November 3rd, 2010
|08:19 pm - Moments That Make You Go ...|
This is another Scheherazade's Facade related post. For that, I'm sorry. It's just that the durned project is once again at the front of my mind and taking up a fair amount of attention.
I heard back from another of the various publishers I've pitched, and to no one's surprise, they turned me down. In this case, they cited the fact that they already had enough anthologies lined up, and couldn't take on another. Fine, acceptable, everyone has their own projects to worry about. The next sentence, however, floored me and made me stop and blink.
"Although it pains me to say so, I think you'll do better with this one with an lgbt audience than an sf one."
I'm not going to tell you guys what I read from that statement. Let's just say my eyebrow hit the roof, and that I sincerely disagree. My belief is that an anthology of fantasy stories featuring themes of gender, sexuality, transformation, self-discovery, acceptance and exploration is still fantasy.
Current Mood: contemplative
...Yeah, I kind of alluded to my sense of this attitude in my post on this subject, and I'll say more after I eat some dinner, but my immediate reaction is surprise at the idea that they're somehow two entirely different audiences.
And "surprise" is putting it rather politely, I have to say.
Okay. Post-dinner, my thoughts are going thusly: I get why someone would say that. I get that anything in the realm of specific not heteronormative and/or cisgendered seems, to some people, like a tough sell. But a) I think that's much less true than it used to be, and I also think sometimes publishers don't give readers enough credit for being able to connect with something out of the ordinary, and b) it isn't until some people are willing to take some chances, use their clout, and really challenge the commonly constructed/accepted landscape of a field that serious and lasting changes can be made.
So that's a really disappointing thing to read. Because you know, they might be right. And as long as people keep saying that, they're going to continue to be right in a lot of places. And that's not an attractive picture to me at all.
Science fiction is when you introduce a new element and see how it affects things. It is most certainly not limited to battle robots or tentacled aliens.
So if you had a telepathy-themed SF anthology, they'd tell you to pitch it to a New-Age audience?
Oh, no. Telepathy is a long-established trope of the genre. It's perfectly acceptable. What's dubious, apparently, is something exploring gender issues and boundaries. :>
Serious suggestion: Bounce it off QueeredFiction. They showcase some impressive work.http://www.queeredfiction.com/
I'm actually working on some stuff for submission there. And yes, I agree that the manuscript you have *should* be publishable in the mainstream, but...well, people are people. :p
I'm not sure about them. They don't seem to have updated since July, and pretty sparsely before then. It's enough to make me kind of wary. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
What about the good folks at Crossed Genres? They've done some remarkable work in the genre and are fully supportive of things with a lgbt tilt.
I'll look into them. Though I'm not sure they have the infrastructure to support a full anthology at this point. Support and goodwill don't always equate to funding and stuff. :(
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)|| |
I will add "Although it pains me to say so" to the list that includes "I'm not racist, but" and "With all due respect" and "Don't take this the wrong way, but" and "No offense, but".
A market tip is a market tip. Sometimes it's good advice to take something where you wouldn't expect, and sometimes it isn't.
On the one hand, after several people told me Shadow of the Antlered Bird should be marketed as YA, I tried that with a few YA agents. The first one loved the sample chapter but felt it was too sophisticated for the audience. The second I just spoke with and concluded that it just wasn't the right market.
On the other hand, a friend of mine tried selling a paranormal mystery to mystery markets, F/SF markets, GLBT markets (it made sense for this book), and finally sold it as Literary fiction because she's Canadian, and Canadian publishers get grants for publishing literary fiction by Canadian authors.
I've only seen one of the stories in the antho, so I don't know how well it would actually fit the market, but my thought is, if you can pitch a book to a whole new market without changing anything about it, why not give it a try? I've certainly seen books published by GLBT presses put up for sale at conventions (especially, but not exclusively, Arisia and Pi-Con), so selling it to a publisher that specializes in GLBT fiction doesn't prohibit you from selling copies of the book to F/SF audiences. If you give this a try, you may be exposing GLBT readers to writers they might not otherwise have noticed, and your stable of fantasy authors to readers who might not otherwise have noticed them. So the way I see it, it's a win-win.
...although if you think this other editor didn't know what he was talking about (as indicated by the "although it pains me" thread), then you may want to run it past a gay or lesbian colleague before pursuing this avenue.
Well, I can only speak for myself of course, but here goes:
(1) re: an SF audience: I'm a lot more adventurous when it comes to anthologies, particularly themed anthologies, than I am with novels. When I describe what kind of an SF reader I am, I'll usually base it on the type of novels I like to read, but that's never stopped me from trying out anthologies outside my usual hunting grounds. I find that I don't need to be a fan of (or even know a lot about) a theme or subgenre before buying an anthology - in fact, sometimes my ignorance about a subject is what compels me to buy one. For example, I like neither zombies nor unicorns but I bought Zombies vs. Unicorns because I wanted to see how great writers could actually make stories featuring creatures which I usually find to be bland.
(2) re: gender specific appeal: On this aspect, I'll leave the realm of prose and venture into another realm dear to my heart: anime/manga. Japanese manga and anime explore issues of transformation and sexuality all the time, in both niche and mainstream works, and many anime/manga have wide international followings where sexual orientation isn't really a factor. I'm sure that there are LGBT who adore Ranma 1/2, or Kashimashi Boy Meets Girl, but I doubt they make up most of its fans.
Given the above, I see the antho as potentially appealing to both SF fans, and to people interested in LGBT issues who aren't generally SF fans. I'm not saying this means the antho will be commercially successful, but I find it hard to see cross-over potential as a bad thing.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)|| |
Given that one of the straightest, most conservative men in SF wrote a gender-blurring novel, that was popular enough for him to update it years later and get it published again, I have to wonder what that one publisher is talking about.
(The book in question is Orson Scott Card's A Planet Called Treason, later renamed to just Treason.)
(Edited to correct spelling, I need to clean my keyboard.)
Edited at 2010-11-04 06:38 pm (UTC)
That statement is absolutely correct.
I was just thinking about this recently. Science fiction publishing has the same sexual prejudices that the mainstream does. Even though individual writers and editors don't all feel that way, times are tough and everyone in scifi is going to be extremely conservative and only publish what worked last year. Every year or two there is a "break through" sex book in SciFi, and then we have to have a break-through book all over again. The last book wasn't a "break through" if the barrier still needs to be broken.
Cecilia started Circlet because she couldn't find anyone to publish her scifi erotica. Nothing has changed.
This is why I started publishing with romance. It's the only genre publishing sector that is growing. You'll notice that Circlet is growing sideways into romance as well.
While I do honestly hope you knock down your windmill, I wouldn't bet any money on it.
|Date:||November 10th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)|| |
I don't get this.. your audience should be whatever you target it at.
You should be able to market a book to BOTH a fantasy audience and an LGBT one. In fact, you'd be more likely to make back your expenses. Why confine it to a single niche?