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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do you put your book into the 'gay' category? Do you find that you get stars off of your reviews because it doesn't have any sex or it stops at the door, or it fades to black? Do you feel like the gay category is as sex oriented as it was four years ago?

I ask truly because I wonder. We got a review in England on the free book in our sig, that said "This was a very interesting. Story and the characters, I now have a different perspective of a Gay Relationship. Thank yo"

It was really a nice one to get, because over on Google play so many say that they loved the book but 'the sex scenes need to be better,' and since they're all fade-to-black, I'm not sure what that would mean except that the reviewer wants more sex and it's not in there. We're strict on not being descriptive, though. I'm hoping this is different in Amazon, which is a more mature market, but maybe not. I'd rather not get a bunch of 3 stars  for putting it back into the gay category and not seeing how others may fair there.
 

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Ummm - not sure I'm the right person to answer this but...

My first gay romance just came out. I know there is a lot of very hot stuff in this genre, but that's not really what I write. There is sex, but it isn't very graphic. My scenes are usually described as "hot" or "sensual" but not erotic. So far, the book seems to be doing fine. I was on the gay romance bestseller list in the US & UK for most of release week. The bloggers and reviewers have been kind. I do have one review on GR that complains specifically about all the sex scenes fading to black, but so far it hasn't been a big issue. I think there are probably readers who would like to see gay characters in non-erotic situations. Gay people are just people, right? So books featuring them should have a variety of heat levels just like any other genre.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
IreneP said:
Ummm - not sure I'm the right person to answer this but...

My first gay romance just came out. I know there is a lot of very hot stuff in this genre, but that's not really what I write. There is sex, but it isn't very graphic. My scenes are usually described as "hot" or "sensual" but not erotic. So far, the book seems to be doing fine. I was on the gay romance bestseller list in the US & UK for most of release week. The bloggers and reviewers have been kind. I do have one review on GR that complains specifically about all the sex scenes fading to black, but so far it hasn't been a big issue. I think there are probably readers who would like to see gay characters in non-erotic situations. Gay people are just people, right? So books featuring them should have a variety of heat levels just like any other genre.
That's interesting! And yes, they are just people, which is why I liked that review so much. :) This isn't a Romance book, though, it's Dark Fantasy, so I'd only be putting it into the general gay section. I guess I should do more research on sub-genres, because you know... maybe there's a Fantasy sub-genre under the gay category.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
IreneP said:
If you aren't going specifically for erotic romance or erotica, I wouldn't worry about the heat level at all. Make it what you want it to be. I know there are some people who seem to want to lump all gay romance into erotica - but it just isn't. You should have all kinds of leeway in fantasy.
It's funny that the heat level seems to be THE complaint in a book where it's not the focus, isn't it? :)

Now I feel like there should be that fantasy subgenre in the 'gay' category!
 

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For what it's worth, my science fiction romance, with a M/F pairing, has no on-the-page sex scenes -- they're all fade-to-black. I've had several complaints about the lack of sex scenes in reviews and comments, but I've had about the same number of people saying "thank you" for not including sex scenes.

My take on all this is that you should write the story you want to tell-I'll happily read all heat levels, straight, gay, or other combinations, as long as it works for the story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
cvannatta said:
For what it's worth, my science fiction romance, with a M/F pairing, has no on-the-page sex scenes -- they're all fade-to-black. I've had several complaints about the lack of sex scenes in reviews and comments, but I've had about the same number of people saying "thank you" for not including sex scenes.

My take on all this is that you should write the story you want to tell--I'll happily read all heat levels, straight, gay, or other combinations, as long as it works for the story.
Yes, it's true. And we'll totally write only the stories the characters tell us. I wonder, though, if the gay category has changed. Four years ago we got the same complaints on the book when it was in the gay category on Amazon, so we decided to take it out being that sex wasn't the point.
 

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I have a few books with gay main characters and when I try doing keyword searches or categories I find that a lot of gay fiction has outrageous sex covers and I feel my books don't belong there. I guess this is the trend to have graphic gay sex.

Personally I thin it's lame. What is also lame is that all gay main characters MUST go through a struggle related to being gay. Why cant they just go through any other story?

Anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
MEPurfield said:
I have a few books with gay main characters and when I try doing keyword searches or categories I find that a lot of gay fiction has outrageous sex covers and I feel my books don't belong there. I guess this is the trend to have graphic gay sex.
This is how I felt, too. I was hoping things had changed!

Personally I thin it's lame. What is also lame is that all gay main characters MUST go through a struggle related to being gay. Why cant they just go through any other story?

Anyway.
Eh, we're lame there, then. We deal in fantasy worlds a lot like earth, with similar societal struggles... though book 2 does have a woman of color who's a policing agent in a largely male-dominated, Caucasian society. But that's for another thread.

The fact remains, do all people who read gay still demand graphic sex? And the other question is, should we flip that misconception the bird and post our stuff there anyway? Hmm... questions, questions...
 

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I write gay romance.  I used to get a lot of reviews that complained there wasn't enough sex.  The levels in my stories have varied, to be honest, from fairly "warm" to completely off-camera.  Nowadays I am more likely to get reviews (and emails) thanking me for writing stories where characters are the focus, rather than sex scenes.

It was definitely worth the early pushback.  I'm writing what I want to, because it's important to me, and many readers feel really glad to find it!  They love romance, relationships, and characters.  It's not just about sex for me or my characters or my readers! 

Keep writing what you want and make it clear as you can, and keep trying to find your audience!  :-*
 

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I struggle with this a lot, but I always end up putting it in the gay category. I have a single pen name that handles all books with MCs that are gay, and it has a lot of success, so I place it there to connect with my audience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
HSh said:
I write gay romance. I used to get a lot of reviews that complained there wasn't enough sex. The levels in my stories have varied, to be honest, from fairly "warm" to completely off-camera. Nowadays I am more likely to get reviews (and emails) thanking me for writing stories where characters are the focus, rather than sex scenes.

It was definitely worth the early pushback. I'm writing what I want to, because it's important to me, and many readers feel really glad to find it! They love romance, relationships, and characters. It's not just about sex for me or my characters or my readers!

Keep writing what you want and make it clear as you can, and keep trying to find your audience! :-*
Thank you! Good to know that some of that early pushback HAS calmed down. That makes me very excited to try our hand there. :)

Briteka said:
I struggle with this a lot, but I always end up putting it in the gay category. I have a single pen name that handles all books with MCs that are gay, and it has a lot of success, so I place it there to connect with my audience.
But we can have it in two categories, so I think I might do the Dark Fantasy category and then the gay and that should cover it. At least try it for a while and see where it gets us.

Also, I found the gay>scifi and fantasy section! Perhaps it's time to test the waters again :D
 

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The gay fiction category does not have to have a romance or sex. I know authors who write gay fiction that is literary, historical, etc and they use one of their categories for gay fiction.  I have either side characters or main character who is gay or lesbian in my books. If they are a main force in the story, I use keywords like gay inclusive, GLBT, LGBT, gay protagonist, gay main character, gay side character, etc. If the story isn't about being gay i.e. the struggle, etc then I use keywords and pick other categories for the categories. Keywords are where it's most important. Those are what people search by. But if being gay is one of the themes, then I use the category. For instance, the last two books in Gastien are listed in gay categories. But the There Was a House saga is not in regard to the categories, but uses keywords because a gay boy shares MC status with a straight girl. However, the theme isn't about his being gay. It's about revenge and escape.  I hope this helps.
 

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MEPurfield said:
I have a few books with gay main characters and when I try doing keyword searches or categories I find that a lot of gay fiction has outrageous sex covers and I feel my books don't belong there. I guess this is the trend to have graphic gay sex.

Personally I thin it's lame. What is also lame is that all gay main characters MUST go through a struggle related to being gay. Why cant they just go through any other story?

Anyway.
Oh, god - I DID IT ALL WRONG!!! :p

My story is actually a pretty traditional romance. It's not at all about a struggle related to being gay. There are a lot of stories out there that include extra conflict about coming out, etc. That's just not what I wrote. I'll admit, I was a little curious about both the heat level and the content, but so far it hasn't been an issue.

