Monday, February 25, 2013

Come visit . . . and win!

Today I'm  at the wonderful Young Adult LGBTQ Literature site, TRUE COLORZ. So if you'd like to know why I write YA characters and which one of mine I'd like to be for a day, stop by. I also talk about how Red in The Zero Knot came to be, and something important I didn't learn from Oprah.

Oh, and I'm also doing a giveaway. The winning commenter can choose either The Zero Knot OR Xylophone. You have until March 3 to enter!

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Modest Proposal . . . or Three

Let me say straight up that I've never been to Gay Rom Lit. My spending $2,000 to $3,000 on a conference just ain't gonna happen until FedEx delivers that sugar daddy I ordered. But I've read countless posts over the past couple of days (and I suspect you have too) about how this year's GRL is being handled, or mishandled, and how ironic it is that six top-tier authors have proved such dismal communicators that they've managed to offend a considerable number of their peers.

Seems to me some changes are in order if GRL is to run smoothly in the future and avoid being known as GRRRR.

Any thinking person can easily understand the need for cost management and registration caps. So, how to address these issues? Here are the most logical options.

  1. Book the con at larger, more accommodating venues. Considering that's easier said than done, let's move on.
  2. (This is something I suggested elsewhere.)  Make it clear well in advance of registration that a limited number of spaces are available for readers as well as authors. Then proceed to accept registrants on a first-come, first-served basis. This is the most equitable approach, because it levels the playing field for everybody. However, organizers have made it clear they're resistant to taking this route because it could glut the con with relatively unknown authors -- and those aren't the ones readers want to meet.
  3. (More and more, I'm convinced this might be best solution.) Refashion GRL. Rather than putzing around trying to define author "tiers" and figure out how to divvy up spaces among them (which, let's face it, only generates resentment), make GRL an invitation-only event for authors and an open-registration event for readers. This means, of course, the vast majority of writers in the genre will be left out. But really, so what? We small fry all realize we can't compete with the big fish in this pond. And we all know there are other gay-lit meets we're welcome to attend. Organizers have stated over and over again that readers go to GRL in the hope of meeting the genre's superstars. They become flustered and disappointed (so say the organizers, and they should know) if ID tags they want to see are lost in an ocean of names they don't recognize.
So, based on the multitude of contradictions I've seen as organizers stress out and their CYA impulses reach record levels, and the hurt (as well as fear) on the part of "ordinary" authors, and the indignation on the part of readers . . . in the name of all that is sane, I encourage organizers to adopt option #3. Make GRL a reader-inclusive event that centers on fan favorites. This is the only way to ensure that all attendees will get what they want out of it.

I find this the most manageable and profitable way to go. And the most honest. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Author Reincarnation

I think I'd like to try this.

The Current Big Thing at Goodreads hasn't been spawned by blog hops or favorites lists or any given publisher. A lot of readers seem to be jumping on a new bandwagon: free online fiction or inexpensive self-published fiction that breaks from genre norms. It might be waaaaaay longer than the usual m/m stories. Or waaaaaay shorter. Often it's written by people with quirky handles like stained_skirt and BrainMassacre. Sometimes it's spawned by fandoms.

So . . . what's driving people to read, rate, and review this stuff (and rave about it, even if it isn't particularly good)? Is it disaffection or boredom with standard genre offerings? Cheapness? Curiosity? A desire to support "deviant" writers (you know, like deviant artists)? Is it a fad, or an indication of where publishing is headed? (Don't sell it; give it away!) In any case, this trend has an air of rebellion about it -- like, "I'm thumbing my nose at the establishment, because they're all wankers. Except, of course, my favorite authors, who can do no wrong."

I'm creeping toward the point where I'd like, or maybe need, to reinvent myself. It would be interesting, very interesting, to find out how an oddball work would be received if it didn't have my usual pseudonym on it, and maybe didn't even have cover art.

I wonder if other authors ever feel this way.