Geno no. Geno why.
Apparently now is the time for uncomfortable truths because I’ve just had it.
How many posts have I seen that talk about fanfiction ‘setting the bar higher’ or about how ‘unoriginal’ published fiction is? How many posts have I seen where someone’s saying “I wish someone would write about X thing that subverts some popular trope!’?
Trans Cinderella? I have a friend who’s written that. Books about people who are actually, for real, bi or ace? My publisher has whole categories for those. How about ABO? Or werewolf stories that aren’t about sex and dominance? Hell, I’ve written that. Enemies-to-lovers? Mecha-wearing cops? These people are some of the most creative and welcoming and kind people I’ve ever met.
And nearly daily, I see fandom deride us like we’re somehow other. And look, I get it. In large part, I think a lot of the pushback is the inaccessibility of publishing in large houses, and the way that those large houses churn out the same tropes over and over again, while enforcing and maintaining the societal status quo.
But hey, those are large presses. Those are The Big Four. There are so many smaller, younger, more inclusive presses running around now, not even to mention self-publishing.
If I read a book that I absolutely love and I immediately develop a writer-crush on that author, 9 times out of 10 I say to myself “I wanna be friends” and then we become friends. It’s great. Authors have no chill about each other, none at all, I love it.
So when I finally caved and came to tumblr and started getting involved in fandom, it was like a bucket of cold water to the face when I found out, over and over, that fanfic writers and readers wanted nothing to do with me and my original fiction. I mention that I’ve finally been writing again, someone asks what pairing, I say it’s orig fic and the immediate disinterest is nearly palpable. There’s the continuous parade of posts talking about how no one ever writes about this, you never see books about that, I wish there was a book like this, with this, not with that, and every time I see those posts I become an incredible combination of sad and indignant.
Because these books do exist, these authors and publishing houses do exist. These editors and artists, they exist. I know because I’ve worked with them, I’ve emailed and tweeted them, I’ve published with them. These posts and this attitude are willfully ignoring and erasing the industry that’s closest to your own works. Do you think mainstream publishing and The Big Four, do you think they’d accept ABO? Do you think they’d accept triads with an ace member? Do you think they’d accept trans love stories? Sweeping epic fantasy where the main character being gay isn’t the driving force behind the plot? Or sweet and fluffy contemporary romance? No, they wouldn’t, because on the whole mainstream publishing, when it deigns to include us, is pretty much only interested in killing us.
Fandom needs to understand that there are queer spaces in publishing too, and we are not the enemy. It really sucks to try to fit in with the people you think will understand you best and have it made clear, time and time again, that you’re still too other for them.
And it is because of these explicitly queer spaces in publishing that the big New York houses are beginning to adjust and allow for more diversity in all aspects. We can make a difference, but we do it by reading and supporting what’s there, not denying it unless it comes from a pre-existing property.
Less Than Three Press is one of the most inclusive publishers I have ever come across and I am incredible proud to be published by them. Seriously, these books exist. Just look for them and most importantly, purchase and support them so we can keep writing more.