I'm am severely disappointed right now. I was very happy with Smashwords during the whole Paypal censorship matter and thought, hey, that's a place I want to do business with in the future. Seeing my titles up there will make me proud. I still retained those ideas until this morning.
Recently, my publisher, No Boundaries Press, uploaded all their titles to Smashwords and I was very excited. I didn't have time to look at it until today when I rushed off to the Gay & Lesbian section and searched...and searched...and searched for my titles (yes, I wanted to see them in the "New" section, instead of searching for my name - I was that excited). Fifty New titles in and I started to wonder if my titles had been incorrectly cataloged.
So I did a search for my titles and discovered that instead of Gay & Lesbian - Gay, they were cataloged as Erotica - Gay Erotica. My titles are Romance Erotica, not Erotica, but I understood how my publisher was forced to catalog my titles there (since there are explicit scenes - she's been forced to do this elsewhere as well, though All Romance eBooks did create a special Erotic Romance category for the thousands of titles like mine). However, very few people looking for gay & lesbian titles will look under Erotica first. Besides, "Erotica" means sex only, as in there's no romance involved, and my stories are all based on love instead of just sex (even my Grade-A-Sex Deal is a Romance Erotica). It genuinely hurt to see my titles among titles such as Flaming Hot Gay BDSM, The Electrician's Ass, Confessing to Daddy, My Neighbors Little Girl, A Boy for the Tentacle Monster, Dripping Lust, Lubrication, Breeding His Daddy's Friend, Prison Sissy Sex Slave, Grocery Store Gang Bang... You get the picture and no offense to these authors - these titles and (probably) content belong under Erotica while mine (and more I saw lumped under Erotica) belong under Romance Erotica. There's a huge difference between a stroke-off and a Romance Erotica - both have its literary merits, I'm in no way down-talking Erotica here, I've even written a few that are unpublished yet - but a lot of retailers don't see a difference. It's gay sex, so it must be Erotica!
Okay, so my stories were doomed to hang out with the true Erotica titles. But hey! Farther down the page was a Romance category! I checked to see if there was a Gay sub-category there. They had Erotica sub-category! That's Romance Erotica, so maybe they have Gay under there...but they didn't. Of course, the male/female stories get their very own plethora of Romance sub-categories while the Gay & Lesbian get chucked under Erotica. Nothing new here. It's been this way ever since LGBT literature existed. Smashwords, I'm deeply disappointed.
So I thought, hey, what about all those sub-genres of LGBT fiction out there. Most of them are Romances (and a lot of them containing some level of Erotic content) with sub-categories of: Sci-Fi, Historical, Paranormal, Horror, Action & Suspense, Holiday, Fantasy, Humor, Mystery, not to mention all the hundreds and hundreds of Westerns (gay cowboys, anyone?). But was there a "Gay" under these categories? Of not!
So, a reader's option, when looking for Gay Lit, is to search through an impossibly long list of titles in the Gay & Lesbian - Gay (and no sub-cats like Historical, Sci-Fi, Horror, etc.), or Erotica - Gay Erotica (and I still insist that people who are looking for gay literature - erotic or not - do not go searching under Erotica to find them unless they know to look for them there, or unless EVERY category (Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi, etc.) has a Gay sub-category).
Yes, I'm probably being harsh writing only about Smashwords here. To their credit, they do have LGBT under Young Adult (not many do that). The reason I write about Smashwords specifically is because I always figured they were different, more open, more inclusive than other retailers. They're groundbreaking, they're iconic, they fight for writers. It breaks my heart to discover that, in the end, they're might just be like all the others when it comes to LGBT literature...
If there are any retailers reading this. Please, please reconsider your cataloging of LGBT titles. Most (If not all) of you are behind times. There's been an explosion of LGBT titles in the past years and as things are now, it is extremely difficult to search through all the thousands and thousands of LGBT titles to find, for example, the most recent Sci-Fi title. I know you each have your own way of cataloging your titles, and you have very limited sub-categories, but I recommend using one (or both) of these methods:
This one's more politically correct. Have a sub-genre of Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Bisexual under each of your main categories (or as a sub-sub genre if you have Paranormal under Romance - so Romance - Paranormal - Gay, Romance - Paranormal - Lesbian). Historical - Gay, Sci-Fi - Gay, Horror - Gay (yes, there are gay horror stories out there and they're damn good). Please be aware that most people looking for Lesbian literature are NOT looking for Gay (as in male/male). Please also be aware that there's a big difference between Erotica and Romance Erotica.
This one's easier for people to find what they're looking for - at least at first, while they're getting used to the changes of LGBT literature being included in mainstream categories. Have an LGBT main genre, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Bisexual under that (and again, people looking for Transgender are NOT looking for Lesbian - it's not the same thing even though we're fighting for rights under the same umbrella), and then sub-sub categories of romance, erotica, romance erotica (or erotic romance - whichever way you wish to call it), Historical, Sci-Fi, Western, Paranormal, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic etc. etc. So, LGBT - Gay - Historical, LGBT - Lesbian - Sci-Fi, LGBT - Transgender - Contemporary, etc.
Personally, I recommend you do both, so readers have it easier to find what they're looking for. That's the point after all, right? The reason I usually stick to LGBT specific sales sites is because it's easier to find what I'm looking for. I just don't have the time to scroll through titles and titles of mixed sub-genres (or titles that aren't even cataloged under LGBT - like Erotica when I'm looking for a Romance Erotica). Don't wait too long and don't ignore this. This is a market increasing at a spiraling rate and I can only see it exploding further with all the changes in the USA today and in the future. Do you really want to miss sales because your cataloging is outdated?
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