On my blogs and page, I try as a rule not to get too political on my author page or blog, but a recent event has refused to leave my mind, leaving me to purge it through writing.
One of the authors I know from the writing groups I am a part of on Facebook sent me a link to a blog tour service that was hosting a tour for a steampunk novel and was looking for blogs that would be willing to do the advertising posts. Obviously, I want to support and network with other steampunk writers, so I checked it out. The book looked okay. I’m not a fan of advertising something I haven’t actually read, but at that point, I was willing to give the author a chance based on the blurb. The only thing was, I couldn’t figure out how to sign up for the tour, so I went onto the their contact and information page. As I scrolled, I came across the thing that completely soured my feelings toward that book blog tour host, No M/M, F/F, or M/F/M.
For those who are unfamiliar with the terminology, that basically means no stories involving same sex or bisexual protagonists or love interests. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to sign up for the tour and quickly clicked off the web page. From the time I understood what being gay meant, I have been a strong supporter of LGBT rights and marriage. Many of my friends are gay, and two of my characters in The Winter Garden comprise a gay couple who is dealing with their relationship in a world that does not approve of them. How could I, a supporter of the LGBT community, work with a company that outright excludes them? I couldn’t.
When we exclude certain types of fiction, what are we saying to those who choose to write about their experiences or the experiences of others? Your story isn’t worth telling. I don’t want to hear it. No one wants to read it if it’s about that. In this day and age, diverse books are a necessity. By writing and reading about characters who are a different ethnicity, sexuality, or religion as yourself, you are learning empathy and stepping into their shoes as you go from cover to cover. When you say no gay or bisexual protagonists, you are telling every bisexual or gay reader or writer that comes across that site that they are unacceptable. The anti-gay sentiment from many book blogs and reviewers follows in the vein of the prejudicial sentiments of the 1960s. Diversity in characters and novels is a necessity, and having open-minded reviewers and book programs will only further that goal. I hope you will not ignore books solely on the sexuality or ethnicity or a characters within. I will not state the name of the blog tour and take away their livelihood or slander them, but I will boycott them. I will not participate in anything that excludes those who are in need of support.