Authors, Ramblings

In Which I’m About To Piss Some People Off…

Yes, here it comes, more crap, but I’m not an author, I’m a reader, dammit, and I think if anyone has the right to weigh in on this one, it’s those of us who support this genre with not only our love and commitment but our hard earned dollars as well, so here I go…

I woke up this morning to the one thing I’ve been waiting for since I came home from Albuquerque in October: news about the upcoming registration for GayRomLit 2013 in Atlanta. This is the one and only author/fan event I’ve ever attended, ever, as in, in all the history of my reading. I mean it literally; I’ve never even been to a book signing… Okay, you get it. And while I’d love to be able to paint the picture that I scrimp and save my spare change for it all year long to up the “poor pitiful me” quotient, it’d be a lie, so I won’t go there. Where I will go, however, is here:

We’ve also taken the list of must-have authors (bolding mine) that you the readers have given us and are doing our best to pre-register them before the general author registration begins.

Now, I missed a memorandum here, folks, because I don’t remember participating in a poll in which I was able to weigh in on my “must-haves”. And I’m going to be perfectly honest, some of my “must-have” authors have never even attended a GRL event, so to say that these elite few writers have been selected for me from a random sampling of readers pretty much pisses me off in ways I can’t even begin to describe, and quite frankly, it smacks of the same cliquish attitudes that kept people like me from sitting at the cool kids’ table in high school. What this seems to boil down to, from where I’m sitting, is a popularity contest, and a questionable one at that, in which some pretty amazing toes, and maybe a few feelings, just got publicly trampled on, and I’m almost certain I’m fairly angry about that.

So, I remain puzzled on why a select few authors deserve preferential treatment. When registration opens, you either sign up for the event, or you don’t. I read/review somewhere close to three-hundred books a year, many, if not most, of them bought with my own money. Where’s my preferential treatment, as a reader, huh? The answer is that I don’t deserve any, so why does anyone else? I can understand if an author is on the financial fence or is unable to commit early for whatever reason, I do, but that doesn’t mean I believe registration should be withheld from other writers in the meantime. I hope that’s not going to be the case. I also don’t understand the “author cap” that’s being placed on the event. Readers are coming to meet and greet the authors, after all, so why exclude anyone who has a reason and the means to attend? My feelings on the matter are: the more the merrier!

And now I wait. Before I even consider registering for Atlanta, I will wait to see whom these chosen ones are. If it’s being determined by sales, I remain skeptical. If it’s being determined by how prolific the author, I remain doubly so, because we all know quantity and quality are mutually exclusive propositions, in many cases, and I have news for you GRL organizers—I have a “must-have” author on my list who’s written one, count it, one book to date that I can guarantee was far more brilliant and original than the half dozen books some writers spew out in a year’s time.

I’ll finish with this thought: to see any author excluded from GayRomLit on the basis of his or her popularity would be, to me, the height of irony in a genre, and for an event, that prides itself on inclusivity, wouldn’t it?

And that’s my two cents on the subject.


43 thoughts on “In Which I’m About To Piss Some People Off…

  1. Last year someone asked me if I was going to go and I honestly I had to ask her, Go where? I had never heard of it before and was then asked my like three people, no one asked you? I really had to explain, if I had never heard it, chances were I never was asked :)

    I am curious to see who is on the list as well.


  2. John, depending upon how many authors are included on this “must-have” list, I could, with a fair amount of accuracy, probably put it together on my own.

    I just have such a problem with this because it runs the risk of excluding some very good up-and-coming writers who may not have the built-in fan base that others have, who are, in my humble opinion, very arguably more deserving of this title, if being judged solely on talent.

    For the record, you would be on my “must-have” list. :)


    • I don’t understand where it comes from. I mean from what everyone has said it was a blast the last few years. Why change it now.