I actually got this comment from a reviewer:

"I love a good OFY, and a friends to lovers, but this was more than that, and it was refreshing to see two men who were gay, out, and not at all consumed with those things."
--Watch and Word Society

I think it is a good thing that gay relationships are becoming more mainstream and breaking out of these stereotypes.
 

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Low fantasy, bi co-lead character, some snogging and a fade to black that are not central to the plot. I wound up in LGBT/Fantasy via keywords, not really meaning to in a strategic way - and left it there just to see how it went. (If you're reading this and starting out, somebody, don't do that. Have a plan and cohesive categories and stuff. ~* The More You Know. ~*)

I feel a bit surrounded by paranormal romance, looking at the listings - but that happens all over the place. No blowback so far by way of reviews, ratings or anything else. I'm a wee minnow, but even after a large-for-me promo this past week, nobody has gotten up my nose about it. I don't think anyone has seen it as misplaced. So yeah, while shirtless torsos rule all the roosts (and more power to them, there are plenty on my Kindle), I don't think the category is limited to high heat levels anymore.

Which, personally, makes me happy. I feel strongly about representation in all types of stories, like others on this thread have said.

And after your capsule description I'm gonna go buy some of your books. BRB.
 

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MEPurfield said:
I have a few books with gay main characters and when I try doing keyword searches or categories I find that a lot of gay fiction has outrageous sex covers and I feel my books don't belong there. I guess this is the trend to have graphic gay sex.

Personally I thin it's lame. What is also lame is that all gay main characters MUST go through a struggle related to being gay. Why cant they just go through any other story?

Anyway.
Maybe read more widely then. Gay main characters have never HAD to go through a struggle related to being gay and many haven't. From the days of Joseph Hanson's excellent mystery series written in the 80s that has not been the case or in Nava's award winning mystery series. There is At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill, Pulitzer prize winning novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and Breakfast on Pluto by Patrick McCabel or any of Mary Renault's novels and many, many others. However, dealing with the abuse that is often associated with sexuality that is not part of the heteronormative spectrum is certainly worth writing and reading about since it often involves intense conflict. When it isn't the main conflict, it is often one of the conflicts as it is in The Color Purple for example.
 

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I read an amazing blog post by a gay author one time, and he said some awesome stuff.  Of course I can't find the link now!  ::)  Grr... I should get better control over my bookmarks, or my memory...!!

But anyway he said something along the lines of a gay man is always going to have an inner wound he grew up with, just coming to terms with being different, knowing he's different, and figuring out in what ways.

It doesn't have to be the primary motivation to everything he does, just something to remember.  That really resonated with me--that feeling, and that you can see when it's missing, sometimes, in fiction. 

I wish I could find the link, or even just remember who wrote it...    :-X
 

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HSh said:
I read an amazing blog post by a gay author one time, and he said some awesome stuff. Of course I can't find the link now! ::) Grr... I should get better control over my bookmarks, or my memory...!!

But anyway he said something along the lines of a gay man is always going to have an inner wound he grew up with, just coming to terms with being different, knowing he's different, and figuring out in what ways.

It doesn't have to be the primary motivation to everything he does, just something to remember. That really resonated with me--that feeling, and that you can see when it's missing, sometimes, in fiction.

I wish I could find the link, or even just remember who wrote it... :-X
I think this really depends, though? I mean, someone who identifies on the LGBTQ spectrum who grows up in a supportive, inclusive environment /with other LGBTQ youth/ is going to have a different sort of wound than someone who grows up the only LGBTQ person they know. It's possible in future worlds/fantasy worlds/whatever that being LGBTQ would be so normative that that wound isn't there. Or hell, even in some very progressive places in the next ten years. (Hopefully.)

It may not be an overt wound, and some people may not even be really aware of it, but it does influence what some people do and how they react to certain events.
 

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elizabethsade said:
It's possible in future worlds/fantasy worlds/whatever that being LGBTQ would be so normative that that wound isn't there. Or hell, even in some very progressive places in the next ten years. (Hopefully.)
That would be lovely! :) I'm sorry I can't find the link, by the way. It was a fascinating blog post.
 
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