publishing industry

The existence of bisexual people doesn’t require a damn content warning

So this afternoon a teen librarian friend alerted me this tweet from the exceptional Angie Manfredi of Fat Girl Reading:

The print is super duper tiny, so let me blow it up.  This is a review of the book Run by Kody Kepplinger from the prominent library review magazine VOYA* aka Voices of Youth Advocates :

Agnes is legally blind, and leads such a sheltered life that she cannot even take the bus home from school or attend parties. Bo Dickinson has a drug addicted mother, an absent father, and is rumored to be the town slut. Although opposites, they become good friends through their kindness and acceptance of each other. Bo’s cousin Colt is almost a brother to her; they have grown up together and are part of the family “you steer clear of because nothing good can come of getting mixed up with that bunch.” Agnes has a different problem; her parents hover over her and limit her activities so it is impossible for her to be a normal teenager, until she begins sneaking out to go places with Bo. When Bo hatches a plan to leave town to find her father, Agnes decides to go along, thinking she and Bo will live together. They steal a car from Agnes’s family and begin their road trip, along the way visiting Colt, with whom Agnes has a sexual encounter. When Agnes discovers that Bo intends to live with her father, they separate and she gets in touch with her parents, leaving Bo to a disappointing meeting with her father, and an eventual return to the foster care system. The story contains many references to Bo being bisexual and an abundance of bad language, so it is recommended for mature junior and senior high readers.–Rachel Axelrod. 304p. VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES, c2016.

I helpfully put in bold the part that gave me rage hives :D

Originally posted by aivosoluttautuja

This reviewer (Rachel Axelrod) and VOYA are saying the very existence of bisexual people is on par with swearing.  That the very existence of bisexuality can only be shown to junior and senior high schoolers. 

And this is where I need to disagree with Angie a little here because that isn’t a microagression.  That is full-on biphobia folks.  

And its a particular kind of biphobia that tags bisexual girls and women in a particularly pernicious way.  Mature is a coded word here.  Its hypersexualization – where being bisexual and being out and using the word ‘bisexual’ for bi women is considered on par with sex acts. And like I said on twitter this afternoon, you can draw a straight fucking line from this review to bisexual women being constantly sexually harassed and facing astronomically high rates of sexual violence and domestic abuse.  Bisexual women and girls are not seen as peoples, we are seen as machines that dispense sex.  I would expect a publication like VOYA to challenge that narrative, not reinforce it.  

Also, does VOYA think that bisexual teens under grade 11 just don’t exist?  Because TRUST ME they do.   And they deserve to read books that reflect their inner worlds just as much as straight teens.  I have NEVER seen a book review of any type claim that only juniors and seniors can know about the existence of straight people.   How many people at VOYA put their eyes on this review and NO ONE noticed that?

I spend a fair amount of my time on this blog complaining, critiquing, and analyzing books that refuse to use the word bisexual to describe their characters.  And while I haven’t read Run (though I put it on hold at my library today), all accounts are that the bisexual character Bo actually uses the word bisexual several times.  But instead of celebrating that as an important YA development, VOYA seems to think it needs a goddamn content warning.  

Originally posted by etudiant-en-ph2

Oh but just wait.  

It gets better.  

It gets so much better.  

You might be thinking that perhaps this book just had a lot of steamy bisexual sex scenes and this is just a case of poor wording.

NOPE

In this reviewers mind, the actual HAVING of heterosexual sex doesn’t make this book in appropriate for younger readers, but the very EXISTENCE of a bisexual character would.  You don’t need to warn against actual sex but you choose to slap a ‘here be monsters’ on the map if there are bisexuals?

There is nothing to that but base and blatant biphobia.  

Librarians and booksellers use magazines like VOYA because they can’t read every book.  Now we have VOYA telling entire swaths of professionals that this book (and by extension bisexual people) are somehow inherently inappropriate.  VOYA has a reputation among librarians as being progressive, less enmeshed with book publishers, and more focused on intellectual freedom than other review sources (PW, Kirkus, LJ, SLJ).  Their name is actually Voices of Youth Advocates.  We trust their reviews to advocate for youth.  

