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Published June 30, 2023 by swankivy

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As a queer person who lands on the rainbow spectrum in one of the non-gay stripes, I may have both an atypical number of queer people in my social circle and a less normative understanding of whose lifestyles are relatable. Gay people’s lives are more relevant to mine than straight people’s in many ways, and it seems pretty natural for me to just choose to make the story about a gay person if there’s no reason I have to make it about a straight person. My defaults aren’t what mainstream society expects them to be.

When people question “but why are they gay tho,” I have to ask “why do you need a reason for them to be gay?” and also “why do you think ‘gay’ is not a neutral choice but ‘straight’ is?” Frustrations over queer people’s inclusion “where it doesn’t need to be” translates easily in my head to “there are two sexual orientations: straight and ‘political.'”

Not For You

Published April 30, 2023 by swankivy

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A bit of meta for y’all today.

Maybe–just maybe–not everything everyone makes is tailored to your exact experience.

It’s cool if some of these do not resonate with you at all. It’s not meant to appeal to every writer, nor is it implying that you’re not really a writer if you don’t find these relatable.

It’s just some stuff that has gone through at least one writer’s head. And it is definitely often exaggerated. I assure you I have never put someone in a trash can or rolled on the ground in a computer lab. I have, however, climbed on a refrigerator to get a character’s point of view.

Happy For You

Published February 28, 2023 by swankivy

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Sometimes it is hard to have a parallel struggle with someone else and watch them shoot past you when you used to be, I don’t know, peers. But even if I wish my success had been similar to someone I was on even ground with once upon a time, I can’t seem to spin it into proper jealousy. I’m glad they did so well and they deserved to. (A lot of people deserve to who never will be at the right place at the right time for it to happen, and that’s very frustrating, but all they–and we–can do is persevere.) I love seeing ridiculously good things happen to people I know, so close to home, and knowing that’s out there–that’s real–it’s not a one-in-a-million occurrence or a thing that only happens on TV. Whether it does or could ever happen for me isn’t really related to how I feel about them. (Though I’ll be honest, it did sting a little when I saw the deal announcement from the very editor who had stalled for so long on answering my agent on MY trilogy. She ultimately rejected it. However, that does not mean it in any way turned into resentment for my author friend or toward that editor.) And though I haven’t become a household name for my writing (yet??), I do think it’s pretty special that I’ve been able to do some things tons of authors dream of doing–getting signed to an agent (I’ve done it successfully twice!), getting a book deal, winning some awards, and selling short fiction and other short pieces to paying markets. I’d love to go bigger and better, but I’m pretty happy with how well I’ve done too!

Worth the Effort

Published January 31, 2023 by swankivy

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It’s #140 so you get another long one!

And before anyone tries to eat me, I’m sure some people can cherry-pick times where cold-e-mailing someone who’s expressed no interest in reviewing for you has resulted in a sale or a review. As for me, I specifically state “do not contact me to ask me to review your book, even if it’s free” in my Amazon profile because I hate it so much. You at least want to avoid spamming people who have tried to opt out or whose information is gathered from places that explicitly forbid what you’re doing. For instance, sometimes you see authors commenting on Goodreads reviews of similar books trying to get readers to read theirs, and it’s very much against their policy! Don’t do this!

The secret lies in sharing your work with people who love to be excited about books. People who are there because they want to be. People who have asked for work like yours, or are happy to review it, or will be paid (by you) for their time. It’s very common for unprofessional products to be pushed through unprofessional tactics as well, so if you don’t want possibly interested people to look at your book and think it looks cheap or low quality, GET PROFESSIONALS (or at least other book people) INVOLVED IN VETTING YOUR STUFF. If your book is so important that you’re trying this hard to get it out there, it deserves the best resources you can find!