Own Voices, Diverse Books, and Little Ol’ Me
I mentioned Tuesday I would talk about the newest scandal to rock the M/M world: racism and misconduct of a former editor at Riptide Publishing. The editor has been fired, but many feel it’s not enough. Several authors have pulled their books from the publisher. Many feel this is the final straw in systematic racism and publisher/author employer/employee misconduct.
Riptide is one of the only publishers out there for M/M Fantasy. I wrote an epic fantasy series. It’s my goal to make a name for myself in contemporary romance so I can come back to this series and convince a publisher to take a chance on fantasy, which does not always sell. Biding my time has saved me from two failed publishers already. And now this.
If you’re not caught up in the scandal, or don’t know what all the fuss is about, Riptide was silencing Own Voices (LGBTQ+ people of color, diverse ethnicities, and diverse experiences/backgrounds) while marketing themselves as supporters of Own Voices and diverse literature. The editor in question was a friend of the owners, which is why many authors feel getting rid of one person isn’t going to change the culture.
It’s hard to break contracts and walk away from a publishing commitment. Some people don’t have the money to buy out their contracts. Others find the alternative of self-publishing too daunting. Not only that, they’d need new cover art and new marketing strategies, something most authors don’t want to tackle on their own.
If you’re one of the authors wanting to leave and not knowing where to go, Mischief Corner Books is offering to assist any published authors in the mass exodus from Riptide. I’ve met Mischief Corner author Angel Martinez in person, and she has wonderful things to say about them. (I’m not yet worthy, my friend. I hope to be ready soon.)
We need diverse books. That starts with publishers choosing diverse books and diverse authors. Own Voices are so important right now, and we can’t turn them away. We also need sensitivity readers to help authors make better word choices before they screw up. We white people are so privileged we don’t even see the lense sometimes, let alone know which way to turn it to better focus on our shortcomings.
So why do I write this genre if my own voice is not one of diversity? I’m not in this for the money. I’m not in it for a fan club. I write because it’s the only way to appease the voices in my head. My characters want to be heard. They want to wave their rainbow flags and march beside other characters from other books. Love is love is love, Lin-Manuel Miranda said.
You don’t have to be gay to make the world a better place. You just have to convince minorities from all walks of life: They make the world a better place. I write to convince the downtrodden they deserve to be here, and they deserve better. I’m not worthy, but I try.