When major publishing houses have signed books by former Trump officials, the backlash has been intense. In April, after Simon & Schuster said it acquired two books by Mr. Pence, some employees and authors protested, and a petition demanding an end to the deal drew signatures from more than 200 employees and 3,500 outside supporters that month. Soon after, the news that Simon & Schuster had also signed Ms. Conway fueled a fresh round of criticism.
Jonathan Karp, Simon & Schuster’s chief executive, said in a letter to the company that it remained committed to publishing authors from across the political spectrum.
“We come to work each day to publish, not cancel,” Mr. Karp wrote, “which is the most extreme decision a publisher can make, and one that runs counter to the very core of our mission to publish a diversity of voices and perspectives.”
Still, the rancor has created an opening for smaller independent conservative publishers to recruit prominent authors who might have previously gone to one of the major houses for a large advance. This spring, Post Hill Press, a small publisher in Tennessee, bought a book from Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, which is due out in November, and a memoir from Kayleigh McEnany, the former White House press secretary, about her time in the administration. Bombardier, an imprint of Post Hill, has published books by Representative Matt Gaetz and other well known Republicans.
Industry executives say there’s an enormous market for conservative books, particularly under a Democratic president and Congress. Under the Clinton and Obama administrations, publishers saw booming sales for right-wing books like Edward Klein’s “The Truth About Hillary” and Ben Shapiro’s “The People vs. Barack Obama.” Similarly, the Trump era proved profitable for publishers as readers devoured books by James Comey, John Bolton and Mary Trump that were critical of the president and his administration.
Publishers hope the reader interest stays strong. Sales for political titles in 2020 soared to 12.9 million print copies, a jump of nearly 60 percent from 2019, according to NPD BookScan. So far this year, political books have sold 3.3 million print units, up more than 20 percent compared with the same period in 2020.
Some see an opening to create a parallel publishing ecosystem that caters to conservative authors who have been shut out by mainstream houses. The D.C. public relations firm Athos started a literary agency, and is representing conservatives such as Scott Atlas, Mr. Trump’s former coronavirus adviser, and Christopher Rufo, the director of a conservative think tank, who has sold a book about critical race theory to Broadside.