On Writing and Selling Out

Warning: ahead is a rant about the idea of authors “selling out” as the only way to make money, which probably stems from my annoyance at the objectification of queers for profit (as it was presented).

I went to a small (SMALL) convention last weekend, which wasn’t aimed at readers/writers, but rather queer anime/manga (with some other sorts thrown in). While there, I went to a panel, the name of which I don’t remember, but it was something like “How to Make Money Selling Your Book” or something of the sorts. I’m always curious to learn more, so I grabbed my notebook and scurried off.

Now, I’ll note by saying that the presenter was an author who earns a living by selling her books (according to her). I was not familiar with her name, and I didn’t google her (before or after). And I will say she was very upfront about everything. 
Her advice for selling enough copies of your book to earn a living? Sell out and whore yourself.
I might be truncating it a little. Just a bit. But the general gist of everything she said was, “Do what makes money.” Screw your “morals” or “muse” or “standards.” If a movie producer wants to option your book for $$$ but you have to let them change your one male character in a romantic pair into a female so it’s not gay? Go for it.
Don’t write X if X won’t make you money. Write Y. If you want to write X, well, have fun at your day job! *insert derisive laughter here* (Because having a day job is laughable, I guess?)
I’m not stupid or naive, I know that writers should be at least a little bit aware of what genre in their scope makes money. Yes, they should be familiar with what’s popular and how to reach the biggest audience (ie, which vendors to prioritize, perhaps). 
But the way she presented this to the group was that your work really means nothing and you shouldn’t think that it does. And that your only two options were not making money and holding on to your pitiful little dream, or make money by whatever means possible. As if there was no middle ground. As if there aren’t authors who haven’t sold out (as far as I know) who make a living off their books.
Is it easy? No. Is selling out probably going to make you more money faster? Yeah.
Will it make me feel really grossed out and leave your panel halfway through? Definitely.
Because this con was sort of supposed to be a celebration of queerness, and while I know a lot of people make money off of it, I’m a little squicked when someone comes into what should be a safe space and says “this is the type of gay porn you should be writing for older straight women.”
And maybe don’t mock people who would like to only write what they like (and what makes them comfortable). Possibly–here’s a wild idea–offer suggestions for how someone can make money without selling out. Because “selling out” is shitty advice (even if it is the most financially rewarding). If that’s the only advice you can offer to help someone make money selling their book, then you’re a shitty presenter.  
Did you get the feeling I didn’t like that session? Because I didn’t. I do recognize a lot of what she said was true (and maybe factual), but her presentation style and her view that there’s only ONE way left a lot to be desire. And I just needed to rant about it.

Identity and Invisibility

So this week, if you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw this image cross your feed. The spirit of the bag and the support the producers of the bag intended is really great.

There’s just one kind of major problem: A is not for Ally.

Don’t get me wrong, allies are great. Awesome. Some of my good friends are allies. (Okay, only like two because my group of friends is hella queer, but whatever.) But allies aren’t queer. They probably aren’t ostracized/attacked/raped/murdered for being an ally. People don’t need to be convinced they exist. People don’t need their existence explained.

Know who is queer and was dropped off this bag in favor of allies? Asexuals. Agender individuals. Aromantics.

I’m not going to spout all the ways asexuals/etc are ‘more worthy’ of being included. I shouldn’t really have to (but if you have questions, feel free to ask). I’m not going to scream for a boycott (according to Pink News, a percent of purchases is donated to the Human Rights Campaign). I’m just frustrated that once again asexuals/etc are ignored. Or maybe not even that. They are unheard of. But ours is a growing voice, and we won’t be silenced. I won’t be silenced.

I’m asexual.

Finding this identity has helped explain a lot of things about myself, my interaction with others, and how I see the world. People shouldn’t have to wait until their in their late twenties and thirties to figure out that they are not alone and they are not anomalies or freaks. Erasing the presence of aces on the bag is just keeping other people from realizing truths about themselves.