      And thanks, might be the only must have list I am on :)


      • Last year’s event was the second annual retreat but the first I was able to attend, so I can tell you from experience it was a blast! I thought there was a perfect author/publisher/reader ratio and can’t imagine, looking from the outside in, why there needed to be a change in the status quo. I discovered some new authors and made new friends too, friends who might not make the vaunted list but who’re superstars to me nonetheless. :)


  3. Saw this being retweeted by Piper…

    Don’t think I can go even if I want to, considering my geographical (and financial) condition but I had to comment on this. It strikes me as showing elitist attitude, one thing I don’t appreciate…

    It’s kinda of sad, to be honest … when I first read m/m just shy of 4-years ago, I feel like this genre is a close and friendly group, being kind of ‘alternative’ genre that is being looked down by ‘more mainstream / serious genre’. But then lately, I do get the sense of elitist bunch — or people who look down on other people’s choice of books an authors in this genre as well. Siiiigh.

    And just like you, my must-have-list-author, might not even be in this kind of event.

    PS: John, you would be on my list as well.



  4. Pingback: GayRomLit’s Cherry Picking Ways « AJ Rose

  5. Well, hmmm… You must not be on the GRL newsletter mailing list, Chris.

    There’s a bit of a controversy brewing over this list of so-called “must-have” authors who’re being given preferential registration rights because of some elusive survey that readers supposedly filled out at/after Albuquerque. Now, I never saw this survey, did you? At any rate, based on said survey, a list of authors have been compiled that the GLR board will be pursuing for registration before they open up full registration to the more lowly authors in the genre. And, they’ve also capped author attendance at 100 this year, so there’ll be fewer authors attending, unless they want to go as fans, which dammit! That takes registration spots away from us fans…

    It’s a cluster.


  6. I have to be honest, when I heard about this, I felt like it was a huge slap in the face. I was pretty angry about it but I kept my cool.

    I understand why they did it. One, because some people signed up who weren’t authors but put themselves in the authors area to get a guaranteed space. That left several authors to sign up as readers.

    But it still smacks as cliquish. But let’s face it. This whole genre is highly cliquish anyway.


    • …some people signed up who weren’t authors but put themselves in the authors area to get a guaranteed space.

      Come again… how in the name of all that’s disorganized did this happen?! See, now to me, as soon as it was discovered these people registered as authors, their money should’ve been refunded and their invitation to the event revoked with a hearty, ha! Take that, you big fat cheaters!


      • Let me clarify, I was upset about the “pre-invited” authors. I know a good number of them and I knew I wasn’t on the list. Basically, it is to ensure that there are some big names to get attendance up. I get that but it makes the rest of us authors who bust our asses just as hard to write books, it really hurts that we aren’t as special.


  7. You know, I’m so frustrated, and this is what I keep going back to, on behalf of all the authors out there who aren’t the “big names”: WHY was it necessary to publicly discuss GRL board plans/business for author attendance in an open email? If the organizers wish to compose a list of 30 “exclusive” authors they want to try and wrangle for early registration to up reader attendance, fine, by all means do it; that’s their prerogative, but why tell everyone that’s what you’re doing? I didn’t need to know, did you? I don’t know… Maybe seeing it from a reader’s perspective is a bit different than from an author’s, but I don’t give a flying fig how many books someone’s written or sold. I went last year because I wanted to share in the fun and the sense of community. I loved having the chance to meet and get to know everyone (except, apparently, for Chris and Lori ::fail::) a little better last year, whether I’d read them or not, whether they’d written a dozen books or only two. To me, that’s not what the event is about. The event is about a celebration of the genre as a whole, not the stroking of a few egos.


    • I get the author cap but I just don’t understand the whole promoting “Here are 30 authors who we consider to be the upper echelon of authors” which is pretty damn subjective.

      I wasn’t pleased when I heard about it at Olde City, New Blood. I’m not pleased with it now.


      • Well, I don’t know if you saw it, but GRL just Tweeted that they’re preparing a statement to clear up some “misinformation”. I don’t now about you, but it all seemed fairly straightforward to me. :-/


  8. Sarah_Madison says:

    Wow. This is really disappointing to hear. I was looking forward to the opening of registration because I was going to be able to make it this year. Considering this is only the third year GRL has been held, it seems to me that the change in emphasis to showcasing a specific set of authors is a bit premature. I think the high school analogy fits this mindset a little too well. :-(


    • Hi Sarah!

