Frequently Asked Questions
Are you LDS?
W.W. Phelps & Co. is a small business owned and operated by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, W.W. Phelps & Co. is not affiliated with or endorsed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
What is W.W. Phelps & Co. about?
W.W. Phelps & Co. wants to give every LDS author his or her voice by providing a means of producing any manuscript in e-book form and distributing that e-book both direct to consumers and through various commercial distributors. Our conversion service is free, and always will be! Authors publishing through W.W. Phelps & Co. receive benefits they won't find at any other LDS publisher:
W.W. Phelps & Co. strives to give the author as much control over their books as possible. Our only restriction is that we do reserve the right to refuse publication to books we deem inappropriate for the LDS market. An obvious example is that we do not permit pornography on this site. Less obvious examples are discussions of doctrine or portrayals of worldly behavior that are deemed too speculative or gratuitous for the market. It is W.W. Phelps & Co.'s goal to avoid whenever possible being the LDS Market's "morality police," but the Natural Man being what it is (an enemy to God), we are forced to participate to some degree. To help authors understand our limits, we have posted below our Conventions of Morality and a discussion of Intent.
Our Conventions of Morality help us, authors, and readers understand where we draw the line between (for example), a book that addresses real issues in the world and and books that offer worldliness as an entertainment. That's the line that prohibits publication. The gray area in between is managed by our Intent feature.
I'm not seeing the genre I want?
There are two reasons to ask this question. One is that you're looking for an age-based category such as "Young Adult." The other is that you're looking for an actual genre that we haven't yet listed (such as "metaphysics"). If you're looking for an age-based category, what you should do is select your audience age range in our "Sort by:" filters. For example, you may choose "Young Adult (ages 13–17)". You can do this for any combination of genre (category) and age (audience). For example, if you wish to see a list of ghost stories for children you might set the Audience filter to "Pre-Teen (ages 10–12)" and click on the "Horror & Ghost Stories" category link.
If your favorite genre isn't listed, it means no books have been published for that genre. Authors and publishers who desire a genre not currently listed may set the "Category" attribute to "Other" when they submit their book, and list their preferred genre in the "Preferred Genre" text field. If we have any questions, we'll contact you, otherwise we'll include that genre in our list of categories. As much as possible, our catagory lists conform to the industry standard BISAC Subject Headings.
What are your supported Ebook formats?
W.W. Phelps & Co. supports the following Ebook formats. Authors may choose which formats are available for purchase. Purchasing an Ebook gives you access to all of the formats made avaiable by the author. Visit a book's catalog page to see which formats are available for that book.
Do you support digital rights management (DRM)?
We do not support digital rights management. Security is a balance between (a) the value of the item one wishes to protect, (b) the ease with which that item can be duplicated, and (c) the inconvenience the protector is willing to put people through to access the item. In the old days of physical books, duplicating an entire book was often more expensive than simply buying a new book, and so the protections (copyright law) were designed to stop one publisher (who has the ability to duplicate a book) from illegally copying another publisher's (or author's) books. The security of law never inconvenienced the reader and was easily invoked against thieves.
Compare this to an ebook which, once the copy protection is broken, is trivially duplicated by anyone. The unfortunate reality of software is that with diligence any method of protection can be broken. Once broken, the management system (usually involving special software readers must buy and install to read the book, raising their inconvenience to read your book) becomes worthless. Copyright law is expensive to prosecute against individuals and proof of the number of copies created is very difficult to obtain. Gratefully, we do not yet live in a time where the average person cannot be trusted.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. (Article of Faith 13.)
What are your "conventions of morality?"
