gay/lesbian genre

Follow Up: Women Writing M/M Fiction

First, I’d like to thank all the people who commented on the post about women writing m/m fiction. I noticed some familiar names, and met a few new authors.

While reading the comments, I started to think about my past experience in publishing and how the lbgt genre, as a whole, has grown so fast in the past ten years I barely recognize it. If I’d died in l999 and come back to life in 2010, I’d be so shocked I’d probably drop dead all over again. When I first started submitting work to publishers, I was still in college. The Internet was not taken seriously and the only way to find submission guidelines was to buy those thick publishing books like Writer’s Marketplace. We used typewriters and word processors; there were ink stains on our fingers. Back then, I kept a regular subscription to Writer’s Digest Magazine to keep up with the latest happenings in publishing. But it wasn’t easy. And I rarely ever saw anything mentioned about lgbt fiction.

As a matter of fact, there was no lgbt genre. Back then it was just called “gay/lesbian.” And it wasn’t even considered a genre. It was more like something on the fringes of the fringes publishing, and you had to go into a major city bookstore to find it. I bought my first copy of The Front Runner in a little book shop near 7th Avenue South and Christopher Street in The Village because you couldn’t find it anywhere in New Jersey. There were only a handful of literary agents who publicly stated they repped “gay/lesbian” fiction. And I know for a fact there are still a few literary agents out there who are gay in their personal lives, but still refuse to admit they are gay within the publishing community. Their associates don’t even know they are gay or they have a life parnter. In many ways, being gay is still a well-kept, unspoken secret in some circles.

But I have seen some wonderful changes in the past ten years. “Gay/Lesian” has evolved in so many ways I’m hearing it’s hard for bookstores to classify the sub-genres. And a good deal of these changes, all very positive, have come about because so many women have been discovering the m/m genre. They’ve been reading it, writing it, and supporting it in ways I never imagined I’d see in my lifetime. And as a gay man who still sees a great deal of discrimination around, from marriage to lgbt people who are still terrified to come out and admit who they are openly, I’m thankful for all the support I’ve received from these women authors. And I hope the support continues over the next ten years, so that the genre evolves in ways new authors today never could have imagined right now.