GRL – A Reader’s Perspective

There has been a lot said by all kinds of people on all kinds of forums regarding the latest GRL Newletter … I thought it might be “fun” to get the opinion of a reader. I would also love to see what your thoughts are, so please feel free to comment.

Just keep it nice and polite. Thanks.

“My little corner of the Internet just blew up. Gay Rom Lit has changed the rules for author registration!

Wailing and gnashing of teeth set to begin in 3, 2, 1…

The new rules are horrendous and create an elite author class! New authors are shut out! They’re blaming the readers for these heinous changes! Okay, so after the announcement from GRL that there is a lot of misinformation going around and they’ll publicly post the new rules things calmed down. The grand majority of the rumors I heard proved to either be completely false or very far off the mark.

Then shit got ugly. Yes, there really will be a small but select group of writers that previous attendees thought were β€œmust-haves” for the conference. This seems to be a major sticking point for several authors whose commentary on social media I regularly read.

According to the first GRL newsletter the conference is for the sake of the reader. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers for ever thinking to give me a conference in the first place. Authors write their thoughts for me to read, and I get a conference! I’m thankful, but I’m not foolish. I’m aware GRL is a marketing extravaganza to a captive market. I can see how access to readers can be a boon for a writer’s career. Consequently, I can see how threats to that access are at worst frightening and at best hurtful and disappointing. There are ways to handle fear and disappointment with charm and grace. I didn’t see much of that today.

I’m sorry, but yes, I have favorite authors I would prefer to see above others. I have lots of favorite things I prefer above other things. As a reader, I am telling people right now that I like the policy of advance registration for highly successful and popular authors. Does that mean there might be some people who won’t be able to attend? I’m sorry, but yes, there will be some people who do not get to attend the conference as an author. I would like to repeat they won’t be able to attend as an author. Nothing at all is stopping them from attending the conference as a reader.

I take one vacation a year. It’s to GRL. I’m not rolling in money, so I save most of the year to be able to go. Thankfully, I live in the US and it’s relatively cheap for me as compared to the numerous people who will fly internationally to attend GRL. Please, authors, keep that in perspective. People are flying across the globe to see you. Some authors have commented they’re so disgusted with the prospect of advance registration they just won’t attend GRL at all. Really? I want to be charitable. I understand feelings have been hurt. No one ever wants to learn they’re not the most popular, but this isn’t High School. Publishing is a business. To be successful GRL must follow good business practices to attract the readers. When I attend because I desperately want to see Author Awesomesauce whose book I lurve with all my wee stone heart I’ll be in the same room as Author Pretty-Good, whose book I read but can’t really remember the love interest’s name. If you’re pretty goodΒ there is a chance I’ll buy your next book when I see it on the display table. I remember pretty good even if I can’t remember all the names.

Given I spend a ludicrous amount of money buying books (My husband would shit bricks if he knew!) I don’t see how keeping yourself from me, your reader, is to your benefit. I also don’t see how publicly complaining, for hours on end, is to your benefit. I’m capable of reading the words you’re writing all over my corner of the Internet. I had empathy when it started. I really did, but it’s time to shut up now. You’re trying to sell me a book. If you’re pissed you may not be chosen as one of the select few channel that anger to write a book I’ll lurve with all my wee stone heart. If you’re pissed and you just want to complain on the Internet I’m going to remember your name and not buy your books. Disgust is a powerful negative motivator. Please use it wisely.”

I missed out last year, but am desperate to go to Atlanta this year. Todays conflict within “our” genre is saddening. I think what Ethan Day, Carol Lynne and their team have done so far is amazing. Was the release of the rules handled clumsily? Yeah, possibly. Probably. But with the possibility of author registrations being greater than reader spots surely something had to give.

Thanks, as always, Andrea for an enthusiastic post. I have known you for a few years now and have always valued your opinion xx

So, what do YOU think?