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US authors say publisher told them to ‘straighten’ gay character

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  1. I sent my gay novel around agents here in the UK about 15 years ago and was told in no uncertain terms that whilst they thought I had potential as a writer they were not interested in representing gay themed works. That is down to personal prejudices but they also know what publishers require ie no gays!

    In the case of this article, I think publishers, TV companies etc want an easy life and because they know that evangelicals will create a massive fuss about any gay references they try and avoid gay references/characters.

    We have a long way to go yet

    1. Another Hannah 15 Sep 2011, 5:39pm

      We need Gay publishers who are strong and big enough to market for the ordinary market. I think there is a danger here as well in Gay niche books – one or two gay characters in a book might be better, or else there is a chance of ghettoising. Then again most books aren’t entirely gay…….

    2. Another Hannah 15 Sep 2011, 5:50pm

      Try LULU dot com, get the profit from your own labour.

  2. Those who think that gay characters can’t exist in this genre (young adult sci-fi/fantasy), or that it will turn people off from reading the books, should really take a look at Holly Black.

  3. Ooer missus 15 Sep 2011, 2:54pm

    Sounds like there is a gap in the market for gay-friendly publishers.

  4. The us writers need to network with other gay writers and find publishers that are gay or human rights publishers, there are some very wealthy gay writers and they need to become publishers or fund other gay publishing houses for gay lbgt themed writings and movies, the young lgbt children and teenagers as well as adults and seniors who are gay need their own forum of gay novels and movies, just like you need gay producers in televisions to set up their own line of gay movies for teenage sitcoms for lgbt teens and gay sitcoms for lgbt seniors a gay golden girls and gay all in the familiy -a gay dynasty show which would be the awsome hit series for gay forums with gay characters, gay sports channels , and gay commedy channesl gay chefs channels and design channels, artists, talk shows, to gay line of productions theator, gay restraunts, gay hotels, gay ymca’s help produce and set up your own publishing houses for masses of gay families and have your gay material sent their get with it

  5. There was an excellent piece on “cloudfunding” on C4News the other day, basically you get a load of individuals to fund your novel. (Or play, album, artwork etc etc.) Sounds as though these authors should get into contact with a couldfunded publisher.

    1. Another Hannah 15 Sep 2011, 5:43pm

      there is of course good old fashioned vanity publishing. much cheaper now that print on demand services exist – you pay about £500 quid to get it registred, and put on Amazon etc, and they print the book as peopell want to buy it, rather than a run at once. This method is now economically viable with modern technology. Try Lula for example (just put it into Google to find it).

  6. Dane B. McFadhen 15 Sep 2011, 3:59pm

    How many straight authors are asked to ‘turn’ a straight character ‘gay’?

  7. Art Pearson 15 Sep 2011, 4:26pm

    I think the agency should be ‘outed’ and a boycott instituted.

  8. Jock S. Trap 15 Sep 2011, 4:30pm

    One wonders how you ‘straighten’ a Gay character. It defeats the object of the character completely. Shameful that people can come down to this instead of getting on with their lifes and accepting what and who is around them.

    1. I’ve often found a little chiropractic adjustment very useful. Any other ‘straightening’ techniques … not so much

  9. Honestly, I am not surprised at all. I would love a name and shame but for every one of us that would want to boycott there will be a selection of small minded idiots who will praise them for “protecting” young adults…. What can I say? These days, shop around and take advantage of new methods of buying your media – from independent musicians to those who are starting to e-publish. Pick out what you really like and don’t settle for what agents, labels and publishing houses THINK you should have – their time is coming.

  10. Dreadful. It’s like story from 25 years ago, but somehow not surprising. The barmy thing is that many writers with positively depicted gay characters do pretty well. And the notion that the average teen reader isn’t aware of gays outside what he or she reads is ludicrous.

  11. Another Hannah 15 Sep 2011, 5:48pm

    It is pure bigotry dressed up this stuff, much as in other areas. It has nothing to do with sales or protecting anyone – I suspect myself that most peopel want something a little racy, and that means at least a few gay characters. I meant LULU for the self publishing. You can publish through Lulu’s print on demand service for very little, and if it is a hit (as a few have been published this way) you get the big profit not some fat cat bigoted publisher. Thats LULU dot com, ther may be others, but that’s the one I tend to look at. Considering publishing something myself you see……..

  12. The BBC, of course, turned a gay character straight in a kids TV series about the life of Leonardo da Vinci. What can we expect when the Director-General answers to the Vatican?

    1. Another Hannah 15 Sep 2011, 11:24pm

      They really are starting to look like an organised unseen counter force that answers to a foreign power. Just as they did in the past.

  13. It was all a hoax to attract attention.

    1. David Myers 15 Sep 2011, 11:24pm

      You are clearly a troll. Go away.

      1. David Myers 16 Sep 2011, 12:10am

        Robert. I should restate my above comment to “you are acting like a troll.” After reading the extensive discussion linked below, I still do not think of this as a “hoax to attract attention”, but I was impressed with the over-all quality of the discussions from both sides on this issue. Your posting is simplistic and narrow minded. Maybe you should read all of the comments at the below link, rather than simply over-stating that it’s “all a hoax to attract attention”.

  14. So, what was the outcome? Are they looking for a new publisher? This is only half a report.

  15. An old problem of publishers making assumptions on what the buying public think is suitable reading.

    The author Samuel R Delany ( ) has written extensively about the problems he had getting published because of the content of his work.

    Of course back then the problem was that any fantasy had to be suitable for teenagers and no teenagers were meant to know about sex. His work was the first depiction I’d had of gay sex, in a book unwittingly bought by my mother . . .

    I can only thank the fact that the moral censors have never been very effective.

  16. Andrew McFarland 15 Sep 2011, 9:24pm

    This seems to have been a hoax, or at the very least not as simple as it appears:

    1. Another Hannah 15 Sep 2011, 11:25pm

      Maybe, but the points raised are still valid

    2. David Myers 16 Sep 2011, 12:04am

      Having read all of the entries (a considerable number of well thought out points of view) in this discussion (your link) I have to disagree with the first part of it “This seems to have been a hoax” but agree with the second part that it is “not as simple as it appears”. This lengthy discussion was very useful overall and I recommend that readers follow it. The pros and cons were well balanced with many good points made on both sides of the dispute.

  17. Me, a troll, David Myers? I think not. You might do well to refer to the following link for more information. Read it carefully.

  18. Staircase2 16 Sep 2011, 7:20pm

    Can I suggest that Pink News moves the negative and positive feedback buttons round the other way?
    It makes more sense logically to have the ‘no’ thumb on the left and the ‘yes’ thumb on the right – I keep having to second guess which button to push and Im sure I will end up voting the wrong way round – Im sure I cant be the only one either….

  19. There IS a gap in big-time publishing houses, but small presses and print-on-demand publishing houses are producing a wide array of GLBT fiction. I am particularly proud of my own publisher, Cheyenne, who recently issued a GLBT youth anthology, Awake! All proceeds from this volume go to the Trevor Foundation, for prevention of glbt teen suicide. Next month, Cheyenne is republishing Ruth Sims’ series The Pride Pack, a series of young-adult mysteries.

    Cheyenne’s catalog also includes this year’s Lambda Literary Award winner, “Normal Miguel” by Erik Orrantia.

    Small presses don’t make the big bucks, but they have a lot more flexibility and our books are available worldwide, either as print-on-demand or ebooks.

    Sorry if this comes across as a sales pitch, but as I said — Mark Probst, our publisher, is a good guy and he’s producing some terrific books for GLBT kids.

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