Monday, June 4, 2012
Sigh. So many qualifiers...
Why is it I'm still not seeing those books entering the mainstream? Perhaps when every state can wise up and legally okay gay marriage, will I see it then? Is that what it will take for large publishers to include gay romance as a fully fledged and acknowledged genre? Curious.
In a time when groups boycott JC Penny ads for daring to show happy same-sex couples in advertising, I don't get the sense that the Big 6 publishers are yet ready to see two men or two women on the cover of a book. Small presses and electronic presses don't have those same concerns. They put erotic romance on the map by publishing what readers wanted to read. Low and behold, New York picked up on the popularity and enfolded erotic romance into its midst.
The discussion about what publishers will buy is a lot like the chicken and the egg concept. Publishers claim they buy what the public wants to read, because who the heck wants to buy material that won't sell? A valid point. Yet many readers complain that the publishers push what they--the publishers--consider sell-able, not necessarily what readers want. That the readers are force-fed trends according to what sold last month. And to an extent, readers are right.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard of editors looking for another Hunger Games or Twilight or vampire romance. Another book right along the lines of what's already out there. Sure they want to cash in on what's marketable, but in that way they're forcing readers to read the same type of material all over again instead of introducing something new. I think particular books work so well because at the time they're released, there's nothing quite like them out there.
Which brings me back to gay romance. Why have mainstream publishing houses not leaped on this bandwagon yet? M/m erotic romance in particular has a huge following. It's niche, yes, but m/m fans are some of the most loyal out there, maybe because it's not that easy to find good m/m (or f/f) romance. And if you look at a lot of the popular and bestselling books on many distributors, most of the top sellers are gay romance. (Take a look at All Romance eBook's bestsellers.)
To say that many women don't like two men touching is crap, plain and simple. Look at the huge popularity of ménage romances. It used to be that the men only concentrated on the woman in the relationship, but more and more the ménage is a true threesome where everyone touches everyone. (My personal preference.)
I'm just wondering what it will take, and if it we'll ever see actual romances from the big six that involve gay characters as leads. I do know Suzanne Brockman had a gay character she carried through a few of her books, and whom I believe had his own story. But other than her, I don't know of any commercial romance with gay leads. Is homophobia still that rampant, even in such a progressive city like New York? Inquiring minds want to know...
Posted by Marie Harte at 9:23 AM