If you want to know more, ask. But don’t ask rude questions. And maybe do some reading first. These aren’t all stellar sources, but they’re all easily accessible.

What’s really disheartening is that, according to Pink News, “the Human Rights Campaign … collaborated with American Apparel in creating the clothes.” I don’t know if that applies to the bag as well, but if so, HRC needs to get on the ball.

Please remember that the A in LGBTQA+ is for a lot of things, but “ally” isn’t one of them.

If you want an idea of the outraged reactions to this erasure, you can check out this BuzzFeed article, which also includes American Apparel’s weak response to the backlash. (It’s pretty pitiful.)

Screaming into the night

I am one orgasm away from finishing my Shifters book.

Unfortunately I have a million things on my plate, I can’t write sex scenes over my lunch at work—Okay, I can but they tend to be awkward to write and on screen—and my next two weekends are packed.

I’m already behind on my word count for the month, I don’t even remember what the other goals were, and I’m wondering if I actually will have time to get all the knitting projects done that I scheduled this year (it’s, like, 3 projects. I aimed low).

Okay. I just needed to get that off my chest.

Insert Angry Rant Here

I normally don’t make posts about things not writing related, but the recent vote in North Carolina to ban gay marriage and civil unions just depressed me.

When an amendment legalizing gay marriage/civil unions is defeated, I feel a little bummed, but hopeful that time will change things. But when I see amendments strengthening the ban on gay marriage/civil unions, it depresses me. Because the rules are there to limit the rights of people. Limit the rights of people in a way that helps no one and harms many.

It just doesn’t make sense to me.

I can understand religious institutions not wanting “gay marriage” because “marriage” is a religious thing, and if civil unions were given the same respect and rights as “marriage” then I’d be fine and happy and whatever. Sadly that’s not the case.

And that’s not really my point, anyway.

I’m a very peaceful, live-and-let-live type. So why must so many people get their noses in the business of others? Why does it matter to YOU if me and someone else want to have all the same rights as YOU?

My brother would say (more eloquently than I will here) that gay rights aren’t limited because everyone has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex and so the law isn’t limiting a specific group from marrying.

Of course, it’s still limiting EVERYONE from entering a partnership/marriage/union with someone of the same sex. (My brother, by the way, says that the government shouldn’t limit marriages to man and woman and that it should only hand out civil unions [or whatever you want to call it], and that it shouldn’t matter what two people want them.)

I guess I can’t understand how we can create boundaries for freedom that do nothing but hurt people. What benefit does the anti-gay marriage group get? Oh, they get the benefit of being “right.” Of protecting the “sanctity” of marriage.

I have a vagina, so that means I can marry a man.

And then fuck him with a strap-on.*

Hate to tell you, but when I get married, it’s going to be a gay marriage no matter what.



* If I wanted to.

It’s a Gender Thing…or not

I had the beginnings of this blog entry all written out–in my head. The problem was that I was driving and it made transcribing very difficult. Actually, kind of impossible. So now I just have to rant and hope it comes out okay.

I was having a discussion with someone (female, woman) and she was, like so many others, complaining about her husband. I didn’t mind that; we all have issues to get off our chests. (Her main issue was she would ask her husband to do something and he’d say he’d get to it and then wouldn’t, or wouldn’t when she wanted it done.) But then she kept saying “men always,” “what is it with men,” “men are so” and so forth. And it bothered me. A lot. Probably more than it should have.

But why do we have to take what one person (in this case, husband) is doing, and blame an entire group on it? Okay, what she was describing is similar to behaviors my father exhibits, but my friend B doesn’t act like that, and while my brother B may, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t do it to the same extent. In fact, I would probably do it more than both B’s, just because I don’t like doing things when people tell me to. I need a broad deadline and I’ll get it done before then, but not NOW. I need to work under my own schedule.

