Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Welcome to the Internet

Ahoy readers!

It's been a minute since I've stepped away from my Fiction Features and done some actual blogging about the writing world. I was tasked with the job of corralling 5th graders for the past 5 weeks. Top that off with a whirlwind of personal events, throw in a holiday and a few birthdays, and the rest of March and almost all of April slipped right on by.

I had to put my writing world on hold during all of this, but the break wasn't without a little drama.

I'll go ahead and relay the story, first giving a factual account and then putting my 2 cents in.

The short: 

My publisher, Clean Reads, was recently at a writers convention in Las Vegas. For those of you who don't know, Clean Reads is a small house e-publisher who primarily publish non-erotic romance. The con they went to was for Romance, so they go out every year to promote the vast bulk of their books.

One guy, Rick R. Reed, was at the convention and was intrigued my Clean Reads's manifesto. After going home and doing some research, he stumbled upon an ill-worded clause in the submissions guidelines that discriminated against homosexual characters. Being a LGBT ally, Mr. Reed posted a blog scolding Clean Reads for the discriminatory submissions. You can read his original post here (it's very short)  http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/clean-reads-publishing-house-that-deems.html?zx=8cadf4fb7a356b85

The shit: 

Like most authors, I have neither the funds nor time to attend such conventions. So, the way I found out about this blog post was by going on my publisher's Facebook group on a weekday night. Fellow Clean Reads authors were freaking out over the attack on the company, claiming it to be a homophobic and hateful press. There was talk of people asking for their books' rights back and even a hint or two of the publishing company going under because of this.

Needless to say, I did a little freaking out myself. I'd just published a new novel with this company, and I didn't want to see it go under any more than the other people. I called up my friends in the middle of the night, relaying the information and asking for advice on what my next move should be.

The revelation: 

And then I realized that reacting on the defense was not the thing to do. Had I acted on my original impulse, I would not be in good standing favor with many people right now.

Within days, Rick R. Reed posted an apology to Clean Reads, and my publisher removed the submissions clause stating no homosexuals. I knew they would, as (while worded offensively) that's not something that's kept people from publishing with Clean Reads. What they meant was no erotic homosexual content, which makes sense as it's a non-erotic publishing company.

Lying low and waiting for the initial shock to subside yielded one thing: the Internet is fickle. Even now, I had to dig through Google pages to find Mr. Reed's original post.

Even throughout the issue, I checked my books' pages to make sure everything added up. I'm happy to announce that I'm still a mediocre author making less than $1,000 a year on her life's work. Twitter follower counts still only at 400, and none of my friends or family have un-liked my Facebook page.

There are still some authors who are up in arms over this, as they've gotten more backlash than I have (which as to date my current count is: zero,) but it's all for naught, I'm afraid. The Internet is a crazy place where a keyboard removes all inhibition for people to react and lash out at anything that offends them.

But it also drastically shortens our attention span, and these things blow over like showering off the day or changing into a fresh pair of underwear. (What? I swear I'm a good writer, y'all!) What's a hot topic one day will be a distant memory in a week or so.

However, there is one note to take home after all of this: the power of words is still a force with which to be reckoned. One simple blog post started this ripple in my little publisher's world and sparked a greater sense of awareness with regards to the publisher's morals and standards. Clean Reads isn't a homophobic publishing company, and I'm proud to have published a story with them that has many diverse characters that question and challenge conventional sexuality and gender roles.It was just the words in the submissions guidelines that started this massive drama, which in turn, ended up becoming insignificant with more words written in the form of edited submissions guidelines and an apology letter.

And, at the end of the day, I'm happy to be a part of a community that can shake the weird world of the Internet with a few well-written (or poorly intended) words.

Keep writin' and dreamin' y'all

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