You don’t have to be queer to read my book. But apparently it will help.

By Evangeline Jennings

So. I have a new book coming out in two months and I’m starting to look for likely book reviewers who might consider it their cup of tea. This is hard enough in the normal run of things – ask anyone in my position – but I’ve found something that makes it just a little harder and a lot more disheartening.

Review Policy – We do not review LGBT literature.

Here’s a few thoughts

If you don’t want to read and review same-sex erotica, I’m not going to criticize you. I don’t want to read your Sarah Palin slash fiction. But you won’t review LGBT literature? I find it hard to believe that people who claim to love books can say such a thing.

And yes, as I’ve already admitted to my closest hundred friends, my initial reaction was, I wonder if my stories are too queer for them? Because this is an influential book review site I’m talking about and I was hoping for their support.

And yes, I have lesbians and homosexuals in my 84,000 words. I also have transgender characters. And several same-sex sex scenes to balance out the heterosexual scenes. Not to mention cars, guns, a high body count, and a lot of really bad things. But these book reviewers don’t say they won’t review books in which Bad Things Happen. They don’t take a stand for Gun Control, or the Environment. No. They reserve their disdain for LGBT literature. As, I have since discovered, do many other book review sites. Whereas – and this doesn’t actually help – there are “rainbow” sites that will only review same-sex erotica and don’t think I’m queer enough. This is not the sort of book we cover.

So.

To be clear, you don’t have to be queer to read my book, but apparently it will help. I don’t imagine there are more than a thousand gay words in the whole fucking thing. And that’s a thousand too many or not enough. Zoot alors.

So.

I’m not playing here. I won’t call people out by name or make any more fuss about this than I already have with this one little blog post. I’m not going to rant about why it’s important to write and read books that present people who are – pardon me – different doing more than simply being different or agonizing about their differentness. And I will continue quietly to look for book reviewers who don’t recoil at the thought of girls touching each other or boys doing whatever it is those sick perverts do. But I am going to see if there is anything we can do to help people who write “LGBT literature” and can’t get a fucking review.

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5 thoughts on “You don’t have to be queer to read my book. But apparently it will help.

  1. That’s really awfully discriminatory, I’m sorry you had that experience. It’s ridiculous that something as intelllectual as literature still has people wanting to ‘Other’ people within it.
    Best luck with getting your book reviewed.

    1. Thanks, Madie. It’s not really the biggest deal in the whole wide world but it is disheartening to see major book review sites adopt a policy that they will not review “LGBT literature”. I’m not even sure if my book is “LGBT literature” or not. It’s mostly noir crime fiction with a number of characters who are L, G, B or T. But I do now feel unwelcome at such sites and very uncomfortable at the idea of submitting my writing to them now.

      1. It’s nonsensical really because their definition of ‘LGBT literature’ is probably whatever they decide it is and as such, you can’t really control how it’s going to be perceived. I think you’ll have better luck elsewhere and good on you for giving representation (in terms of characterisation) to those who are L, G, B or T. It’s not hard and one day it’ll be seen as ‘normal’ hopefully.

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