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Say Yes to Gay YA

Two YA authors are asked to rewrite a gay character as straight if they want representation.

Wow. This just has me boggling, for a lot of reasons. I'm an adult that more than occasionally consumes YA fiction as a reader, and this certainly raises flags about the why and how of the default YA character being white, straight, and without appreciable disabilities. And I think another very interesting point is that the absence of main characters that aren't the standard is likely a pure marketing decision rather than, for example, the publishing world being made up of nothing but racist, disability-hating homophobes. Which makes me wonder if the assumption in publishing is that we book-consuming plebes are all racist, disability-hating homophobes. Or if it's more along the lines of Disney changing Rapunzel to Tangled because they were hoping to trick more boys into seeing it, since society says little boys can't possibly like things that aren't about little boys.

Either way, yuck.

This is all of particular interest to me because I'm still hoping I can hit the jackpot and find an agent for Throne of Nightmares. And ToN has a gay character, and a character with a seizure disorder.

Though at this point, I feel very safe in assuming that my enormous stack of rejections comes from the fact that I'm a first-time author and trying to get in really feels like beating your head against a wall in the vain hope that your skull will split open and Skittles will come pouring out.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
tsutsujigirl
Sep. 12th, 2011 11:21 pm (UTC)
I could use some skittles right now. Keep trying!
sealwhiskers
Sep. 12th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
Bloody fuckers. A plague on all their houses.
dogmatix_san
Sep. 13th, 2011 01:10 am (UTC)
Hmmmmm. Stalk authors that have gay characters in their books and nefariously find out the names of their agents? :D Then ask the agents if they know any other agents who represent to YA publishers who'd be brave/willing/sensible enough to take on a project with a *gasp* gay character?

Join the SCBWI(Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and stalk agents/publishers that way? (Yes they do cover YA)

If you're willing to shell out a few hundred bucks to the SCBWI, you can even be assured of getting it under an agent/publisher's nose come annual-conference time.
ruthannereid
Sep. 13th, 2011 03:18 am (UTC)
Don't lose hope. I've been trying and receiving rejections for years now, and am at the point that I'm getting solid feedback.

That feedback, I suspect, would apply to you. It's all along the lines of, "you write really well, this is great stuff, but nobody's going to take a risk on something Different so, sorry, too bad, so sad."
katsudon
Sep. 13th, 2011 03:44 am (UTC)
I'm sensing a maniacal "I'LL SHOW YOU ALL I'M GOING TO SELF PUBLISH EVERYTHING A HAHAHAHAHA" in my future...
ruthannereid
Sep. 13th, 2011 03:51 am (UTC)
XD I won't lie - been considering it with one book. Dunno about maniacal...

Okay. It is maniacal. Maybe a little.
maverikloki
Sep. 17th, 2011 05:59 pm (UTC)
That... is unusual. I've been looking for an agent for my book as well, and the one subject that a large number of agents were actively looking for were "gay/lesbian" (dunno why that's a genre, exactly, but it is). Since most of them weren't interested in sci-fi/fantasy, I've been joking about making my main character gay just to get it published. Then again, maybe my info's dated.

Though at this point, I feel very safe in assuming that my enormous stack of rejections comes from the fact that I'm a first-time author and trying to get in really feels like beating your head against a wall in the vain hope that your skull will split open and Skittles will come pouring out.
YEP. First-time author here too. Same thing. Sucks, doesn't it? :/
rachelmanija
Oct. 13th, 2011 05:49 am (UTC)
Thank you for your support!

To continue to support YA fiction with LGBTQ characters, I have proposed creating Permanent Floating YA Diversity Book Clubs. If you wish to participate, the link will explain how to begin one, join one, or simply pass on the word.
rachelmanija
Sep. 18th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
If you haven't sold your own book by now, it might please you to hear that we sold Stranger (aka "the Yes Gay YA novel") to Viking. Click on this link for a post with more details. I didn't get into this in the post itself, but the main character has a physical disability and PTSD. So it is possible.

Thank you so much for your support!
katsudon
Sep. 18th, 2012 08:55 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear that you sold it!

I'm still trying with mind...
rachelmanija
Sep. 18th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
Don't give up! I have now sold two books, and both sales involved giant struggles lasting over a year.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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