Well I’m sorry VOYA but you need to explain to me how promoting this kind of biphobia makes you a ‘youth advocate’.  Or how it helps you uphold the mission statement of your publication – which reads: “Young adults have rights to free and equal access to information in print, nonprint, and electronic resources, without infringement of their intellectual freedom due to age or other restrictions.”   How exactly does advocating an age restriction on a book solely because of the sexual orientation of a protagonist advance that right to free and equal access to information?

This also frustrates me to no end because we’ve all heard that mantra about how ‘diverse books don’t sell’.  WELL NO SHIT THEY DON’T SELL WHEN YOU REVIEW THEM LIKE THIS!  This is a textbook lesson in how to use base-level bigotry to bomb book sales.  I swear to god, the next person who tells me that books with bisexual characters who actually use the word bisexual ‘just don’t sell’ is gonna get nothing but a giant squid of anger.    

Right now, I’m calling on VOYA magazine and it’s Editor RoseMary Honnold to apologize to author Kody Keplinger and to the entire bisexual community.  This review is offensive and it needs to be retracted.  I’d also say that Rachel Axelrod needs some LGBTQ cultural competency training (with a particular emphasis on the B in there).  

This is #BiWeek, the week where bisexual community celebrates our history, culture, and art.  It would be a great time for VOYA to remove their foot from their mouth and apologize for this biphobic trainwreck.  

- Sarah 

*I know you’re really not supposed to post content such as entire reviews up on the internet from trade publications but if VOYA doesn’t like it, then fuck it, they can C&D us.

Originally posted by sammiisnotonfire

Anyone who reads primarily white male authors is contributing, quite directly, to the economic inequalities that pervade our culture…. Many book buyers believe, as I do, that the market itself is racist and sexist in all sorts of unseen ways. Choosing to buy and read books by women and people of color is one small way to address this.

(via LA Beat Contest: Win Tix to the YouBloom Music Conference! | The LA Beat)

“Want a free pair of tickets to the music conference at the YouBloom Festival? The conference takes place at The Ebell Club in Highland Park on Saturday November 15th, and the program includes masterclasses on the economics of DIY production, as well as discussion panels on topics like touring and busking, and music placement and publishing.

Speakers include Tom Sturges (former President of Chrysalis Music, Head of Creative for Universal Music publishing), producer/engineers Jan Fairchild and Adam Moseley, among many others…”

writers
  • write that sentence, that dialogue, that scene that terrifies you
  • don’t delete shit, just move it to another document
  • have a “bits and pieces” document for all the odds and ends you can’t fit anywhere else
  • think of the color of a person’s eyes, imagine something reflected in them, now write that scene
  • fiction doesn’t have to be 100% accurate, don’t research yourself to boredom
  • i’m being serious there’s a thing called suspension of disbelief and it’s magical (yes that’s me making a joke)
  • write something that makes you cry
  • write something that makes you laugh
  • write something you can’t explain to other people
  • write something you won’t remember until you read it the next day
  • don’t read about the publishing industry until you really, really need to. all it will do is make you unbelievably tired
  • listen to music from open world RPG video games, you’re welcome
  • always take a small journal or some paper and a pen with you
  • write by hand in a journal every once in a while
  • put the ending of your story in the beginning and see what happens
  • listen to input from other people. yes you’re the writer, but they’re the reader and they want to help you make something spectacular
  • said is not dead dude like wtf
  • the thesaurus is shiny and lovely and a great resource but don’t let words get in the way of your story telling, you don’t need to write prose as poetry for it to be beautiful
  • just finish the draft first, worry about perfection after
  • yes, you do have talent
  • yes, you can do this. you already are

5 Ways to Follow the Publishing Industry

For the month of March, my goal is to get better at keeping up with the publishing industry. Why? Well, first of all because if I want to be published I feel like I shouldn’t be stumbling blindly into a industry with out-of-date information and no pulse on what’s happening. Secondly, because Random House and Penguin had a huge merger 2013 and I didn’t find out until a few weeks ago. So… clearly I need to pay more attention.

I’ve compiled a list of five resources that I already am using (or need to start using) to follow publishing news. I’m going to try to get in the habit of checking these out twice a week.

(links and tips over here)

It's not THAT hard to get published... right? WRONG.
Hey! I have a question… Everyone tells me that it’s insanely hard to get a book published, something like 0.01% chance. But then someone else told me that it’s not THAT hard if you write well and have a good story to tell, since most of what is sent to agents and publishers is utter crap. Is this true?
External image
Anonymous

It’s not THAT hard to become an astronaut. All you have to do is be good at math and physics and have better physical stamina than most of NASA’s other applicants.

