I feel like I’m going to extremes with every post I write this week. Yesterday I posted about my small self-publishing venture on Amazon, and today I’m posting about a short story I wrote for a book that’s been published by a “traditional” print publisher, Ceis Press. The title of the book is “Cruising.” You can find it here on Amazon, and I’ll post a publisher link below.
The reason why it’s so nice to be in this book is because I started writing for small LGBT presses (I can’t embrace the “Q” yet, maybe in time) a long time ago and I’ve always been a fan of LGBT anthologies. Before there was a sub-genre called M/M Romance, it was small presses like Cleis that published some of the best LGBT material ever written. It gave me experience and the opportunity to grow as a gay male author when no one else would. And there’s nothing like the feeling of getting that fresh print book in the mail and seeing the cover.
And I’d like to continue to submit work to Cleis and other small presses as much as I can. Unfortunately, there isn’t much money involved. But for me it goes deeper than that. I read a blog post last night that was written by one of these loud, pushy “people” who write what “they” consider “LGBTQ Literary,” and I was amazed at what this author considers “LGBTQ Literary.” It’s schmaltz at best. Let’s just say she used the word “nookie” in an excerpt where a young gay man is thinking about having sex for money. No young gay man uses the word “nookie,” unless it’s in dialogue and he’s making fun of someone else. It’s as simple as that. And if this is what is going to be considered “LGBTQ Literary,” I think it’s important for gay authors to continue to keep LGBT presses like Cleis flowing with submissions so the distinctions are made and lines are drawn. There’s nothing wrong with schmaltzy M/M Romance. I’ve done it myself and I love reading it. But let’s be honest about it, too.
I also think it’s important for everyone who loves reading LGBT fiction to support small presses like Cleis and buy their books. If you don’t want the e-book, you can also go to the publisher’s web site and buy the book as a print book. You might not find the schmaltzy “LGBTQ Literary” fiction the author I spoke about above thinks is great writing, but you will find some interesting stories written by gay people who know what they are talking about. In other words, you’re not being scammed into believing the book is something that it’s not by someone who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed either. It’s a lot like the difference between real chocolate and “flavored” chocolate.