On Diversity

So, here’s the thing.

I write romance, of a particular stripe, and though I’ve always been a writer, it’s pretty much always been the same type of work from me. Diverse, Kinky, Polyamorous.

Diversity isn’t just about one topic. There’re a lot of words being bandied about these days, in publishing, people saying they want diversity from writers. There’s a push for #ownvoices manuscripts. I’m grateful that there is some change, small though it is.

Thing I’m seeing, though? It’s not enough. It’s not diversity if you only start accepting monogamous same-sex romances. That leaves the rest of us out in the cold, crying for books to read. Those of us who are polyamorous, kinky, pansexual, our brothers and sisters and friends who use different words and pronouns to self-identify. How about a genderqueer or genderfluid MC in mainstream adult fiction? (I think I’m just getting old, but I’m so sick of reading about romantic monogamy… it’s not my thing, I’d like to read about my thing… ) What about an aroace MC? Grace? I can keep going…

Neurodiverse, haven’t seen it yet from traditional publishing, (it’s more prevalent in YA. Unfortunately, I don’t read YA, so… I’m left wanting books that rep me in that regard as well).

How about mixed ethnicity? This one is a little easier to find, I say that because I HAVE seen it. Once. Nalini Singh has mixed ethnicities in her books, and there was a person very like me in her books. It was the first time I’d ever seen that part of myself in fiction. I cried, literally, I had to wipe tears away to see that part of me in a traditionally published book.

It’s not only about accepting books with POC characters. The writers have to be POC too.

I’m such a mutt of ethnicities, which, yes, technically makes me passing POC, but I won’t write about the experience of living life in a darker skin, because I haven’t done it. (Yes, before you ask, I do write many characters who are POC in my futuristic or fantasy worlds. My characters show up fully formed for me, it’s the way it works in my head. But the experience of living life as POC in this world, that I won’t write because I respect those who have to live it in our messed up society and I want their stories, their words).

I’m not saying that writers shouldn’t listen to their muses, (world would be an awfully boring place if we didn’t have interesting stories to tell), but could we get a few stories by POC writers as well as those that aren’t? Could we get a few authors who are neurodiverse telling their own stories so that we can be repped in fiction too? I can name two mainstream polyamorous characters/series in traditionally published fiction. (I have a few more potentials on my TBR list, but I’ve personally read two series with poly characters). Pansexual? Haven’t seen it. (A note, my TBR list is taller than I am, and I’ve been able to add a few more books that purportedly rep diversity, I’ll review them when I get there.)

There is still so much pain and frustration, diverse people crying out for books that rep them (me included in many areas). Yet… where are our books? Is it just talk?

I hear the cries of others, I feel the pain myself. What is it going to take before we’re heard?

 

 

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Narrated version of post here.

Edit: Since the election, I’ve become political just by breathing. I’ve always voted with as much knowledge and consideration to the issues as I knew how. I’ve always tried to vote with conscience toward my fellow humans.

I’m #queer, in so many senses of the word. I’m #pansexual, #kinky and #asexual. I’m autistic and I have no patience for Nazis. Oh wait, is that not politically correct?

Fuck it.

I’m real, and I write beautiful stories detailing love, grief, life and graphic, open door sex. Usually with more than two people.

If you’re looking for someone to follow who isn’t political, who isn’t going to be real in everything I do. Unfollow button is on the right.

If you’d like to know me better, for whatever reason, read my blog and interact with me on twitter or in the comments.

Now… to the meat of how I do Twitter.

I gotta say something about Twitter. (Which I adore). A couple things maybe, I’ll try not to rant (too badly).

I don’t auto-follow. I can’t if I want to keep seeing the peeps I want to see in my feed. IF I follow someone it’s because I’m interested in something the person said, they’ve interacted with me (big one there) something in their bio appeals (seriously, I’ve followed people for saying they’re Firefly/Dr. Who fans, it’s completely random) or I fangirl like crazy about their work (usually authors, but I fangirl actors and musicians too). (Just a snippet of info for the authors, if you interact with me, I’m MUCH more likely to go out of my way to get the library to order your book. I’m more likely to post a review of your work on my site, and best of all, I’m much more likely to buy your book.)

I will unfollow for a number of reasons, mainly because twitter is ‘social’ media. I’m here for the ‘social’ aspect of it, not for numbers or a platform. Having people interested in my work of words and wanting to hear when the shorts and books are published is amazeballs, don’t get me wrong! At the end of the day though, I both want and need interaction from my tweeps. (It’s often the only adult contact I have ’til hubby gets home, writing and being a SAHM is lonely business to the adult mind, you know?)