It’s not THAT hard to become President of the United States, either. All you have to do is have a (relatively) spotless record of public service and access to the millions of dollars in funding required to run a successful campaign against someone who’s just as good at politics as you are.

It’s also not THAT hard to become a neurosurgeon. All you have to do is go to a top medical school, be top of your class, and memorize the neurological pathways of the delicate and complex human brain backwards and forwards.

For that matter, it’s not THAT hard to become a world-famous actor. All you have to do is be conventionally attractive and good at faking emotions in front of a camera. 

In case I haven’t made my point clear yet, let me spell it out for you: when you put it that way, yeah, it’s really fairly simple to get published… in theory. In practice it’s pretty damn hard. 

One of my authors recently gave birth to healthy twins without anesthesia. She says getting her first book published was harder.

Writing a book is, either fortunately or unfortunately, one of the most common endeavors known to humankind. Everyone and their grandmother is writing a book. Your weird uncle Malachi is writing a book. So’s your bank teller and Mrs. Thompson next door. Some of them will even finish. Some of them are even good writers with good stories to tell, to use your criteria. And all of them are trying to get published. So it’s a game of numbers. This is not a big-fish-in-a-small-pond scenario. It’s a big-fish-in-a-galaxy-of-oceans-filled-with-other-equally-large-fish situation. 

The people who send me utter crap are an amusing and/or frustrating waste of time. But I spend far more time deliberating between pretty good writing. The amount of pretty good writing I receive is at least equal to the amount of utter literary vomit I receive. Of the good stuff, I need to weed out what isn’t right for my publishing house and list (ie. the people with good work who didn’t bother to research who they should’ve sent their query to), and then from there pare it down to what is absolutely blowing my mind all over my office walls at that very moment.

So your book may be very well written, and it might even be a good story in the telling. But as I hear it, NASA’s a pretty exclusive program, they won’t let just anyone do brain surgery, and I’ve seen some pretty fabulous performances off Broadway.

Do your homework. Be awesome. Practice your writing craft and research agents and editors. Don’t take your success for granted based on your innate talents and the value of the story you have to tell.

Standing out above the crap is only half the battle. Be prepared to compete with writers who are just as talented and on top of their game as you are. Do not expect an easy time just because you’re good. Being good isn’t good enough. You have to be better.

~QQ

P.S. Writing is hard.

You ever see somebody ruin their own life? : The VOYA saga continues

For those of you tuning in late, you probably need to read this post followed by this one to cover the lit-ass garbage fire that has happened in the last 36 hours here.  

Or alternately tldr; 

Originally posted by sintetizadorr

Since the last update, VOYA staff basically broke every rule of how to talk to people on the internet.  Honestly the comments section on facebook turned into that gif from Community where everything was on fire.  There were so many gems its hard to figure out which one to share, but here are a few:

Hmmm, who could they possibly be talking about??   

For the record, I’m betting its a strawman amalgamation of me and Tristina Wright and/or every other bisexual person who was meeeeean to them *eyeroll*

Meanwhile the condemnation for the actual review and the unprofessional response was coming in rapid fire from TONS of librarians and authors on twitter, and librarians on the ALA Think Tank.  

The uniform consensus: Wow VOYA was really not handling this well

So they deleted both apologies (and all the criticism) from their facebook and set their twitter to private.

Originally posted by teendotcom

At this point I just start singing the words to The Reynolds Pamphlet from Hamilton….. 

They blocked a bunch of YA authors, bloggers, and librarians on twitter, including Newbery Award winner Shannon Hale(!!) who basically wasn’t even involved in this.  

So now I’m just baffled.  I have no idea whats going on now or where VOYA is going.  Nothing could happen tomorrow or they could continue to set their magazine on fire and pee on the ashes.  Who knows!

I wonder if deleting the apology means they won’t follow through with pulling the review?  Honestly I don’t know what’s going on here.  

I continue to call for a real and permanent apology though, for both the review and for their staff response.  

-Sarah 

Here’s a list of publishing industry terms that insiders use to describe various styles of creative writing. Soon you’ll be talking about books, short stories, essays, and poems in the same way that sommeliers speak about fine wines!

