Full Frontal Freedom; Will Gay Identity Disappear? THAT Self-Publishing Quality Myth

Full Frontal Freedom

I sometimes mention how I’m not the biggest fan of musical comedy, torch songs, and most of those performers considered “gay icons.”

I like more contemporary forms of art, especially with music and dance, and this particular youtube video titled Full Frontal Freedom is about as good as it gets. I found it on twitter thanks to m/m author, Carter Seagrove. 

Published on Sep 9, 2013
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ hit music video “Same Love” has become an anthem for LGBT equality. We were so grateful that Mackelmore and Lewis took a stand and loudly cheered for marriage equality. But, our work as a community is far from done, as we seek equality in Oregon and Hawaii and New Jersey and Illinois. This song – which honors our movement’s struggle – is so compelling that we thought it a fitting

You can see it here, too. 

Will Gay Identity Disappear?

Here’s an interesting article that talks about the fears of some in the LGBT community, where they worry that gay identity (which I guess means gay culture) will disappear now that same sex marriage has become legal on a federal level thanks to the SCOTUS ruling last week.

They cover a lot in this article, and I highly suggest you read it. But I thought this was one strong point.

 What we’re also witnessing is that the culture is much more diverse than we’ve been ready to admit. It’s easy to put aside your differences when you’re united around a single cause, like fighting the AIDS crisis. But now that we don’t have that focus, we’re discovering that there are a lot of people in our community who are quite content to live quiet lives that look like everyone else’s–raising kids, caring for elderly parents, living in the (gasp) ‘burbs, working in office cubicles. And that’s not a bad thing.

There’s more here. The comments are mixed. I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. Wait. Yes I do. Of course it’s going to change things.  How could they not?

Is It Hard to Make Gay Friends?  

Here’s an article about how some gay men find it hard to make other gay friends. This I can relate to well. I remember the first few times I started going to gay bars in the 90’s. I felt so isolated. I was alone and didn’t think I’d ever make a gay friend. I kept wondering where do they all meet each other to form these friendships?!?

And while that means there are plenty of fish in the sea for awkward dates or late-night texts, making gay friends is often an entirely different story.

Lines can get blurry when two guys who are into guys embark on a plutonic relationship, but the value of having like-minded friends in your corner ready to go to bat for you is substantial.

It always happens on its own, in its own time. 

Check that out here.  

THAT Self-Publishing Quality Myth

No links to this one. It’s just me.

Over the weekend I noticed several comments online about the “quality” of self-published books. Most of those comments came from those associated with small indie presses that are struggling to survive in the post e-book boom days.

I’m sure there are self-published books that lack quality. But then think about Fifty Shades of Grey, which was published by a huge publisher, made millions of dollars, and many think of it as the worst novel ever published. The question of quality is often subjective, not objective.

Then consider the fact that most indie authors are working hard to get good books out to readers at less than half the cost the readers would normally pay for books released by small presses. What’s the best way to target the competition? Bad mouth “quality.” Some small presses have this creepy cult-like stable of authors who ban together and say things like this to readers.

If that’s not enough, think about all the self-published books out there that were once published by publishers and have been re-released. That’s right. With so many small presses going out of business these days, authors are getting the rights back and re-publishing books that have already been edited and proofed by publishers. They are still considered self-published books.

And there are those books that went out of print with big publishers. Authors and literary agents are now self-publishing those books and re-releasing them all over again and many books are finding new lives and new audiences. Readers are paying far less in this case, too.

I’m not slamming any publishers. For the last few years I’ve indie pubbed my own books and I’ve continued to work with publishers. But the next time you see someone make a general statement about the “quality” of self-pubbed e-books take a closer look at the source. This “quality” myth has been an ongoing issue in the publishing community since the beginning of e-books and I’ve seen books slammed for “quality” that had one or two words spelled wrong. In other words, you can’t depend on anything you see anymore, anywhere.

The fact is that most of the time when I see someone complaining about “quality” it’s either someone who can never be pleased with anything, someone with an agenda, or someone who is just repeating something they overheard because it sounds good and it makes them appear knowledgeable.

There’s also this. Many, many self-published e-books out there right now are being produced and distributed by people with a lot more experience than most of the smaller newer indie presses. Of course readers don’t always know this, which is unfortunate. I have over twenty years experience in publishing, as a writer and an editor, plus a degree in English, and I have sometimes found it difficult when working with small presses because they don’t have half the experience I have. Anyone can start a small press in their basement and call themselves a publisher. And they do. Remember Silver Publishing? There’s nothing wrong with that, but they’re no different from anyone else out there self-publishing their own books.

These are just a few basic points about the “quality myth” and self-published books. I will post more on this topic in the future.

Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about. This book below, Loving Daylight, was written and published specifically for The Home Shopping Network a few yeas ago, through a publisher I was contracted with at the time. I never promoted it because it was just for a romance collection. When the rights reverted to me a few months ago I decided to indie publish it, with a new cover, and release it at more than half the price for which it originally sold.

