Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blog Challenge #13: Why Gay Romance?

My kids during gender-swap day at school
I'm an advocate of love. A champion for its cause. A passionate believer in the happily ever after. Gender has never played a factor in how I perceive love and if my children are anything to go by, they feel the same way. Love is love.

If you've followed my blog or read through the posts (welcome new readers) you've undoubtedly noticed that I represent a lot of GLBTQ romance. These "Gay Romance" authors have works in various subgenres, featuring a myriad of gender-pairings but at the core of each of their books is love. It's all about the love!

When I'm passionate about something, everyone knows about it. Ask any of my clients and they'll tell you how passionate I can be when discussing any of their works, their careers, my family, coffee, the publishing industry and Harry Potter. Get me talking about any of these topics and you'll not hear an intake of breath for several minutes. But I don't just talk about my causes, I champion them and each of my clients is a cause I fervently fight for on a daily basis. I advocate their work, I champion their successes and I'm passionate when I pitch their work to publishers and the media.

Rainbow Flag courtesy of
Creative Commons
One of the causes I advocate the most is the mainstreaming of "Gay Romance". Why? Because it's not a subgenre to be shelved in the Gay/Lesbian section of your bookstore. It's a love story between two (or more people) just like all of the other romance books shelved in the romance category. It's not shameful or perverted to see two men embrace passionately on a romance cover. It's not ugly to see a transgendered model on the cover of a romance novel. Our love stories are not, and should not, be categorized by our gender or that of our partner's any more than the color of our skin is.

I champion the love because if we were more tolerant about love and less complacent about hate, perhaps the current political landscape (in the US) could be better. The topics that would matter in this election would not be based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and race. It's all about the love, man!

It's about love. It's why I'm passionate about it. Why I advocate for it. Why I champion it and why I thirst for more of it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blog Challenge #12: Conference Etiquette

I'm at the Florida Writers Conference in Lake Mary, Florida this weekend and having a great time talking to prospective clients, other industry professionals and the amazing staff and faculty of the FWA. While I'm here, a few of my clients are attending GayRomLit in Albuquerque, New Mexico (and getting up to all kinds of fun shenanigans if the FB pictures are anything to go by). Before they attend conferences, my clients usually ask me what should they be doing (especially if I'm not attending and there are pitch appointments available) so I thought it would make for a good blog post.

If you're an unagented author at a writer's conference, your focus should be to pitch your work to as many agents and editors as you can. Get your work and your face in front of these amazing individuals who will eventually fight each other for the privilege to say they signed you. If you're already represented however, what are you supposed to do?

  1. Talk to editors and agents about your work in casual conversation. When sitting at dinner or during any of the Meet and Greet events, approach the editor your agent is courting with your work and introduce yourself. You don't need to pitch your work, you simply want to garner interest and put a face to the pitch the agent has sent them. Mention anything you're working on and if they seem interested let them know you'll let your agent know they'd like to take a look at the project. Ask them for their business card and give them one of your own.
  2. When you get back to your room that night, send them an email thanking them for the opportunity to speak to them that day and to e-introduce your agent. Make sure to cc your agent in the communication and mention that you spoke with them about your upcoming project and your agent will be following up with them.
  3. Network with other authors and ask them about their experience with the publishers you're interested in working with. If you hear too many negative experiences at one particular publisher, you know to avoid them and let your agent know. Make that discussion part of your career planning talk.
  4. Talk with readers and at book signing events, let them fangirl you. Feel free to talk about your upcoming projects or even works you're thinking about (especially if they're sequels to successful books) and start building the book buzz.
  5. Relax and schedule time during the day to take a nap, hydrate and spend some time away from the masses. You need to recharge your batteries and keep yourself as healthy as possible. While "Con-crud" is likely to set in when you leave, having moments of rest and keeping yourself hydrated go a long way toward keeping those nasty germs from settling in your system.
Conferences can be a great networking opportunity if you know how to do it. Mingle, mingle, mingle. If you're an introvert (and many authors are) think about attending your first conference with a close friend. Having a friendly face around while you're doing these scary things can help you feel more at ease.