If you’re not interacting with me in some way (or if I don’t obsessively fangirl your work) I’m very likely to stop following you. I’m on twitter to make connections with people and enjoy short conversations, not to get lots of followers. Obviously, more people who like what I say or what I write is awesome (it really is, so much) but that’s not why I’m so active on Twitter. (Oh, and I’m really active, feel free to mute me or unfollow if I clutter your feed too much, I announce all bookish stuff on facebook and my webpage too) I’m also on twitter to learn more about this writing thing I do and connect with others crazy enough to do it (also fangirling… mustn’t forget that. Wait… did I mention that already?) 🙂

I’ll unfollow someone if I can’t handle their viewpoints, I’ll unfollow if I can’t remember why I followed them (meaning they probably haven’t interacted with me recently).

This too, if we’ve been mutually following one another AND interacting, then *you* unfollow me? It hurts, I don’t understand it, and I’m likely to mute or unfollow you. Look, I get it, it’s incredibly hard to keep up with anything more than 3 or 4 hundred followers (At most) but, if we’ve been ‘friends’ and interacting, then you unfollow, it leaves me wondering what *I’ve* done. I’m well aware that this is likely because of my aspie nature, I tend to overanalyze everything. (really, it’s exhausting sometimes) but… it’s the way I work, and I’m fully accepting of myself.

Another thing I don’t do (mostly cause I just don’t understand it) is call out others for a retweet or a like or a follow. It makes me uncomfy… my aspie nature talking. *I* don’t want to be publicly thanked for a retweet and honestly, it clutters up my notifications page terribly. So if I don’t ‘like’ a thank you, that’s why, I already have a lot of stuff on that page to go through and I want the conversations and connections, not the list of names, ya know?

Probably weird of me…

Here’s the last thing, we as writers are often cautioned against following/unfollowing industry people or other authors. I need to say something about this.

When we enter contests, we’re encouraged to follow all the judges/organizers/agents involved. That makes my twitterfeed explode. I can’t keep up with the peeps I want to. So I selectively follow, those I’m *interested* in. By interested, in this context, it means just that, I’m interested and would like to know that person better. Half of the authors I follow I can’t/don’t even read their books for one reason or another. (Not my genre usually, or it’s only mono romance and gah… I’ve had enough mono romance to last me forever. I’ll still occasionally buy and read one, but the premise, details or writing has to be different enough to anything else I’ve read before to make it interesting.) Building a tribe of writer-y peeps who get how crazy this thing we do is… wow, highly important to me. I might choose to follow a person because I think I can learn from them, rarely if I think they might be interested in what I write and only so I can figure out if they are a fit for me (twitter is fantastic for getting to know someone) or I support something they do/are doing (writing diverse stories for instance). As for agents, I follow a number of them that I can’t or won’t query, for one reason or another, simply because I like who they are. Some of them don’t rep what I write, some have strict length rules and anyone who knows me knows I write long… so. Some agents I’ve queried with projects that weren’t right for them, and I still interact with them because I like them for one reason or another. (A lot of them told me WHY my work didn’t work for them. So, so important for an autistic person.)

When it comes to unfollowing, esp author/mentor/judges, I know it’s not ‘nice’ but if we haven’t connected in a social sense, if we haven’t interacted, I’ll eventually unfollow.

For an agent, I don’t unfollow, not usually (because I feel it’s unprofessional) but if I don’t feel we’re a match, I’m likely to mute.

If I’ve followed a fellow author through a contest, and we’ve interacted, especially a lot, and I keep on keeping on getting the track notification saying they’re still not following me, then if the interaction drops off, yeah, you guessed it, unfollow.

My feed is a place I go to for fun, and honestly, the longer I’m on twitter, the more I’m learning what makes it fun for me, and what hurts me.  Me following people I’m interested in (unless they’re uber famous and probably aren’t checking their own feed in any case) the person interacting with me, then not following… yeah, it hurts, so I don’t do it much. Or I stop doing it when it starts hurting.

I’m weird, I know. I’m good with being me in all facets of me.

Just in case anyone is curious about how I do Twitter… thems are the whys.

Now. More editing, cause that just never ends.

Squee!

Lol… some days I really wonder why I share what I write. The days when I get multiple rejections from agents or publishers (in a row… had 4 in one day, making it a total of 7 for the past week). Those are the days when I think about going back to writing just for myself and not putting my words, myself, out there. Not letting anyone else read what I write.

Then I get a review from someone who loved something I wrote. Or I get an email, or an @ on twitter. (Like these)

Those are the days that make it all worth it.

Writers, unless they hit it really big, usually make around 10k a year. That’s it. We aren’t rock stars, and we’ll never be rich and famous (not most of us).

I’m compelled to write, I have all of these stories in my head that have to find an outlet. Writing is an escape, a source of joy (most of the time) and once in a while a source of hair pulling frustration.

But today? I feel like a rock star. I’m high on the joy of knowing that my words, my imagination, made someone’s life better. For even the tiny moment in time it takes to transport my reader to my world.

Thank you, everyone, who reads my words or follows me and reaches out to say whatever you want to say to me. It makes it worth it.  🙂