Should Authors Cross Picket Lines?

Publishers Weekly has an interesting piece on whether authors will cross the Writers Guild of America picket lines to make appearances on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. The reporter actually called me to see if we’d had any authors booked recently. Alas, neither show has ever called us despite my attempts with some of our general interest titles. The two shows have emerged in the past year or so as one of the most important venues for serious nonfiction authors. University press authors seldom have any other shot at a television appearance and the "fake news" shows can introduce them to a wider, younger audience than print reviews in places like The New York Review of Books.
So my first reaction as a publicist would be to tell any author who was asked to be on one of the shows, "Go, do it! You have to!" But I wouldn’t be surprised if many of our authors might balk. One unnamed university press publicist in the PW story says, "People are concerned. They don’t want to be seen as strikebreakers,
crossing the picket line. After all, they’re professional writers, too.
But, then, it’s every writer’s dream to appear on Colbert or The Daily Show. People aren’t sure what to do." Right now I’ll just cross my fingers that we here at Duke Press even get a chance to decide whether to break the strike or not.

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