@Amazon and their Review Gatekeepers

It is so fucking frustrating as an indie author when people have been reviewing your book but Amazon is like naw fam, I don’t feel like posting this. 

This has been happening to me so often that fans (not just my writer friends, actual fans) have reached out annoyed that their review is still not listed on my book page. 

At this point, it isn’t even that Amazon is deleting them. Like, I haven’t even SEEN them. Amazon is legit just not posting them at all. What the fuck? 

These are people who actually purchased my book, read it, enjoyed it, and want to post a review. Why is Amazon doing this? 

It doesn’t make any sense. Like I’m not paying for reviews, I’m hardly even begging my friends to review it because I legit know they won’t. 

These are legitimate fans of my work like post their fucking reviews Amazon, you coward. 

I’m not appropriating gay culture, I AM gay culture.

In light of recent events I would like to set the record straight:

I just wanna say this because there seems to have been some confusion: I am not straight and I don’t write gay books because it’s “what sells”. 

I’m writing gay books because it’s what I wanted when I was first coming out in the middle of the deep South. There wasn’t much representation for me there and for most of my life, I felt like an outcast.

I don’t want today’s LGBT teens to feel the same way I did. 

I legit have no idea where people are getting the idea that I’m straight. Like wtf?? It says clearly in my Twitter/Tumblr bio that I’m not. 

Ignore the fact that I’m dating a guy. 

I have also dated women.

I shouldn’t even have to justify this, but here I am. 

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Let Me Educate Y’all About the Indie Writing Community

It is 2018 and I’m tired of y’all treating us out here like second-rate citizens. 

I have made a ton of amazing friends here that will last for a lifetime. So I’m here to set this record straight.

First thing’s first: What is an Indie Author? 

An indie author is someone who publishes their work independent of an agency or a publisher. 

The most common place for people to self-publish is Amazon, but there is also a whole slew of indie publishing houses that charge a fee to publish and promote your books. 

Why would someone self-publish? If they’re really good couldn’t they just land a book deal? 

Ahahaha. 

Oh, you sweet summer child. Your writing being good or even great has nothing to do with a book deal. Agents are looking for “what sells” (and so far I’ve learned it ain’t LGBT). 

Most agencies are thirsting after people with an established career like actors, YouTubers, social media influencers, or indie authors with a massive following because these people are a “safe bet” and easier to market. 

The publishing industry also has a really hard time changing or picking up anything “new” or “cutting edge” like you see a lot of in indie publishing because they may view as “too niche” or “too weird” to sell. 

I know this well because I myself am a marketer.

Why would someone choose indie publishing over traditional publishing? 

Lots of authors have different reasons. 

For me, I actually queried first. but  I kept getting rejected because people seem to believe that it is “unrealistic” to have more than one LGBT character in a story. Two if the character has to have a love interest. 

That didn’t sit well with me, considering I’m gay and most of my friends are gay. There are a lot of us out here and we tend to flock together. I mean come on, I live in San Francisco. 

And in a fictional world of my own creation, I feel like most people can be gay if I want them to be. It’s not like I never write straight characters, I do. But I prefer to write LGBT and POC where I can. A lot of my characters are multiracial. 

Also, if you ever wondered, querying takes a lot out of you. It’s like applying for a job where everyone is mean and says really mean shit to you that isn’t even true. I’ve been rejected so many times for bullshit reasons.

Are you a real author if you publish indie? 

UMMMMM. Yeah, man! As real as it gets. You wrote a book. You sold a book. Someone paid for something you wrote. Be proud

But don’t most indie authors suck? 

Ummmm NO! Who told you that??

Indie authors are just people trying to write the stories they want to tell without interference from a “””well-meaning””” big publishing house editor or book agent. 

That being said, I have read some truly awful indie books, but I’ve read way more great ones. 

So get off your butt and support indie authors. 

Especially if you wanna lay around and whine about not having representation for LGBT or POC people. 

You can find all that in the indie world, my dude. Indie authors are out here doing the most. And you’re really missing out. 

Asexuality Informational/Venting Post

After writing Marjorie Diaz, my second book, I’ve run into a lot of issues with Marjorie Diaz being ace. Here are some things I’ve learned and had people say to me post-publication:

1. Nobody knows what “ace” is.

If you use the term “ace” a lot of people are like “wtf is that??” In fact, most people (INCLUDING people in the LGBT space) don’t even know what “asexuality” is. Even in California where I live, in the gayest city in the United States, I’ve had to explain that shit so much. 

2. People don’t think asexuality is real

Once I explain what ace or asexual is to people, they usually try to tell me it “isn’t real”. Like, what? Yes, it is. It is very, very real and It is 100% okay not to like sex! 

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3. People were mad I didn’t have sex in my book

I’ve had a few people get PISSED at me for not having sex in Marjorie

Like. WHEN WAS I GONNA WRITE A SEX SCENE? I literally mention in CHAPTER 1 that Marjorie is ACE (I say asexual because in my focus groups 95% of people didn’t know what “ace” was). 

There was nowhere for me to put a sex scene. A few people suggested I write a scene with Marjorie’s roommate having sex instead, but the great thing about that is the whole book is from Marjorie’s perspective. 

It’s like, you write one sex scene in a fluffy novel about nymphs and everyone believes you can write ace characters. 

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4. “I don’t believe your character is actually ace”

Like 3, this one is really Marjorie centric. 

I’ve had several people tell me to my face while reading my book that they “don’t believe Marjorie is actually ace” and oh my God I can’t even begin to tell you how much this pisses me off. 

