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This week Publishers Weekly — the industry standard trade pub — featured two articles about the state of LGBT literature and Lambda Literary Foundation’s E.D. Tony Valenzuela is featured.
In On the Front Lines: LGBT Publishing 2011, Dick Donohue lists a few upcoming LGBT-relevant titles for 2011 including highly-anticipated books like Paul Russell’s The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov (Cleis, Aug); Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch (Voice, Sept); and Bob Smith’s Remembrance of Things I Forgot (Univ. of Wisconsin, Sept).
On an exciting note, LLF board member Don Weise announces one of the debut books of his imprint Magnus Books, The Two Krishnas by Ghalib Shiraz-Dhalla (Sept). The novel “looks at the closet from the perspective of a married Indian businessman whose affair with a fellow immigrant forces him—and his wife—to confront a life of lies.”
A few excerpts:
Later, Raphael Kadushin, one of the editors behind University of Wisconsin’s award-winning LGBT series observes:
Too many publishers are only pitching gay-identified books to a gay market, things look even worse. Because there is the growing perception that gay literature isn’t even particularly crucial or interesting, even to a gay market, now that other media represent gay images and gay culture, and gay readership is shrinking.
Meanwhile literary agent, Holly Bemiss, makes a powerful point:
The publishing industry is also filled with gay editors and agents, but that doesn’t always translate to the page. The sole focus today (“the sky is falling,” in case you haven’t heard) is on sales, and publishers want to buy only books with massive audiences. There aren’t enough gay readers, they argue, so there just isn’t a market for gay books. Therefore, any book with LGBT content must be held to a higher standard: the story must be “universal.”
For me, the quote that strikes the most powerful chord comes from Tony Valenzuela, my boss: “We do this because we have to, because our stories still need to be told.” That sums it up beautifully.