While not everyone uses this jargon, and some of the lingo has multiple meanings, these words and phrases can help you describe the characteristics of a manuscript or book. If you’ve heard these words in a different context—or if you can add your own words to this list of descriptions—please leave a note in our comments section.

It frustrates me that publishers are treating e-books like print-books.

It frustrates me that you don’t actually buy the e-book, but instead the license to own one.

It frustrates me that they expect people to buy e-books at ridiculous prices even though people can’t lend most of them, can’t return the book if you don’t like it, or sell it, or donate it.

It frustrates me how technophobic the industry is and how far behind with times.

It frustrates me that I actually have to wait to borrow an e-book at the library if someone already has it checked out. There shouldn’t be a limit, it’s an electronic file for god’s sake!

It frustrates me that only the most popular books are readily available to be borrowed as e-books, amongst otherwise pitiful collections.

It frustrates me that they don’t trust their readers.

It frustrates me that they pit authors against their readers.

It frustrates me that a lot of authors are against e-books because they see as a threat to print.

It frustrates me that many readers with no means are forced to rely on piracy because they cannot afford to read their favorite authors otherwise.

It frustrates me that people think that piracy is the answer, instead of an overhaul of the system.

caroclarke.com
I am your editor: submitting your novel
by Caro Clarke
By This website was designed and built by Caro Clarke

I have been in publishing for over ten years, mostly as an editor. I am the person who accepts or rejects your manuscript. Here is how I make my decisions.

I look at the envelopes I am opening as I work my way down the slush pile. Sloppy presentation is not a good sign. Neat, clearly labeled parcels give me hope. I haven’t even seen what’s inside, and already I’m making judgements.

Out come the manuscripts. I check each one for a self-addressed return envelope with sufficient postage attached or with enough international postal reply coupons (if it comes from overseas). Is the SASE big enough to hold the whole MS? Or is there a letter-size SASE for my reply? Good in both cases. I keep this submission on my desk. No SASE? I put the MS to one side. Maybe I’ll read it. Probably I won’t. I’ve had writers who’ve said: ‘You won’t find an SASE here because you won’t be rejecting this novel.’ Yes, I will. He just won’t be seeing his MS again, because I won’t be paying to mail it back. I also say goodbye to submissions without return addresses and submissions from overseas with their local postage attached. If the writer makes it too difficult or costly for me to contact him, believe me, I won’t. Why would I give him more consideration than he has given me, an overworked editor? He’s not that special. I am not that into him.

The submissions with proper SASEs are sorted again. Most rejections happen right then. Why do I reject them?

Read More →

Playing Bisexual Book Detective

So here at bisexual-books, we frequently talk about playing “bisexual book detective.”  What does that mean?  It means the strange and frustrationg process by which we attempt to find fiction books with bisexual characters, content, or themes.  Since so few books actually use the b-word when describing their bisexual protagonists, we end up reading the jacket copy for clues as we try to guess whether this “transgressive cutting-edge exploration of the ambiguity of love and sexual identity” is really just about a bi character.

 In many ways it’s like searching for old lesbian pulp novels. In the 1950’s and 60’s, the L-word was rarely used so readers had to look for certain key-words and euphemisms. “Twilight girls” was a good one. “Strange” or “Odd” women. “Shadow worlds.” If you saw a cover advertising the “Shadow world of twilight love and strange women,” you knew you had yourself a lesbian pulp! You can see some good examples here or on the wallpaper of fuckyeahlesbianliterature.

So just like old post-WWII lesbian pulps, modern novels with bisexual characters rarely just come out and use the dreaded b-word on the cover (or as we frequently notice, use the word anywhere at all). So as a public service, here are a few of the phrases we look for when we play bisexual book detective:

  • “ambiguity”
  • “curiosity”
  • “confused sexuality”
  • “fluid sexuality”
  • really if it says anything int he first sentence about a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife and then a “surprising attraction” to someone later in the jacket description 
  • “cutting edge”
  •  “sexually transgressive”
  • “a novel of desire”
  • an “impossible choice” between two people who are conspicuously not gendered in their description
  • “sexual adventure”

There are two things we want to note about this list: 
First, notice how many of these things are variations on bisexual stereotypes.

Second, notice how they make our orientation all about SEX.  It is dehumanizing.  Bisexuality is not an identity, but a sex act. 

It makes us wince and rub our temples. 

