Midwood Books Let Lesbians Live Happily Ever After

Midwood authors were required to turn out numerous titles in very short periods of time, giving them ample chance to learn and polish their craft. Despite the fact that Midwood was not known for its literary work, some of its writers eventually became best-selling authors or independent publishing company owners. Some went on to have a lifetime of success in the industry. For instance, Gil Fox published over a hundred titles with Midwood and was also quite known for his cover art. He was such a great success he was able to retire from his earnings. Donald E. Westlake and Julie Ellis were among the few Midwood authors who went on to become very successful authors.

Julie Ellis is notable because she was able to break through the “tragic consequences” rule the publishing industry imposed upon titles with gay and lesbian themes. Many paperback companies like Gold Medal Books were notorious in this regard, often playing it safe by adhering to rule. They couldn’t be accused of corrupting the morals of society if the gay and lesbian characters in their novels were “punished” in the end. It was simply far too big a risk for most companies of the time to let lesbians live happily ever after. Despite the taboo, though, Shorten allowed Ellis to be one of the first authors to do just that. She published

Midwood joined with Tower Books in 1964 to become Midwood-Tower. Regardless of its name, the publishing house will always be considered an important player in the burgeoning paperback industry world because of the opportunities it created for editors, writers, and readers of both genders and all sexual orientations. Publishing titles that were representative of the entire spectrum of human sexuality was a bold move for Shorten in his era. Every act of defiance, no matter how small, leads society to consider what may be next on the horizon. Midwood Books certainly foreshadowed what was to come for the literary world.