      The email and the current plans for the event have most definitely let some of the air out of my happy-happy-joy-joy. I won’t attend if it means there’s a group of my favorite authors, not ones that someone else has been lucky enough to choose for me, but mine, won’t have the chance to attend because they’re not quite popular enough by some standards. I’m just watching now and waiting to see how this all plays out. :(


  9. I think my top 3o list of must-read authors would be vastly different than your top 30 (I steer towards paranormal authors), so I’d love to see the survey and how it was worded, coded and the numbers used statistically to generate this “list.” I think the validity and reliability might be in question. (All those surveys I had to write to get my masters degree, makes me question these by the seat of my pants “polls. *g*) Shame as I was thinking of going.


  10. This is one of the reasons why I withdrew myself entirely from all of the social sites I was once active in. Probably cements my status as an unpopular author, but it’s not fun being witness to cliquish behavior, and I feel for those who’re left out in the cold.


    • I just realized what could be a great irony about this whole thing – that many people involved in this kicked up a fuss when the Lambda Literary Foundation went exclusive on their awards back in 2009. Gah.


  11. Well said. I haven’t attended this event in the past but I was stoked that it was on the East Coast this year and had been REALLY looking forward to attending. Now I doubt I’ll be able to. It’s very unfortunate for a gathering that previously had a great reputation.


  12. Well, the word now is that there is “a tremendous amount of misinformation being circulated” re: the event, and that no author pre-registration invitations have gone out yet. Now… take that for what you will because the block quote in my post was lifted directly from the GRL email, and it clearly states they’re doing their best to get this group of select authors pre-registered, which sounds to me like the process has begun. :-/

    I don’t think there was much there for me to misconstrue, but I do want to give the organizers a chance to explain what it is I obviously misunderstood.


  13. “some pretty amazing toes, and maybe a few feelings, just got publicly trampled on”… my thoughts exactly.
    What I think everyone wants to know is, who are the list of 30 authors who get preferential treatment? And who, exactly, decided who those 30 were? This isn’t M/F Romance where we all know who the big players are, M/M Romance or LGBT fiction in general is relatively new, so deciding who the biggest names are is much harder. I certainly couldn’t do it.


  14. There has been a clarification sent out HERE

    And there’s a live chat currently going on with event organizers HERE.

    If anyone’s interested in checking out what’s being said by the powers that be. :)


  15. Hmmm, I just checked the GRL Facebook to see the explanation of the new policy.

    Because last year’s registration sold-out so quickly, and MANY authors informed us they were unable to register for the event, we have decided to extend an early courtesy invitation to a small group of fan-designated bestsellers in the genre

    Yeah, so how does THAT better, by the way? Which means that those authors who are unable to register last year, if they’re not ‘part of the big names’ should compete ALA The Hunger Games to get their slot this year *shrugs*


    • I’ve been lurking at the chat site, and honestly, it’s a bit of a cluster. LOL.

      I appreciate that these organizers have to put some controls in place, I really do, but when they say things like, and I’m paraphrasing, readers were complaining last year because some felt there were too many authors, I have to ask a resounding, WHAT?! It’s an event for readers to meet and greet authors. How could there be too many? :-/

      I just want to know who these mysterious readers are who keep speaking on my behalf…


      • Is it possible because some authors are also readers, so the actual “reader” readers — you know, those who are not exactly writing/publishing anything become less in number? #thinkingoutloud


  16. I am extremely saddened by the announcement. GRL is being held within driving distance of my home! I’m nowhere near the top thirty, and they’ve now announced thirty spots saved for authors with less than five novels, leaving forty slots for those like myself who’ve been in the genre a few years but who aren’t the most popular. Can anyone give me the odds here? Sadly, I’ve told everyone who’ll listen about this event, how great it is, how they should be sure to attend, etc., and now I have to say, “Oh sorry, you can’t go”?

    I understand about the cap, and I understand that as organizers they have some tough decisions to make. It still hurts. I turned in my vacation request for October the moment I returned to work after Albuquerque.

    On a happy note, Lisa, meeting you at GRL ’12 was a huge fangirl moment for me.


    • I was so happy to be able to hug your neck, Eden!

      What I’m wondering, at this point, is how many authors who can’t attend as authors will now come as readers. If that happens, doesn’t that somewhat defeat the purpose of this being an event for readers? And I’m not saying that meaning that authors can’t be fans too, certainly not. I’m simply saying that if authors go as readers and are still able to interact with fans, it defeats the purpose of forcing them to attend as readers, doesn’t it? :-/


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