The art of writing is the ability to convey a story or message to the reader in a way that fires the imagination or educates the mind. It is our belief that explicit use of sex, violence, and profanity robs readers of these opportunities. The goal of this website is to provide authors of LDS-oriented books and readers of LDS-oriented books a much larger venue than has previously existed, but books of low quality that canot engage the reader without falsehood or the gatuitous use of sex, violence, or profanity will harm both the service and its users. LDS books should be uplifting. They should entertain, educate, and inspire. Most books will be wholly within LDS mores. However, other books will address topics that are sensitive (such as books supporting or refuting the Church's efforts to reach out to homosexual members). There are limits, however, because the desire of this service is to provide the best books (D&C 88:118; 90:15; 109:7,14). Our conventions of morality are these:
Veracity We expect books delivered through this web site to be truthful. Books found to promote lies, falsehoods, or misleading ideas will be removed from the service. We believe sincerely in an ancient proverb and a modern revelation:
The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar. (Proverbs 19:22.)
For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion. And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known. (D&C 64:38–39.)
Sexuality We will not publish works containing explicit descriptions of sexual behavior, sexual intent, or physiology and we strongly discourage sexually-biased scenes by any means but implication. To suggest a metaphor: no one needs to see someone hit by a truck to understand that it would be gruesome to be hit by a truck. The same is true for sexuality. Submissions that include sexually-biased scenes involving children in any way will be rejected. We do not publish erotic works of any kind. We believe sincerely in the admonition of James:
From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:1–7.)
Violence We will not publish works that gratuitously describe acts of violence. (C.F. our hit-by-a-truck example, above.) Scenes written with the intent to overtly sicken or disturb the reader due to the use of violence violate this rule. Please refer to the aforementioned passage from James.
Profanity We will not publish works that use gratuitous profanity. Language considered coarse by general social standards is discouraged. We recognize that it is difficult to write a book about someone living in our modern age without including profanity, but we expect authors to be good writers. A book that isn't good without the profanity won't be good with it. Profanity should be excluded if possible and minimal if required. Above all, invective use of the name of Divinity that we can rationalize in any way as unecessary will be rejected. Once again we look to James:
For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. (James 3:2–6.)
What is "Intent"?
Over the years our staff has heard from many authors both within and without the LDS Church. Those authors often complained that they couldn't write the books they wanted to write due to subjective restrictions imposed by Church bookstores. Sometimes authors were complaining because they couldn't write a worldly book for the LDS market and we agreed with the restriction. Sometimes an author wanted to explore issues relevant to Church members and we disagreed with the restriction. However, we understand the need for restrictions. W.W. Phelps & Co. focuses on the LDS market, meaning members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This restricts the kinds of books we wish to represent. Our Conventions of Morality describe the first line we chose to draw in the sand: books that focus on vulgar, worldly, sinful behaviors will not be permitted. But this line is, regreatably, not precise. If a book focuses on the conversion of a drug dealer, should that book include profanity and violence? Perhaps, to a degree. To this end we also consider the intent of a book. On the one hand is the need to expose evil for the purpose of removing it:
Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven. These should then be attended to with great earnestness. (D&C 123:13–14.)
And on the other hand is Habakkuk's warning about exposing ourselves to too much evil:
Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. (Habakkuk 1:4.)
But, deciding whether a book adheres to our Conventions of Morality is easy compared to deciding whether or not a book should otherwise merit presentation to the LDS market. Our basic policy is not to interfere with a book unless necessary — and when necessary, to do so sparingly. As we discuss below, some books decidedly belong here. They are pro-LDS or, in other words, "normal and expected." Others, however, merit exposure to a worldly reality while others are speculative discussions of gospel topics and may not belong here. Still others are decidedly anti-Mormon (anti-LDS) books. Though we will hold them to a very high standard, even these have a place here — but not all. W.W. Phelps & Co. reserves the right to remove titles that vary, in our judgment, too far from the normal needs and wants of the LDS market. All authors are required to identify the intent of their books, and W.W. Phelps & Co. reserves the right to modify the assigned intent or remove the book entirely if the wrong intent is assigned.
What does "pro-LDS" mean?
A "pro-LDS" book is represented by the average book you may find in any LDS bookstore. It adheres to the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the Holy Scriptures and the dogma of the Church. Its purpose is specifically to entertain, educate, or inspire the LDS audience to greater faith and testimony. Such books are tastefully written so that when discussing worldly matters, they are in the world but never of the world (John 15:19).
What do you mean by "worldly reality"?
