"Throughout the book, your test points seem to be lost in a sea of self-aggrandisement and scattershot??? thinking."
These were the thoughts of Milo Yiannopoulos' editor at Simon & Schuster shortly before the right-wing provocateur's book was cancelled, US court documents show.
Earlier this year, the publishing giant pulled the book after a video emerged of Yiannopoulos making controversial comments about relationships between "younger boys and older men". The self-described troll's biography, Dangerous, leapt onto Amazon's best-seller list before it had even made it onto physical shelves.
The controversial blogger and speaker is now suing Simon & Schuster to the tune of $US10 million ($12 million), arguing the cancellation of his book amounted to breach of contract. As part of the legal proceedings, the publishing giant has filed numerous documents with the New York court system, including the incomplete manuscript and the accompanying comments and line edits.
In the prologue, Yiannopoulos' editor urges him steer clear of too many insults.
"Careful that the egotistical boasting that your young audience finds humorous doesn't make you seem juvenile to other readers," one editorial note reads. "Avoid parenthetical insults - they just diminish your authority."
Other edits and comments reveal Simon & Schuster attempted to get Yiannopoulos to back up his claims with evidence.
"Do you have credible evidence for this?" Yiannopoulos' editor asks when he claims left-wing groups pressured Facebook to swing the election in favour of Hillary Clinton.
Later in the manuscript, another line edit reads: "I will not accept a manuscript that labels an entire class of people 'mentally ill'".
"No need to drag the lesbians into this," reads another. "And DON'T use lesbian as a slur!"
The manuscript notes are being relied upon by Simon & Schuster as evidence that there was no breach of contract because, they argue, the book was not acceptable for publication.
However, the publisher has not escaped heated criticism online, with many questioning why it would show interest in Yiannopoulos' work in the first place.
The sad thing is that Simon & Shuster GIVE this troll $80K and leave brilliant mid-list authors languishing with measly $1k advances. #Suckshttps://t.co/xnZzSSl608??? Author Jeanne Adams (@JeanneAdams)
Think about that wasted labour that could have been used to mentor and give editorial supervision to other, *actually* deserving writers and to provide them a platform at Simon & Shuster.??? Aadita Chaudhury (@ThylacineReport) December 28, 2017
Yiannopoulos went on to self-publish Dangerous in July, claiming he had sold 100,000 copies within days of its release. But data from Nielsen BookScan revealed the book had sold just 18,268 copies a week after its launch.
Simon & Schuster's Australian division would not have published the book locally, even if its parent company had sent it to print.