1. Commandante Lemming

    Commandante Lemming Contributor Contributor

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    Ways to get answers to spnsitive publishing questions without looking like an idiot on social media?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Commandante Lemming, May 26, 2018.

    Hey everyone - fun question/can of worms. (And apooigiap for wall of text.)

    Lately my own internal imposter syndrome has learned to talk publishing industry lingo and has been repeatedly reminding me that, as a white male author writing mostly-female POV characters of multiple ethnic backgrounds, I'm sitting on a publishing industry minefield (given the current state of the some very important debates in society). Hence, that little voice in my head has started telling me that I'm radioactive to the publishing industry (especially given my history center-right political work, although I should point out that I've been vocally anti-Trump) and that I should quit writing...which has pretty much shut down my editing output.

    Don't worry, I'm not going to quit writing.

    But I can't take people's advice to shift to strictly white male protagonists to avoid criticism because I SUCK at writing male characters with the level if depth I want (that and I fail to see how telling white male writers to keep writing only white men is a good thing, but that's a whole other debate.) I'm working on it, but I'm not there on the whole improving my male characters thing. Meanwhile my brain keeps writing Washington Post think pieces slamming imaginary future publishers for signing me, not because of anything in the book, but because it's just not acceptable right now for men to be writing inside women's heads (especially not men who've worked in center-right politics and are religious.)

    So, all that said, I'd like to try to find someone inside the industry to seek advice from - and either get a pass to keep writing or confirm that I'm radioactive as a person regardless of what I write. NOT looking for people to agree with me or tell me it's going to be all right, I just know it's probably a bad idea to post any of this on the writing/publishing social media forums I'm a member of because I don't want to start fights, and frankly my in-person writing group is also having fights about whether it's ever moral for a straight white man to write any other identity given their position at the top of the Western Societal power-pyramid (usually not even about my stuff) and I don't want more of that. And I'm really worried that even asking this question using my real name could get me labelled as all sort of things without getting an answer (or worse, draw "moral support" from people I have no interest in being associated with and really make it hard to interact with the industry.)

    So any thoughts on who to talk to about what the industry is or isn't willing to accept from male writers given the very rapidly evolving debate on gender?

    And yeah, sorry for opening the worm can.
     
  2. Commandante Lemming

    Commandante Lemming Contributor Contributor

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    Also I can't spell "sensitive" - wow.
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I wouldn't worry about it too much (you could always use a gender-neutral pseudonym if necessary) but if you want reassurance, could you go to a conference or something and speak to insiders in person? Or have you tried to make contacts on Twitter? A lot of publishing types are active, and it's a good place for casual interactions. You wouldn't have to use your own name, if you want anonymity. You could also try Reddit's AMAs... I don't know if there's one for publishers or agents, but I wouldn't be surprised.
     
  4. Commandante Lemming

    Commandante Lemming Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks and I might do that. I usually do conferences and such and gotten good interest - just haven't done one in the last year since, well, lots of things that needed to blow up in society blew up (which on the one hand allows me to give a big fat "I told you so" to everyone who thought my completed WIP was overblowing workplace toxicity the TV news industry, but on the other hand it's now a little TOO timely.) And there's been enough of a shift in attitudes in in my writing group and the Twitter writing community that I'm wondering how broad the shift is in the industry itself. So yeah, definitely time to get my writing conference game back on - the one I usually go to got cancelled this year.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Are you any good? Because if you are and, maybe, how good you are, will be far more important than anything else. Authors writing from the opposite gender is far from anything new. I will say, though, the publishing industry tends to lean more towards the left.
     
  6. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    yeah the people giving you that advice are idiots ... mostly the pressure is the other way, to write diverse characters not all straight white men.... just write what you want to write. If it bothers you you could use a female pen name, but on the whole I don't think readers care

    I must admit I've not noticed that shift in the twitter writers community , but I guess its a big space and people differ
     

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