YES. MARJORIE IS ACTUALLY ACE! 100%. SHE IS L I T E R A L L Y ASEXUAL. There is no sex or even really kissing in the book because of this. While Marjorie doesn’t mind kissing, she and Patrick never get around to that part of the relationship.

There’s a reason in book 2, but it hasn’t been revealed yet. 

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5. Ace people can’t be romantic

This is literally not even true and idk where people are getting this. Ace and Aro are two different things. Though I do think some people include Aro on the ace spectrum, the two are not mutually exclusive. 

In fact, in Marjorie Diaz, a lot of the book is about the romance between Marjorie and her chosen love interest, Patrick. There’s no kissing on the lips, but there are kisses on the cheeks, cuddling, hand-holding, etc. There’s so much fluff it’ll rot your teeth.

Yet I was still railed for not having enough romance. There are different ways of being romantic outside of sex and making out. 

I mean there’s literally a part where Patrick carries Marjorie to the subway because she has a migraine. I’m sorry you straights don’t experience cute fluff like that.

I’m here, I’m queer, and I write gay literature

(YES IT RHYMES, SHUT UP, SHARON.)

I see a lot of posts on here where people complain about not having queer representation in literature. And most of the time, I’m like, “Same”, but I’ve also written a book about a trans female who falls in love with a nymph (whose entire culture is based on a trans identity) so. 

I’m not saying you guys, like, have to read it, but I’m not not saying that. 

Look, I wanna write more gay literature in the future. So it’d be nice if Bloom sold. Its got a sex scene in it, its got self-acceptance, its got other monsters, and a whole slew of other things.

(No vampires in this one, though. The Monster Love series is more about monsters that don’t get much love, so. I do have vampires in Marjorie Diaz, though).

I’ll keep plugging away at representation in the future. Especially for all my monster lover friends out there. There may also be unicorns in the future. *Wiggles fingers ominously*. And time travel. You never know. 

But expect more gay shit from me. And maybe even one single straight thing cause Nighthawks, the second novella in the Monster Love Series is pretty straight. 

BUT, the main character is POC, most of the characters are female, most of the characters are POC, and there’s archaeology involved. And also gay birds. 

So, like I said, stay tuned for more gay shit and monster porn.

theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenks.

YOU CAN FIND ALL MY BOOKS ON MY WEBSITE 🙂

So I wrote a book about Teratophilia

It’s sort of like paranormal romance, but it doesn’t have any vampires in it. I know everybody really likes vampires and stuff, but nymphs are cool too, right? 

Apparently not considering a straight, white male who wrote a book from a masculine viewpoint with all straight, white male characters told me my book was too “niche”.  I’m not bitter.

I never really thought of myself as the type of person to write short romance novellas, but I did write one. Shocking, right? With a username like wholesaleromance. 

Now, in the book, the romance isn’t the main part of the plot. It happens, but the plot is more about the main character, Holly, coming to terms with what she wants her life to be. The romance is short and a bit fast, but in the end, it helps. 

Holly ultimately determines her goals. She makes new friends, she discovers new things, and she finally, finally, gets up the courage to go off to college. 

I know this is really niche (that word again) or whatever because apparently, the only paranormal creatures people wanna read about are, like, Dragon shifters and vampires, but that’s kind of the point isn’t it? Where are my other monster lovers at? 

I’m tired of reading about vampires. I’m tired of reading about abnormally hot pale white dudes seducing women. It’s exhausting how heteronormative the writing world is. 

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So yeah, I’m a bit “out there” with writing lesbian characters and trans characters and ace characters and shit. I get that, but you have to understand that this is the kind of representation I wanted when I was growing up. 

I didn’t have a supportive family, or parents who gave a shit about me, or friends who thought being gay was “a-ok”. I grew up in the Bible Belt

I was severely mistreated by most people around me. All I had were books, and I never got to read lesbian romances that weren’t 100% tragic. There were some MLM books in my school library that were less tragic than the lesbian ones, but I liked girls. I didn’t like guys all that much. I wanted to have representation for people like me. I never found it, not until I was much older. 

I just want newer generations of lgbt teens to have something to look forward to.

So I write gays in magical worlds, gays as main characters, gays as normal fucking people instead of as masturbation fodder for straight people. 

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No tragedy, no anti-bullshit. Just normal, every day people falling in love. That’s all I ever wanted. I hope that you guys want it too. Cause I’mma keep writing for the people who are “niche” and under-represented. 

This INCLUDES POC characters. I despise that there isn’t enough representation of POC culture in the writing industry. Like, please stop writing boring white characters, thanks. It’s time for some friggin representation up in this bitch. 

I also write books with more women than men because I’m tired of all the male main characters or the male love interests of female main characters (but the love interest controls the whole story, so he’s basically the main character). Like, it’s exhausting. 

So support queer writers, POC writers, female writers, people who write mostly female characters, and so on, please. Especially now

You can read my blogs, books, and other rants here on my website that I made with my own two hands. 

I also have a new book coming out. It’s called Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society to be released late July. 

It features POC MAIN characters, ace characters, and, yes, vampires.

How to Review Books

Recently I published a tweet talking about how important it is to review the works you read. Every single book your reading deserves a review, whether it’s good, bad, or ugly. You owe it to the author to tell them what you thought. 

Another thing I get is “How do I review a book?” or “How do I make my review sound good?” 

And honestly, that isn’t something you should worry about. How did the book make you feel? What were things you personally liked or disliked about it?

Reviews are your way of telling the author that you enjoyed something they wrote or to criticize them constructively on things you didn’t like. Or even both at the same time. 

It is absolutely 100% okay to write a review that simply says “I really liked this story! I can’t wait to read more from you in the future!”

You don’t have to write a novel. All you have to do is give the author the praise and recognition they deserve.