Although the article to which I’m linking where M/M historical romance author Alex Beecroft talks about M/M Books is a few weeks old, I think it’s the kind of post that can stand up to time and remain relevant without a time restriction. It’s an issue we all deal with a one point or another.
For my LGBT blog readers who don’t know what “M/M” (Male/Male) is…and I know there are a lot of you because I get e-mails all the time about it from gay men…the best way to describe it (fast) is that M/M is a sub-genre in the romance world for books mostly written by straight women about gay men. It’s not exclusive to straight women writers. I’ve written some books that have been classified as M/M. But if you look at blog posts like the one to which I’m linking now where Alex Beecroft talks about M/M you’ll see that the side bar links mostly to women who write M/M and most of the comments left are from women who read or write M/M. Again, this is just a fast definition of M/M.
From what I gather, this post discusses the way M/M books are classified when they are released and sold on various web sites. Beecroft isn’t fond of being classified in “erotica” when her books aren’t erotic at all.
Alex: I’m not a big fan of erotica myself. For a start, I’m asexual (but not aromantic) so to me the sex part is pretty uninteresting unless it’s doing something necessary for the plot. In erotica the plot exists to further the sex, so that’s not really for me. I respect erotica as sometimes a beautiful and certainly a highly skilled thing to write. But in general erotica only points up to me how profoundly I’m not like normal people.
Actually, just to be clear, in my erotic romance, the sex exists within the plot to further the romance. In other words, the sex moves the story and the romance forward. I can’t speak for other authors, but that’s how I do it.
I wish there were better ways to classify books, too. I write a great deal of erotica and I get just as annoyed when I don’t see accurate heat ratings on my books. I do try to give out all the product details here on this blog so readers who vet their purchases know they aren’t getting something they didn’t want. But I found out last year that search engines seem to be the culprits here, and a lot of books are discovered through search engines. It’s a complicated process to get into in-depth in a short blog post like this. And it’s also a good reason why readers need to really vet their books before they make purchases. But then another problem comes into play with what is considered erotica. I’ve read M/M books that are supposed to be erotic and found myself wondering what these authors/publishers think gay erotica is really all about.
I’ve come to the conclusion there’s no simple fix, but I do think that M/M books with no erotica whatsoever should be classified that way so readers know what they are buying. And authors and publishers might want to think about putting tag lines on covers to let readers know this. I made this abundantly clear when I released Chase of a Dream in two different versions last year. I released the sweet non-erotic version of the book clearly marked as “abridged,” and the version with erotica clearly marked as “unabridged.” I also mentioned this in the book descriptions. Readers can see this wherever these books are sold. I did this for my readers, so my readers would know the difference and I didn’t depend on search engines or retail web sites to make this clear for me. It is perfect? Not at all. I still wish retail web sites where e-books were sold would make it clearer for readers. But at least I feel I did something to rectify the issue in a small scale. As a side note, the non-erotic version of Chase of a Dream is only 7,000 words less than the erotic version, and I’ve only had one customer issue that I know of so far where someone made the wrong purchase on iTunes. When this happened I promptly exchanged the book myself without making it more complicated.
Monkey Jockeys Riding Dogs
In a totally unrelated post to Alex Beecroft, I had absolutely no idea this next event was going on anywhere. Monkey’s riding dogs! I guess I’ve been remiss in my carnival posts. But when I saw this mentioned somewhere earlier today I thought I’d post something about it.
Banana Derby is a “family show” in Greenville, South Carolina that stages races with monkey jockeys riding on dogs. For a fee, you can have them come to your next party or public event.
You can read more here.
And this article goes into more detail.
Lepard had dreamed of working with monkeys ever since reading the “Curious George” books as a kid. The dream was postponed, though, by a career in rodeo, where for years he electrified crowds as both a bullfighter and a clown.
Gender Neutral Rest Rooms
I’m feeling so prescient this week I’ve been taking deep breaths to calm down. Last week I posted about a transgender person who was banned from a supermarket for using the “wrong” rest room, and I suggested that I wouldn’t mind seeing unisex rest rooms.
Frankly, I’ve always wondered why there weren’t unisex bathrooms designed, with completely private stalls where doors can be locked, for everyone. Maybe that sounds a little way out there to some, but I’ve never been too fond of urinals myself, and I rarely ever use them. And maybe men’s rooms wouldn’t look so awful compared to women’s rest rooms.
And now I hear they are actually talking about doing this, and referring to it as gender neutral…and right here in my own proverbial backyard in Philadelpha.
PHILADELPHIA—A Philadelphia city council member wants to require new or renovated city-owned buildings to have gender-neutral restrooms in addition to men’s and women’s restrooms.
It’s nice to see the transgender community getting some recognition for a change. And I wish people would just pay attention to me more often when I say things like this (smile).