#OwnVoices need publishers to focus on them (LGBT)

caitlyn-wilson-230614-unsplash

 

unsplash-logoCaitlyn Wilson

With the recent fallout concerning the publisher Riptide as well as the fallout around Santino Hassell, there has been an exposure of underlying issues in the m/m romance genre.

These issues include racism, misandry, bi-erasure, trans-erasure, and oddly enough, homophobia inside these books.

Furthermore, there are issues that gay men deal with specifically such as conversion therapy and other such things that authors use as a plot device. Due mostly to the rules of romance combined with privilege, these serious issues are often overlooked or oversimplified.

This is detrimental to the subject matter because it gives the reader the wrong ideas about many aspects and it’s detrimental to the LGBT person who reads this and wonders just how so much could be so wrong in the world.

There are those out there who have no problem participating in the creation of work that perpetuates stereotypes, whitewashes homosexual relationships to make them more palatable, ignores People of Color in gay relationships, writes subjects without doing their due diligence in regards to what gay men experience (The Preacher’s Son), and this idea that fantasy has any business overriding the reality of many.

These issues, including others, are deeply rooted in the genre of m/m romance. They’ve caused widespread arguments before, there have been flare-ups before this, but nothing quite this bad or widespread.

Yet, the problem hasn’t gone away.

Nor will it go away.

Mostly, because like a festering boil, or like a bad tooth, the pain won’t go away until the root cause of the problem is dealt with.

I used to think that this is an issue that could be solved with simple conscientiousness. Yet, I think I may have changed my mind on this. I don’t think that’s enough.

We need publishers or a publisher to focus on LGBT stories from LGBT people – specifically. Whether that is an imprint or a publisher whose sole purpose is to produce this or publishing houses who have a diverse staff prepared to deal with these stories, specifically.

#Ourvoices

Our stories from people who are inside the spectrum of LGBT be they romantic stories or otherwise.

While I think people from all walks of life have a right to write what they want, we need our place to write what we know. What we’ve lived. What we’ve gone through. What we’re still going through. How we see the world.

We need a place to gather specifically for the creation of LGBT work by LGBT individuals.

Right now gay people and gay people’s lives are being used to profit everyone but gay people. That isn’t fair.

#Ourvoices need to be heard. #Ourvoices are important, too. #Ourvoices ought to have a place of their own to grow and flourish.

 

Page Stuffing and Bonus Books on KU

lacie-slezak-128106

unsplash-logoLacie Slezak

You’re the reason why we can’t have nice stuff. Seriously.

Yesterday I watched a video by Heather’s Hangout on Youtube where she named and shamed authors by cheating the KU system.

You can watch her video here 

As you know Kindle Unlimited allows readers to read as many books as they want for a monthly fee of 9.99.

For readers that’s awesome – it’s like Netflix for books.

However, the agreement that each author enters into when they decided to go with Kindle Unlimted does a couple of things.

First off, it gives exclusive rights to Amazon to publish the book for the duration of the KU contract. So, while on the program authors cannot have their books listed with any other book distributor.

Secondly, once you sign up for the program authors are paid by pages read. The breakdown is like .00046 cents per page and that number fluctuates constantly.

Pages read also increases visibility on Amazon’s website. The more pages read, the higher the ranking of your book in the genre(s) it’s listed under.

That’s all great.

However, the system is far from perfect. For example, not only do authors have to deal with piracy of e-books, piracy of audiobooks, click farms in China that cheat the system, now other authors are gaming the system by stuffing their books with ‘bonus books’ and listing it all for 99 cents.

((I think listing a book for 99 cents is outrageous enough, as it devalues books and the work put into them. ))

As mentioned in the video above, this has caused some authors to jump over E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey) in the Amazon ranking.

Not because of the quality of their work. Not because of the popularity of their work. But simply because of mathematics. Think card counting at a Vegas Casino.

While it’s technically allowable under the current Amazon TOS – click here – in my opinion, the entire thing is completely unethical.

With as hard as it’s become to compete with all the shady aforementioned things listed above, to know that fellow authors are out there screwing over others, is really sort of disgusting.

If your talent alone can’t carry you into prominence, if you have to absolutely game the system to reap the benefits of a program designed to be egalitarian for both readers and writers, no matter how much money you make, no matter how popular you become, you’re work should be viewed for what it is.

A fucking sham job.

Furthermore, you’re working to totally delegitimize the ranking of Amazon completely and other bestsellers lists out there.

There are authors out there who dream of becoming best sellers. Authors who actually have the talent to do it on their own and you and your buddies are standing in their way – completely unfairly I might add – so that you can pad your pockets.

Way to be a buddy fucker.