One of the other big topics of discussion last Saturday night when I was out with Trebor was the state of publishing. Lately, this seems to be the major topic whenever I sit down with other writers. At lunch with M. Chrisitian and Sage Vivant, we sighed over the state of the erotica publishing world. DL King, Lisabet Sarai, and a few other writers are involved in what has been (so far) a disheartening conversation about print, e-publishing, backlists and shelf space. Add to that all the recent small press closures, and you've got a lot of writers sitting around asking, "What am I going to do with this MS?"
The picture is even worse in GLBT than it is in erotica. On one hand, I'm watching Saints and Sinners GLBT Literary conference grow every year, on the other hand, the number of viable presses is shrinking. I expect a panel this coming year at Saints and Sinners to address this crossroads for GLBT publishing. Has it's time come and gone? Do queer writers still need GLBT presses, or do they have a shot at the big houses? And if you do sell to a big name publisher, is yours their token GLBT book? Do they help you reach a wider audience? Do they get you out of the GLBT ghetto at the back of the store and into the literature or genre shelves like all the hetero writers? Do you want to be in with the hetero writers?
So what's happening here? Are erotica and GLBT books stepping into the mainstream? Or are our audiences going into mainstream genres and leaving us behind? Who are the crossover writers? Where did they get their start? And perhaps most important for hopeful authors out there, will those same first opportunities be around for them?
I wish I had an answer.