- Ellie and Sarah 

6 Common Mistakes That Can Cost Writers A Literary Agency Contract

You’re fishing for a literary agent, casting query after query out into the world, and hoping for a nibble. And then—yes! An agent is interested, curious, inquiring. You want to reel the agent in, but you must move carefully—if you pull the line too slowly or too quickly, your prize catch will instead be the “one that got away.”

When you look at the publishing industry: Where are all the black editors? And what’s the next generation of Black editorial talent that not only has the editorial skills but the broad cultural sensitivity to champion books by diverse authors. So that we don’t get the variation on the same story, be it from a White writer or from a Black writer. How’s that pipeline going? ‘Cause that’s what we don’t talk about, that executive pipeline.” –Rob Fields

superheronation.com
Eight Facts About Writing That Surprise Prospective Novelists
by B. McKenzie

1. Even if you get published, you will get paid much, much less than you can imagine. A 75,000 word manuscript takes 2000+ hours and typically sells for around $5000. That’s not even closeto minimum wage, particularly when you consider the work you put in after getting published. If you plan on eating food more expensive than Kibbles and Bits, get a day job.

2. Most novelists don’t get their first novels published. According to a Tobias Buckell survey, only 35% of published authors broke out with their first novel.  This shouldn’t be too surprising–look at what you were writing 2-3 years ago. You’ve gotten a lot better, right? You’ll probably feel the same way about what you’re writing now in 2-3 years. It may take a novel manuscript or two to develop professional-grade writing skills.  (Keep practicing and you’ll get there!)

Read More →

VOYA Apologizes (poorly): the saga continues....

Again for those joining late, here is part 1, part 2, and part 3.  Got that?  Good, now on to the latest.  

So VOYA apologized.  Again.  And it’s…. frankly a mixed bag full of mixed bags.  I’m going to copy and paste the entire thing over here for readability rather than do screenshots (though you bet your ass I have screenshots and given their track record of deleting, I encourage others to screenshot away as well).  

So let’s gear up gang.  Cuz this thing is long and full of whining.  

Originally posted by youhadmeathelloboys

From the VOYA Magazine facebook:

An Open Apology

Two separate but inextricably linked events unfolded and exploded yesterday on Facebook and Twitter regarding a review published by VOYA magazine more than six months ago. The review was offensive, and VOYA’s response to the criticism was even more offensive. This is an honest, sincere apology for both the offensive and insensitive review and our response to the rightful criticism of it.

There were two responses initially posted by VOYA in response to Tristina’s email yesterday which was the first contact we had from concerned readers. Both responses to her email—the personal email responding to her, and the subsequent apology on Facebook—were insensitive and knee-jerk reactions which should not have been made. Period. No excuses. The responses were wrong, insensitive, and unprofessional. There also was an obvious misunderstanding of the word “genderqueer”—which could have been googled before responding to get a definition, since it is not a common word in professional correspondence and particularly confusing to someone who doesn’t know its definition when it refers to a child.

The angry posts and tweets after these initial VOYA responses are completely understandable. People felt dismissed and unheard, and questioned VOYA’s understanding and concern about their complaints.

To those who are open to hearing the apology for those responses, here it is: They were uncalled for, unsympathetic, unprofessional, and even extremely uncharacteristic of the author. They insulted Tristina and inflamed people who were expecting and hoping to be heard and accepted. VOYA Magazine takes full responsibility for the posting of those responses and sends our sincerest apology for the words that were said. Yes, we know that they were unacceptable, and there is no excuse we can provide and no retraction we can make to undo the damage they caused people. What we can do is say that we have heard your anger, your pain, and your outrage at our choices. And, we recognize that those feelings are valid and deserved.

The exchange above arose from criticism of a review published by VOYA in March, 2016, of Run by Kody Keplinger. There was an inadvertent but egregious mistake in the last line of the review. The reviews editor admitted to the mistake, and apologized for it. The editing was careless and it was completely unintentional but that does not excuse it. The mention of bisexuality should not have been tied to the age level recommendations.