Some books challenge the evil of our world or promote conversion from a worldly state in a way that is informative, educational, and uplifting despite the necessity to expose the reader to some worldly realities. These could perhaps be described as the "PG-13" books not intended for audiences of every age. Our primary goal, however, is to promote strong gospel standards. We believe in the Lord's commandment to "… be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." (D&C 38:42.) Therefore, we do not permit worldly reality for the sake of entertainment.
They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:5–6.)
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27.)
What does "speculative interpretation" mean?
A "speculative interpretation" book is one that expresses interpretations or opinions not definitively accepted by the Church. This is an intent that W.W. Phelps & Co. considers carefully because speculative interpretation can vary from an informative consideration of the timing and nature of Second Coming prophecies (about which there is considerable scriptural information and commentary from Church leaders leading to minor speculation) to controversial topics like the worship of an Heavenly Mother (about which there is no scriptural information and little primary source commentary from Church leaders). Our judgement as to the suitability of any particular book will be based on the amount of inference required to justify the discussion or the amount of weight given to poorly documented comments from early Church leaders. In this regard, we follow the instructions of the Lord:
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha—There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly; there are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men. Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated. Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth; and whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom; and whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen. (D&C 91.)
Why are anti-LDS books allowed on this site?
We understand that initially this might not make sense, but books that ask questions about and even challenge our practices and doctrine or that investigate our history are not bad books so long as they meet our veracity guidelines.
The Philisophical Answer As Church members we believe we are bound by the doctrine of Jesus Christ and the writings of prophets. The twelth Article of Faith teaches that as Saints we should obey, honor, and sustain the law—and we at W.W. Phelps & Co., as citizens of the United States, believe that includes the right to free speech. The ancient prophet Alma taught, "the law could have no power on any man for his belief." Brigham Young was reported to have invited ministers from other denominations to speak in LDS congregations so that our members could better understand their faith and build their testimonies. Therefore, while we hold authors accountable to our conventions of morality, and hold them accountable for properly identifying the intent of each book so that readers can choose for themselves what to read and what not to read, we do not restrict authors of any denomination from submitting books to this website.
For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man’s belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds. (Alma 30:11)
The Practical Answer There is also a simple reality to this service. By its nature, anyone can submit anything and it will be our responsibility to keep the database clean of truly inappropriate books. Most of the time determining what is inappropriate is simple. But in those cases where, for example, an honest effort to critically analyze LDS doctrines or culture is interpreted as offensive by some but not by others, the job is more difficult. Therefore, rather than attempt to impose what inevitably would be seen as draconian measures to keep all negative books from appearing on the site, we have created practical submission guidelines that benefit both authors and readers; and that assist us in managing the task of managing submissions.
However We hold authors of these books accountable to very high standards. The goal of this website is to uplift through entertainment, education, and inspiration. An honest discussion about LDS doctrine and beliefs provides the Saints an opportunity to see themselves through the eyes of others. Nevertheless, authors who write books that chastize, complain, or that promote ideas divergent from those taught in the Holy Scriptures and by prophets and apostles, must educate through more than sophistry or be removed from the site. We at W.W. Phelps & Co. accept debate, but reject hate.
Nevertheless ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your public meetings, which are held before the world. (D&C 46:3.)
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:11–12.)
Has the Church ever forced you to stop publication?
The Church has not contacted us with a request to stop publication of any book. However, due to our desire to permit LDS authors to address a wide variety of topics and despite our use of Intent to better categorize books some LDS readers would prefer to avoid, we expect that eventually we will be asked to revoke publication of a book. When or if the Church contacts us with a request to revoke publiction, W.W. Phelps & Co. will work with the Church and the author to better understand objections in the hope that either persuasion on the part of the Church or a rewrite on the part of the author will result in continued publication. However, all authors should understand that the LDS market exists because of the Church and it is the prerogative of the Church to determine whether or not a subject or its presentation is inappropriate for a company whose intent is to support the goals of the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the end, if the Church insists that a book be removed, we will honor its request.
And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place. But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them. (D&C 124:45–46.)