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Wicked Pretty Update #6: The Canceling
@lisamantchev: Just got an email from Constable & Robinson... official word that WICKED PRETTY THINGS has been canceled.

(Recap: the absolute nutshell version.)

Earlier this morning, prior to that announcement, Jim C. Hines also made an offer to pay $100 for any of the WPT authors' anthology stories and post them on his blog, with donations/proceeds going to charity. He does raise the question, "Why did [editor Trisha] Telep immediately assume that a story in which two male characters were in love would be unacceptable?"

Enough people were accusing Telep of being a bigot that I figured people were already asking themselves that question. But actually... I may have gotten an answer to that earlier last week. Read more...Collapse )

@moirarogersbree: Thank you, #wickedprettythings authors, for making it a little less okay to blame bigotry on the bottom line.

ETA 4/16: I'm now hearing that all comments have been removed from the Publisher's Weekly piece. Since no additional reporting was done by PW itself, they were the only challenge to the assertions made in that post. Too bad, then, that I screencapped the comments on April 5th.

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Thank you for keeping us all updated about this.

RP - the new Twilight/crzy

I think we can now say that, along with Twilight, Running Press means never having to say you made it up....

Which is not to say there won't be fuckery of a similar nature in the future from any of these parties, but it's good to know things worked out this way now.

My question: Do anthologies with same sex pairs do the same sales-wise as those with strictly het? Is it a matter of 'everyone wants vampires right now, not space dramas' and not 'make the gays ashamed'? If so, they might have really awkwardly handled a touchy/hard situation. If not, so awful I can't express.

Given that the target demographic for YA romances (i.e. young female readers) is also the main demographic that is widely and devotedly and enthusiastically into gay slash fic (writing it, reading it, demanding it) right now... I cannot imagine that same sex romance would have driven down sales. Now, not saying that RP might not have thought that male same sex romance wouldn't sell as well, but if so, I suspect they'd have been profoundly misinformed about what "everyone wants right now".

Of course, there are considerations such as "will we be blacklisted from libraries in certain parts of the country". Even if the intended readership in some of the redder states would still gobble it up, their parents may raise a stink they found out about such content. Still, I suspect that the demand and often preference for gay male romance among many young female readers these days is such that it may even counterbalance the losses from such considerations.

I'm still waiting for the press release in which they issue a full apology to Jessica Verday. I could analyze and ponder about everything else and try to find my own solid opinion, but that press release is the one thing that still has me certain that at least on that count Running Press is full of it.

Ironically, I think that press release is what turned a lot of people against Running Press.

that wankathon PW story
What was this?

I think she's referring to the Publisher's Weekly editorial.

I've followed this entire saga with great interest, not just for the obvious reasons like what a hot mess it was, but for personal reasons - I write lesbian urban fantasy and Telep was my literary agent for a while. She took me on for a book involving heavy drug use, domestic violence, and a whole ton of foul language and was very enthusiastic about it. So I do find it credible that she may have got her hands slapped in the past over "extreme content."

I've never believed the situation is as simple as "Telep's a homophobe," although she really didn't help herself with her initial response. I doubt we'll ever really know, but it's fascinating to see more details being revealed as this rolls on.

Yeah, I'd heard that she'd done some agenting (in the past? not currently? Not sure). And I'm hearing some skepticism about whether what she said in private (outside pressure from the publisher) or what she said in public (all her own decision) is more true, but I felt like it needed to be noted either way. The thing is, it kind of seems to be a little bit of both. It's hard to figure out what's going on.

I love that very last tweet.

The fault, in this /particular/ instance, lies with Telep. What she /should/ have done was contact the Running Press and say "Hey, I have a story with [this], [that], and [that other thing]. I think it should pass, but it also a gay romance at the forefront instead of a straight romance. It is not explicit. Should I keep the story in, or ask it to be edited?"

That being said, if it is true that Running Press has denied due simply to gay characters before (though I recall someone stating that they've asked for LGBT characters before), then they must be held accountable. I don't know how to reconcile this with the authors/editors that aren't involved in this, though. :(

I hope Verday continues her career successfully, and I hope that everyone realizes that Running Press is trying to bully her.

I say this not as a gay guy, but as a human in general: it is sad when someone considers a chaste kiss (or the like) between two people of the same sex (particularly men, it seems) to be "sexually explicit". It's a dumb double-standard that's downright offensive.

If Telep actually said "extreme content" and "alternative sexuality" (which in many people's minds encompasses much more than homosexuality) and not specifically that she'd been called out for including a gay romance where a straight one was accepted, I already call it a fishy story, and a little too late to believe. I remember Verday saying something about being asked by Telep three times to change it, too.

Three is kind of a magic number, you know? Once, okay, it could've been just a mistake or an error in judgement. Two, if she was really worried about what RP thought she should have asked them before getting back to Verday. Three means she was either in editor-from-hell mode (not taking any guff from those writers, how dare they challenge her!) or was probably stuck on the idea of "gay romance =/= YA appropriate" from the get-go, regardless of who she was working for.

Or it seems that way to me. I mean, I haven't seen these correspondence myself, but I'd think if anyone who wasn't firm in her notion already that gay romance was automatically "not tame" they'd at least be willing to check. And anything else it might have been, even if it was just something like being too lazy to check back with RP, that falls on her shoulders anyway, if for no other reason than because she was presenting herself as a representative of Running Press.

...not that they're not guilty as well. They certainly are, because mentioning a suicide in conjunction with this mess would never, ever have been okay unless it was coming from a "we realize we need to be more receptive to gay authors and authors who write gay characters, for the sake of the readers and the youth that could gain confidence from it." Or, you know, something to that extent.

Sorry if I've failed to make sense somewhere. I am exhausted, but couldn't help but comment, as this whole thing makes me despair for my future as a writer (who would very much like to be able to write gay characters into her stories without having them shoved into a "not appropriate for straight eyes" type category). Not that I have much of a future anyway...

I still prefer "The Wicked Son/Bride / Meets the Wolf Man" style over "The -ning / In Space" but I guess that just goes with being a fan of the classics.

RE the comments disappearing from the PW piece: hrm. Someone's already probably pointed this out on the Twitters or the Facebooks or what-have-you, but there is now a new comment on the piece by someone I'm assuming is affiliated with the site, claiming that they're reworking the comment system but that they plan to restore the old comments. Which on the one hand is pretty convenient, but on the other hand I checked a few other pieces from the Soapbox section of the site, and none of them except the most recent have any reader comments at all.

Granted, that doesn't mean some of the comments to Navratil's article won't just go mysteriously missing...

Maybe I'm just cynical, but I find that awfully hard to believe. It sounds more like they're going, "Crap, you mean people noticed when we deleted all the comments? What do we do? Oh, let's tell them it's for technical reasons! Yeah, that'll do it!"

...and sadly, they'll probably get away with it with little fuss.

ETA - I feel this merits a BWAHAHAHAHAHA!