There was not any “warning” or “caution” and the age level suggested for this title was not out of keeping with reality. Every review in VOYA Magazine—and in many, if not most other review venues —is given an age rating and a recommendation as to which readers would best appreciate the content of the book. In this case, VOYA Magazine’s reviewer actually gave Run one of the lowest and broadest age ratings of published reviews, junior to senior high school, or 12 – 18, generally. The book’s publisher lists the book for readers in 9th through 11th grades, or ages 14-18. The word mature was used to indicate that readers who had reached a certain level of experience would be best suited to handle the title’s sex and adult language. While the heterosexual interactions were mentioned in the review as well, they were not explicitly given as the reason for the maturity recommendation. This was a stupid editing mistake that caused much controversy and pain. It was unprofessional and sloppy. But it was a mistake—it was not intentional. Once the mistake was shown to be hurtful and insulting to bisexual readers and others, the reviews editor realized the enormity of the error and apologized, and removed the review from online access.

It is curious that the review in question was printed, published, made available online, and sent to the publisher and (presumably) the author (having read her tweets yesterday) in March, 2016, and no one—not one single person—sent an email or a tweet or put up a post on VOYA’s Facebook page until yesterday, the 22nd of September. Not one. Not a single complaint or comment about the review that was public since March.

While we admit our errors and recognize the hurt we caused, and apologize for it, the more general criticisms of VOYA and its staff cannot stand without defense response. Since its founding, VOYA has championed the writing and publication of the most diverse range possible of YA literature. The magazine has advocated and continues to advocate for not only a diverse body of literature to reflect the diverse population of our readers, their patrons, and society, at large, but also for the ready availability and accessibility of that material by “young adults,” primarily teens but with growing attention to tweens, pushing the age boundaries to reflect reality. VOYA has championed intellectual freedom for some forty years and we are proud of our efforts supporting authors and books challenged because of their content or nature of their content. In its articles and reviews, VOYA celebrates diversity and inclusivity, recognizing and valuing all ethnicities, religions, sexualities, and other attributes with which persons identify. The staff of VOYA is not bigoted and not phobic. You would be hard pressed to find a more open group of persons working in the library, book, or publishing worlds, which is one of the reasons they work at VOYA magazine.

We will be more careful in the future when editing our book reviews, and we certainly will listen to our readers’ concerns and treat them with the respect they deserve. We will move forward with VOYA’s mission to advocate for all teens and help those who work with teen readers reach further, understand more, and get the right book into the hands of just exactly the right reader at the right moment.

Now lets all take a moment to process that

Originally posted by dogiplier

You know, if they had just left the first five paragraphs, it probably would have been a fine apology.  There is a lot in that first paragraph that is REALLY REALLY good.   

But oh no.  They go on.  

As a group comprised entirely of editors, someone should have said ‘hmm I think we need to kill our darlings here and remove the parts of this that mean the most to US personally but don’t really serve the larger purpose of the work’.  

It starts to slide downhill with:

 “There also was an obvious misunderstanding of the word “genderqueer”—which could have been googled before responding to get a definition, since it is not a common word in professional correspondence and particularly confusing to someone who doesn’t know its definition when it refers to a child.”  

I feel like that is still someone (I’d bet a quarter on RoseMary Ludt) trying to evade responsibility via ‘confusion’ but if that would have been the only messed up thing, I think it probably would have been fine.

Instead by the end it turns into exactly the kind of dumpster fire that they trying to apologize for.  There is a lot to unpack here, so I’m going to break out just a few of the worst parts:

It is curious that the review in question was printed, published, made available online, and sent to the publisher and (presumably) the author (having read her tweets yesterday) in March, 2016, and no one—not one single person—sent an email or a tweet or put up a post on VOYA’s Facebook page until yesterday, the 22nd of September. Not one. Not a single complaint or comment about the review that was public since March.

Plenty of people on facebook (assuming VOYA hasn’t deleted their comments) have explained why an author with very little power in this situation and a lot to lose might not object to this review when it came out.  Assuming VOYA doesn’t delete this apology too people can read those reasons there.  They are all good and valid and probably true.  Kody Keplinger did say at one point that she was scared to speak out about it.  

But I feel like this entire paragraph is dancing around something from Tristina Wright’s first email that I want to move from subtext to text: I resoundly reject the implication that the timing of this was some kind of Bi Week stunt.  

Speaking not only as a book blogger but as a bisexual activist, this incident was not a feather in anyone’s cap for Bi Visibility Week.  Months of work goes on behind the scenes to gear up for Bi Week from activists all around the world.  I need VOYA to understand that they were the turd in the punchbowl this week.