Loving Daylight


A PG rated Mainstream Romance


Are Gays Being Exploited? Gay Music Exploitation? Gaysploitation Films

Are Gays Being Exploited?

I was watching a film recently titled, “Snitch.” It wasn’t a bad film, and there was nothing political about it. But in one scene a character played by Susan Sarandon says something interesting. She’s a politician running for office and she’s getting pressure to get more exposure and she replies with a comment that goes something like this, “What should I do? Show up at a gay wedding?”

With that one statement her character sums up what a lot of gay people are thinking nowadays, especially gay men. I’ve seen comments and discussions on facebook about this, mostly the discussion is brought up by gay men who have grown frustrated to the point of giving up. I’m not going into detail here. I’m just linking to an article that talks about gays being exploited. I don’t totally agree with the article either, and it’s not a source I normally take very seriously. But the topic is relevant in a general sense.

In another example of liberal hypocrisy, on May 8, 2012, North Carolina voted for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions. The following day, President Barack Obama announced that he supported gay marriage. Many people applauded the President, but few questioned his timing. Clearly it’s worth contemplating how many votes Obama could have changed had he supported marriage rights beforehand. It’s true that the amendment passed by a wide margin, but it seems cowardly to wait until the dust settles before telling people which side of the battle you’re on.

Again, I don’t totally agree with this article, and I’m not fond of the web site because of the fact that it is so partisan. However, there’s a lot of exploitation going on right now, and what bothers me the most is that people are profiting from it in big ways.

You can read the rest here. Don’t shoot me for this link. I don’t do this often, but this time I thought it was interesting to look at a different POV. It’s extreme, but not completely inaccurate.

Gay Music Exploitation?

Last year openly gay rapper, Le1F (aka Khalif Diouf), went on a Twitter tirade about Macklemore who won an award for best music video and best video with a social message. Macklemore is a straight white male, not openly gay. Le1F blasted Macklemore for allegedly ripping off his song, and for profiteering on gays. There’s a list of tweets by Le1F here, one of which is compelling, where Le1F says he’s going to write a song about another group of people struggling because “mama needs a new fur coat.”

And in this piece about Macklemore on Chelsea Handler, they mention the incident, too.

Openly gay rapper and producer Le1f blasted Macklemore on Twitter for ripping off his song “Wut.” He says Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” sounds dangerously familiar to his song. Le1f also called the rapper out for profiting off the plight of gays with the song “Same Love.”

Le1f questioned Macklemore’s motives asking, “do proceeds go to any gay people? the HRC? Aids foundation? Or does this straight white man keep the money?” Later he tweeted, “News just in: gay people don’t care about your video about gay people.”

I actually didn’t even know about any of this so I can’t comment in detail. But it’s not the first time I’ve seen blatant exploitation of gay people in a broad sense, and always done with the premise that the straight people are helping us and supporting us. I think in some cases they are, but that doesn’t mean they get the right to usurp us or our culture. And profiting from our struggles because they know they can is even worse.

At least Le1F had the guts to bring the discussion up. No one else has.

Side note: Other’s have alleged that this gay exploitation has been happening. You can read more here.

Gaysploitation Films

Here’s a link to a list of films with ratings and short commentaries. I feel highly vindicated with this link because at least now I know I’m not the only one who feels this way about some of these films. You have to go there to see what I mean.

Here’s that link.

Other than the links I just posted above, you won’t find much out there about gay exploitation with a simple search. And I think there’s a logical reason for this. I agree with Le1F the rapper when he states that gay people really don’t care about Macklemore’s song, his award, or the money he made…“News just in: gay people don’t care about your video about gay people.”. I didn’t care about it until I started writing this post, The only reason I’m writing this post is because I saw a gay writer comment on social media and get slammed when he mentioned gay exploitation.

Up until then, I didn’t care much about the topic, but I’m starting to wonder now. If you don’t care about something it’s not going to pop up on your radar, so to speak. There’s a lot of exploitation happening all over, in all the arts, these days. Especially in book publishing. But the simple truth is that we…gay people…just don’t care enough about it to complain about it. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, especially when you consider how many non-gay people are profiting on gays while gays still can’t seem to be taken seriously in books, films or music…at least not completely. I think that the straight white male winning a music award for a social message about gays and not a gay artist winning an award is a good example of this. I spend a few minutes a week wondering what’s happened to gay literature.

There’s also a fear factor, too, all gay people in the arts must consider if they want to survive. I’m not even comfortable posting this on the blog for fear of hidden backlash from those who are profiteering, and I’m absolutely not going to promote this post on social media for fear of the arguments I’ll receive. And I’m not even going into my own personal feelings. There really shouldn’t be an argument about it. The gay guy should always get the last word on the gay issue, and yet so often these days he/she doesn’t. It’s almost as bad as being thrown back into the closet.