishing houses.
Oh, we just have so many more coming up—some great historicals set in Roman times, post-apocalyptic reprints from Roy Griffis and Fred Tribuzzo, and three different romance series.
Next year we will be working hard to introduce children’s fiction. Lord knows our kids need better stuff to read that parents can feel good about!
PH: Are there any future plans for Conservatarian Press—a blog, magazine, or so forth—that you wish to reveal at this time?
JW: In July, we will be launching Sonder magazine, a PDF-format culture magazine that will publish stories, poetry, essays, and more short-form pieces from a conservative/libertarian point of view. Our main rule for Sonder is “don’t be political.”
There is just so much more to conservative culture than politics! We want to explore that part of conservatism—the part that ties us together as a community, not the part that determines how we vote on one day a year. We can set our politics aside but we cannot set aside who we are and what we believe. I think that part of conservatism deserves much more attention.
We welcome submissions of all kinds for our first magazine, with a deadline of midnight on June 6—D-Day. Those submissions can be anything from poetry to music files, visual art or video, short stories or essays, criticism and reviews. As an online outlet (for now) we can put pretty much any medium out there. Let’s reinvent magazines, shall we?
Send those subs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also getting ready to launch a pilot writers workshop, invitation-only, to sort of grow our own writers.
The publishing world has done a really good job of controlling which writers are successful, starting in college MFA programs. Most of the big publishing house fiction editors come out of the major MFA programs, and the professors know them personally. Because of this, a sort of MFA-to-bestseller stream has developed, and because MFA programs are hostile to conservative thought, conservatives have been systematically cut out of the whole thing.
The end result of this is we have a lot of writers coming to us who can tell a story, but who can’t write—who never developed a writer’s toolbox for crafting fiction. We need to change that. So we’re doing a 12-week free guided workshop—and expecting pretty rigorous work—for our writers that should help transform them from almost-ready to ready to publish.
Anyone interested in this can email me personally at email@example.com.
So, yeah, we have some big goals. But I’m pretty sure they are achievable, particularly with the support of our very large community.