I didn’t want to be fielding IMs and emails from bi activists for the last 48 hours - activists that by the way were on planes to DC for the White House event on Monday, prepping for their own local celebrations, and getting ready for the #bistories and GLAAD events.  

You took up my people’s valuable time during the busiest week of the year.  You took up *my* time on the busiest week of the year.  You know what didn’t get done around here at Bisexual Books for Bi Week, VOYA?  An essay about bisexuality and fat characters in Wonder Woman Earth One. A review of an LGBT athletes book that I’d hoped to have ready today because I wanted to highlight the bi erasure.  A half-dozen other things that never got out of the idea phase because I’ve been dealing with this or recovering from this since Wednesday.  I would much rather have been doing these things for my community instead of what I was doing, which was dealing with this VOYA garbage fire.  

Especially since bi community was also dealing with the Out Magazine Milo Yiannopoulos debacle and the firing of Trish Bendix from AfterEllen.  For those not in bi activist circles, the last 3 days have been a shitstorm and VOYA was probably the smallest of the three controversies that have rocked us in the last 72 hours.  I wasn’t there for my community on those two vital issues because I had to deal with THIS.  

Angie Manfriedi was the person who found that review on Wednesday.  I don’t know what she was doing when she came across it.  I don’t know if she even knew it was Bi Week.  I don’t believe she is bisexual.  (ANGIE CORRECT ME HERE IF I AM WRONG HERE!)  I can tell you I didn’t know that Run had a bisexual character in it until Wednesday and this is my life’s work and passion.  People are busy.  We got shit to do man.  No one catches everything.  We have real lives that interfere with our VOYA reading.  

Bad timing is irrelevant.  The review was wrong when VOYA published it in March, it was wrong when Angie discovered it on Wed, and it would still have been wrong if we didn’t find it for thirty fucking years.  I can’t help but compare this response and the subtextual accusations to this:

The fact that NO other librarian found this review and raised a red flag tells me that 1) biphobia and the hypersexualization of bisexual women and girls is so prevalent that frankly no one noticed and 2) that we still have a LOT of work to do on raising the specter of bi issues in library and literary communities.  

I also hear a dogwhistle in this entire paragraph that we’re only doing this for attention.  Like bisexuals, particularly bisexual women and girls, don’t hear that enough.   VOYA, I believe I speak for the entire bisexual community when I say that no one wanted this attention.  We would much rather have celebrated Bi Week without you.  

While we admit our errors and recognize the hurt we caused, and apologize for it, the more general criticisms of VOYA and its staff cannot stand without defense response.

Originally posted by mtvex

Oh no, you should let them stand.  You need to let them stand while you sit down and listen.  NOT DOING THAT WAS HOW YOU GOT INTO THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE.  Stop talking.  Stop shooting yourself in the foot.  

The staff of VOYA is not bigoted and not phobic.

That is not your call to make.  It isn’t.  I’m sorry that is clearly a bitter pill for them to swallow, but the VOYA editorial staff need to learn to find some way to swallow it.  They need to find some way to make a place for inside themselves for the knowledge that they didn’t just insult people or make an editing mistake, but they let down the core values of their own magazine and possibly their own selves

No one wants to see themselves as a bigot and a phobe, but they behaved in such a way like they were bigots and phobes.  Insisting that they are not these things is wasted keystrokes.  It’s only the time and work that will change anyone’s mind about VOYA.  It’s hard work.  But in the end, that’s all that is going to matter.  

Be better VOYA.  Stop trying to gaslight us into believing you’re already better, or you intended to be better, or you’re really not that bad.  Talk to the folks at BiNet USA about bisexual cultural competency training.  They’ve been doing that training for book publishers and LGBTQ orgs and corporations… really anyone who will listen and accept that they have something to learn.  

Take concrete steps.  

Be. Better.  

- Sarah 

PS:  And for gods sake, unblock all those authors from your twitter feed.  That’s just petty.  

Originally posted by livefastdielitt

Get Ready! 5 Steps To Take Now—Before The Autumn Publishing Rush

Although most people in the publishing industry are working hard and reading submissions year-round, September and October tend to generate a special kind of enthusiasm and excitement. And while summertime submissions have certain advantages, autumn has a unique “get back to business” kind of energy. Literary journals associated with colleges and universities open their doors to new submissions when the fall semester begins. Those agents returning from vacation are focused on finding the next big thing.