Does that make me more of a man than them? No, of course not. Because being a man isn’t (strictly) a set of behaviors. Behaviors, like so many other things, are individual traits that cross over groups. And I’m sick of people putting all groups together as one, especially with negative traits. If you’re going to do it, use the phrase “why are some men so..” etc.

Women would be pissy if a man said “women are so defenseless and weak,” wouldn’t they? Well, then, women should offer men the same respect. I know there are double standards all over the place; it doesn’t mean I have to put up with it.

People are individuals, let’s treat them that way.

(And in case you were wondering, I told the person I was talking to that no, the behavior she was describing was in fact her husband’s behavior and not that of all men. I think she got the point.)

Rant:

In the musical “Avenue Q” there is a song that says, “everyone’s a little bit racist.”

I agree. And I don’t think racism–to a point–is bad. We all make judgment decisions based on how other people look, whether it’s the skin color or their clothing. It’s natural for people to see, judge, and accept or deny that other based on this perception.

Obviously we cannot change the color of our skin (Michael Jackson aside), so it seems unreasonable and wrong to judge someone based on skin color. But it’s a natural part of being human to perceive these things. Obviously a lot (if not all) of the judgments are socially based, but we are social creatures. As a society we strive for homogeneity and if you look different then we will judge as such. If we didn’t have different races, we would segregate by some other means. There will always be lines drawn in the sand.

I’m not saying that stopping someone from getting a job, murdering someone, or even saying derogatory things is okay. It’s not. THINKING racist-ly and ACTING racist-ly are two very different things. If you don’t like someone, whether it’s for good reason or not, you can most likely avoid that person (or that group of people) if you try really hard. You should not take YOUR issues out on them.

My purpose for this (possibly offensive) rant is that just because you are racist doesn’t mean you need to overcompensate. Treat everyone equally and it’s fine. I feel like society is so terrified of being racist that they overcompensate, putting some groups above others.

What started this? I was editing a press release for work about prejudice and minorities. First off, the whole slant of the article was very negative to whites, making it sound like ONLY whites are prejudice (well, I guess we’re the only ones that can be prejudice since we’re dominant..or something like that). I’m not sure if they were trying to be offensive or they just came across that way.

Second, and I deal with this a fair amount in press releases and articles, the terminology is inconsistent. I think one of my biggest pet peeves is use of the phrase “African American,” which is grammatically and ethnically wrong, in most instances. Just because someone is black and living in America, does not mean they are African American. Many other locales have people with dark (or “black”) skin. Jamaica comes to mind. And Haiti. I suck at geography, but I think you get my drift. Perhaps they all originally came from Africa, but you could argue, everyone else did too.

But many people use “African American” and “Caucasian” (which is even worse than African American) in order not to be offensive, while being equally offensive! (Caucasians are those people from the Caucus islands, in case you were wondering.)

This particular press release did not use “African Americans” and instead went with “Blacks” which is the best alternative. But then they did something which caused this rant: They used “Blacks” and “whites.” I can understand capitalizing “blacks” because it’s a racial group and it could make sense to capitalize it. But to capitalize “black” and not “white” is kind of odd. If you’re doing one, why not the other? What makes the use of the word “black” to indicate a racial group different from the use of the word “white” to indicate a racial group?

And that’s what irritates me. Trying to be unoffensive to one group and then being offensive to another. Just admit that you JUDGE people and move on with your life. After all, we’re all individual snowflakes.

And that means we’re all still snow.

Uhg

So what was I doing from 12pm – 4 am? it wasn’t sleeping, let me tell you that. From 10-12 I slept, and then WHAM awake (maybe from thirst?) I drink something and my stomach is all “gurgle?” so tha tkeeps me up for an hour or two, and then I’m wide awake and can’t sleep and restless and my brain is on overtime.

Which means this BEAUTIFUL day that I was supposed to ride during, is wasted because I need sleep.

F.ck