Happy Wednesday Scribblers. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the myth of LGBTQIA+ books. You see gay themed books (that aren’t romance or erotica) are being lumped together in romance and erotica categories where they absolutely do not belong. This myth that all LGBTQIA+ books are romance is how we are all being judged, and it doesn’t work. As a buddy of mine mentioned, “wouldn’t it be nice to type into Google; Fantasy, Rogue, Gay Books and what comes up is a Fantasy story about a Rogue character who, oh by the way, is gay.” The book wouldn’t be a romance or erotica novel but an adventure book with a gay Rogue main character. How amazing would that be? Right now if you ran that search you'd find a lot of romance/erotica books with half naked (or completely naked) men (and some women) on the cover reflecting a romance and erotica feel.
This shouldn’t be the norm. Yet, sadly it is.
How do we break out of this paradigm? How do we destroy that myth? One way is how our books are categorized either on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, our Publishers, etc. We the authors need to insist that our stories are marketed as LGBTQIA > Fiction > Paranormal >Vampires or Gay & Lesbian > Fiction > Urban Fantasy or whatever works for our category.
Second, and this is a much harder step, we have to educate our readers and our reviewers. We need to stand up and stand out from romance and erotica. Make sure our potential readers and reviewers understand what we write isn’t fetishized gay romance. That yes our books may have elements of romance but our stories are not romance. Our works are Sci-Fi. They are Urban Fantasy. They are Paranormal Vampires. They are Drama.
If we, the authors, can do these two things, then we, the creators of these works can invoke the change in our genre and maybe get readers both gay and straight to see us.
A closing point I have for everyone to think about.
Let’s flip the script. What if all books where lumped together under the category of romance? What if to find ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King you had to find it under that category “Best Straight Romance Vampire Books” would it have been as popular and successful as it has been? Same with any other books like the Red Mars Series by Kim Stanley Robinson. Or, The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Is it fair to these amazing authors or these incredible books? I don’t think so.
So, why do we have this ‘myth’ for LGBTQIA+ authors and their books?
Let’s lump Sci-Fi with Sci-Fi, Drama with Drama, Urban Fantasy with Urban Fantasy, and yes, Romance with Romance. Let’s break this myth of LGBTQIA+ books and show the reading world that all these books can stand together and be great. If you’re an author what do you think about this myth of LGBTQIA+ works? If you’re a reader how would you think books should be categorized? Tell me in the comments below. Until next week have an amazing week.
The point I was trying to make with this Blog, is that with LGBTQIA+ books they all tend to be lumped under some form of romance and that is all you tend to find when you do a search for LGBTQIA+ books which makes it very challenging to market a non-romance book. There are hundreds if not thousands of LGBTQIA+ books that are in no way related to romance and should not be categorized in that manner. Not only can this mislead the reader who is looking for romance or erotica but it has and can sway reviewers who go into a book expecting romance or erotica and end up reading a story with no romance in it.