This has been boiling up and up, gone from a simple ‘okay, that’s understandable’ to ‘wait, no; that’s not what your paperwork said’ to ‘alright, so how does it feel to be the main reason that media is so stagnant and lacking in diversity?!’
As my followers know (hell, I haven’t shut up about it for the past few years) I’m in the process of trying to find representation and, eventually, a publisher for my novel.
Of course, in this day and age, agents are flooded day in and day out by hopeful submissions and queries. However, there is one biting, glaring, bleeding fault that I have found with my communications with a vast majority of them.
Well, let’s give more background information: I’m a Nigerian-American woman who writes stories and pieces centering around LGBTQA individuals as well as the darker aspects of life that people like pushing underneath the rug for the sake of ‘not offending anyone’. As such, I have been focusing my queries towards agents who claim that they represent LGBTQA fiction (well, in reality they’ll just say ‘We represent Gay and Lesbian fiction… That counts for the whole spectrum, right?).
So, I look to these agents and agencies… And I find myself even further limited because more than half of them have things like ‘we represent all fiction… But don’t submit anything with any inkling of science fiction, religion, politics, or slice of life, or etc’.
So… You lot want new fiction that casts a human light on minorities… And brings attention to things and issues that aren’t usually talked about in most conventional best-sellers… But you actually don’t.
And that’s not even getting into the fiasco that will happen to you if you finally do manage to find an agent that seems like they’ll be a good match for your piece. So you fine-tune your work, make sure it’s of the highest caliber it can be. Then you go over that agent’s submission guidelines with a fine-tooth comb: you wouldn’t want to waste their time and send them something that they cab’t use, right?
And then you finally send in that e-mail. Of course, as I said before, agents are swamped with hundreds of queries a week. It is more than understandable if they send out quite a few rejections.
However. What I am learning to hate more than anything is if an agent, who insists upon wanting something new and fresh and is starving for clients… rejects something because it’s not more of the same that has been shoved down people’s throats ad nauseum.
“Oh look! Something fresh and new and actually well-written! This will be perfect for me to throw away in favor of the same angst-ridden tripe about someone contracting aids after not using protection and proceeding to bemoan their lives for the next 129 pages!’
‘Oh hey! A piece that actually paints a portrait of a grown black woman finding love in her childhood friend’s arms after suffering for years underneath a loveless marriage since she didn’t know that love between two women was an option? Fuck that! We can just continue to make people think that lesbianism is only regulated to teenager high school girls who are going ‘through a phase’ since that is every single book I represent that deals with lesbians!’
‘A book that shows that a gay man can be strong and smart but still feminine?! Wha-Huh-How? What can I do with this?!’
More agents that not reject anything new and force writers to have to go into the wastelands that are various ebook stores where more than 75% of the offerings are poorly written smut fictions made to try and earn a quick 4 bucks.
And the grandiose irony is that people like these agents will join the cries of ‘Oh, where’s the diversity? All I get are the same white, straight writers day in and day out!’
You want to know where they are? You keep turning them away when you don’t say what you mean or mean what you say!!