it’s all about the reader

Why I’ve Been Reading More and More M/M Books; Matt Bomer 50 Shades

The question of whether or not actor, Matt Bomer, will play the lead in the upcoming film adaptation of the E.L. James novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, continues to run rampant. And because I’ve never seen a campaign quite like this one before, where so many are interested in who is going to play the lead in the FSoG film, I can’t help posting about it.

These are fairly recent links, too. In this article, they talk about Matt Bomer and Henry Cavill.

Well there is no doubt that Ian would be a right fit for the role. He’s got the looks and he also proved his charisma on screen. But apart from him, there are other credible actors just as good or even better, like Matt Bomer and Henry Cavill.

I think all would be great in the role, but I’m leaning toward Bomer myself because I like the way he’s always able to create characters and make them so different. It seems to be something that comes from deep down inside a lot of actors don’t do all the time. But then again, all this could be rumor and Matt Bomer might not have anything to do with FSoG…or want anything to do with it. He’s remained silent throughout all this.

The latest news, according to this same article, is that E.L. James is leaning toward Ian Somerhalder. I actually find this interesting, too. If these articles I’ve been reading are accurate, it’s one of the few times I’ve noticed an author have this much control over the film adaptation. In most cases, once the film rights are sold you don’t hear about much author participation in the actual making of the film…if ever. The few times I do remember reading things of this nature happened when authors didn’t like something about the film adaptation. Evidently, Ms. James has maintained her control and I applaud her and her agent for that.

Check out the rest of the article, where you will find other links if you don’t know much about Cavill or the others who are up for the role. And here’s a link to another article on the same topic.

Why I’ve Been Reading More and More M/M Books

Over the weekend I read two different posts that talked about how unhappy they are with m/m books, and I can’t hide the fact that I was stunned because I’ve been experiencing the exact opposite recently. I stopped commenting on blog posts like these a long time ago. I write my own posts now, I average a very humble 1,000 hits a day that come mostly from random google searches, and that’s how I maintain control…and online balance.

One of the main reasons why it took me so long to read The Casual Vacancy was because I’ve been reading so many fantastic m/m books well into the early hours of the morning. I don’t always review these books because it would take too much time and I don’t like to single out other authors too much in the m/m genre…good or bad. But I don’t have a problem speaking in generalities about what I’ve been reading and how I’ve been astounded at the way m/m books just seem to be getting better and better all the time.

The biggest problem for me is there are so many excellent m/m books out there I often can’t figure out which one to choose. I just finished one written by a fairly new author that had me laughing through the entire book.

I’m loving the self-pubbed m/m books and the books released by small m/m e-publishers, and I enjoy seeing how well-edited they are. In fact, I often hate to get into editing comments about books. After working in publishing for many LGBT presses as both author and editor for twenty years I’ve come across more editors with different styles than I can even count. So when I say I like the way the books are being edited now, please take into consideration this is me offering a general opinion. There is no correct way or incorrect way to edit books. It’s all subjective, and most people with even the smallest amount of publishing experience know this.

I’ve enjoyed watching smaller m/m presses grow and mature into businesses that care about their readers and work hard to get out good product. It must be a great time in publishing for copyeditors, too. Because all the books I’ve read have been so tightly copyedited I rarely see the same mistakes I saw five or ten years ago. I also think this has a lot to do with formatting as well.

As a rule, I don’t believe there are any new plots left to write about. I think it’s all been done before and it comes down to the way an author pulls it off. The few m/m books I didn’t enjoy this year seemed to be trying too hard to create a plot that had never been done before, thus rendering it more boring than entertaining. The odds of me loving a m/m book about gay men in polka bands are slim…very slim, indeed. But in a broad sense, I don’t think I could ever read too many well adapted versions of the Cinderella story. Or the Pygmalion story.

Another thing I’ve noticed in more recent m/m books is that authors are adding more female characters who are strong and break a lot of the old stereotypes. I’m not sure this is on purpose either. As the m/m genre evolves, and as gay men evolve in society, that disconnect to the mainstream is getting smaller and smaller. I think we’ll be seeing more straight male characters in m/m books, too. In my own current work in progress, the only character in the book my gay main character actually respects is his strong female assistant. And I wanted her to be both strong and wise.

The two articles I read this weekend that bashed m/m books seemed to be missing one important point. And I think that’s because both of these articles come from an online book reviewer POV. When authors and publishers brainstorm about new books and projects, we don’t think about whether or not online book reviewers are going to like the books or not. We hope they do, but it’s not the main focus. Actually, it never even comes up in conversation. Our main focus is on whether or not the *readers* are going to like the books.

And by readers I’m talking about the gay Amish guy in the closet who has access to e-books and reads them in hidden places so no one will find out. I’m talking about the wonderful woman who had a stroke, was forced out on disability in her late forties, and loves to read m/m romance. I’m talking about the younger gay men who are just beginning to figure out who they are and they read m/m romance to gain insight and sometimes even guidance. Or, the woman who reads m/m romance as her guilty pleasure for sheer entertainment value.

I wish I could say our primary focus is to entertain online book reviewers and to cater to their needs and wants, but that wouldn’t be practical. We focus more on the readers who buy books and might never bother to leave a review, we try to think about readers who e-mail us in private asking about the next book in a series, and we worry more about readers who want to read for sheer pleasure, not because they want to analyze it. And the best we can hope for is that once in a while an online reviewer will actually like something.

A good example of this might be the book, Fifty Shades of Grey. Online reviewers did not receive this book well in most cases. However, the reading public evidently saw something online reviewers missed, and they loved it enough to turn it into a block buster hit. The readers spoke.

In other words, it’s all about the reader. It’s always going to be about the reader. And when publishers and authors sit down to brainstorm about new books, we only think about what the reader may or may not want. From what I’ve read in the past year in the m/m genre, I think it shows how much publishers and authors care about their readers.

Authors Are Always Fighting For the Reader…

In this quick post I wanted to explain that sometimes the editorial process can be tricky. This is especially true when you get an editor who isn’t familiar with gay men and the editor is editing m/m fiction. It’s one thing to know when to remove or add a comma. But it’s completely different when it comes to getting inside the head of a gay man and knowing when a scene works or not. I’ve been an editor. So I know how it works on both sides of the fence.

I’ve posted about how I love all the editors I work with. And I thank them time and again for helping me produce what we all think and hope readers are going to like. I stand by this and I can’t thank them enough.

But sometimes there are situations where the author knows more than the editor. And this is when the author has to fight for the reader. It doesn’t happen often. But when it does, I can tell you for sure that authors aren’t thinking about the editor’s feelings or opinions. Authors aren’t thinking about what book reviewers will think or how they will feel either.

The author is only thinking about one person: the reader. We think about those of you who have sent us e-mails and praised our work. We think about those of you who have left one star reviews and have been disappointed in something we hope we can learn from. We even think about those of you who haven’t read our work yet. And we do our best to make sure you get what we think and what we hope you’re going to want. You are the most important people to us and nothing else matters. And if it means we have to fight to get you what we think you want, we’re more than willing to roll up our sleeves and go to battle for you.