Yes, I know. But hear me out. See when I set out to be an author I had a goal in mind. The goal was to write books that everyone could read. These books would just happen to have not so straight leads. The problem. In the back of my mind, I figured why can't I just write books that don't follow any preordained rules of what a gay writer should write or a black writer for that matter and still get them to follow me?
Even with this in mind I still join black groups and gay groups and black gay groups and share share share. I'm like I'm black your black I'm gay your gay. Clearly, that's enough right? Nope. It turns out that my books don't have enough afrocentricities or enough gay culture to qualify. And definitely not romancy and thug enough. Basically, I went looking for support in the very area that produced the type of novels I know I don't read. In the back of my mind, I convinced myself that I had gay male leads and multicultural male leads so obviously these two sects of society would read and promote my stuff. I was of course, wrong.
Still, my stubbornness kept me specifically hunting down LGBT review blogs in hopes one of them would take on my book. Begging really. My covers don't look anything like theirs. My blurbs in no way hint to anything homosexual and that was intentional. And then once I started getting into networking I actually struggled with adding tags alluding to gay for a while in the beginning because I knew in the back of my mind that that was not what my books were like. I had already given up on the black angle based on the response from readers but it just wasn't as easy to drop the Gay angle for some reason.
And the icing on the cake is that most of my fans are straight white people and mostly women. Even with alarming evidence that I had succeeded in doing what I wanted to do the pressures of society had me thinking I need to get other people like me (whether they write like me or not) to feed into my stuff. And no matter how many of the people I wanted to read my books did read my books, I still couldn't shake this subconscious need to get MY people to read it.
I am not the guy who tags gay on every picture, or black is beautiful, or see's racism and hate at every turn and living as a black gay individual it's almost like once I started to do all these things, and share all these memes I started to fall into the conditioned idea of this is what I must be because of how I was born and that translated over into my writing promotion and totally overrode the fact that I was accomplishing what I set out to do. Write books that were just good or bad books, that everyone could read. To just create hopefully writing that lived on its own merit without all the other stuff.
So here I am posting book promos and selfies and tagging them with all the gay stuff and I had to take a step back. Reevaluate what I set out to do and just do it. I don't write gay books anywhere near the type of M/M stuff being promoted nor if you go into the African American book section will you find covers or even plots similar to mine. I honestly don't know how I got so wrapped up in it I convinced myself that I'm black and gay therefore my books are black and gay by default when I know it's not entirely true. In fact, I have only written one book ever here, that has only one gay erotic scene in it without a straight scene to go with it. Usually, the straight erotica outweighs gay in my books. And this book right here is probably my most sensual book I've written and the only sex in it is a gay blowjob that I talk circles around without actually describing it. And in the following two of this series not yet published any sex explained, but still not shown (all three are totally safe for all ages) is predominantly straight regardless of the fact the lead characters are gay, okay they are bisexual--I admit they aren't strictly gay. I've only ever written two one hundred percent gay characters here, and again here. And in the former of these, the love interest is as Bi as Bi can get. So much so he teases the main character with straight anecdotes just for laughs because it grosses the other guy out.
I intentionally have no strictly black characters so far in all my books accept for this one. I like blended families. It gives me a chance to focus on more things besides their race. I also tend to make gayness a none issue. Don't focus on hate crimes or comming out in the way it would normally be adressed. In this book, the main characters friends don't care that he's gay, but they bullied him (before the unity) just because they were bullies and he was smaller than them. Gayness was irrelevent and when it became a problem it was a more deeply rooted issue than hate or closetness and it was extremely personal to the one character it affected.
Do I have books planned with race issues and homosexuality issues in the future... of course, I do. But I would be lying if I said I'm going to use the same problems that most people would when they do this. I'm going to do what I always do. Try to find some sort of psychological intrapersonal conflict and use it as a means to deal with or express said conflict. All my books at their core are about deep intrapersonal issues which is probably why some people love them, and other people hate them cause they're looking for something I never intended to put in them to begin with. But that's a topic for another blog.
All this ramble to say my marketing wasn't matching my goals. I'm just not this artist that I"m pretending to be and the proof, although small, is in the results. The people who read my books, who like my posts the most, who write me the most reviews are straight white people. And I also wonder why I let this need and desire to be accepted by what I would call my people, supercede what my goals actually where especially when the proof was there. But I wanted it. I mean I wanted it so bad it consumed me. But I'm okay now. I degayed everything when it comes to marketing myself. I'll post a meme that say's I like guys with tattoos, but I wont up the gayness in my sales pitches and random posts to hopefully garner some readers. Putting gay tags on myselfies just to get likes is also done with. I removed shitloads of them. I don't care about popularity. So I've dropped down to an average 20 likes or so. I"m okay with that.
So yeah. I will not now or ever claim to not be black or gay. However, I've landed at a point after seven books that I know who will read my books. Who likes them and who hates them. (haters read them too obviously this one, in particular, is a clear hit or miss.) and exactly what demographic they fit into. And I'm more than okay with that. Mission accomplished and I'm just going to be the gay chocolate me that I am without the extras. I don't try to fit in, I have no desire to fit in, and I'm going to ensure that from this point on I do the best to be the me I actually am and not this me that's been seeking approval from those who refuse to get on board my success train.
That ship has sailed and I'm not looking back.