I've been really into The Lesbrary, which has reviews of books that are lady queer, lesbian, etc. I'm reading a lot of ebooks and fiction that I usually don't make time for. Instead of binge watching a show, I'm binge reading. There are more lesbians in books, so that's an advantage. I asked if I could review for them and I think I might get to!
One thing I've been looking at as I read and read and read is the publisher of different books and stories. So many of the (kinky, gay lady) ebooks are self-published now, which is amazing to me. Self-publishing was vanity publishing just a few years ago--people did not self-publish and actually have the book out in the world, or reviewed, let alone make any money from it.
In a recent comments section interview (is that what that's called?) on Jezebel, Jennifer Weiner answered some author questions. One thing she said was that if you self-publish, hire an actual copy editor. Today I was reading some self-published lesbian fiction on my iPad, and I totally got it. Jennifer Weiner was mostly referring to typos, and there were a couple, but I was thinking about how important it is/can be to just have an editor for content, details, that sort of thing. But the frustrating thing is, I liked what I was reading! If a few little things had been tidied up, I'd be really, really into it. It's these details that distract from what is otherwise pretty fun and a good read.
You can't really edit your own creation perfectly. You need fresh eyes. I interned at a magazine once, and the most useful part of it was read through the unsolicited submissions. Most of them were so sad, because people had written them and sent them in so hopefully, and they were just completely never something that this magazine was going to publish. Some people sent in stuff that the magazine stated in the submission guidelines that they never published (historical fiction in a nonfiction magazine), or that were way outside of word count, or that didn't fit into the values or style of the magazine at all. You could tell people hadn't read it, or had maybe read one issue, and hadn't looked at the submission guidelines. Then there were pieces that were the right length, right genre, even right ethos, but not the right tone, or not original, or simply didn't make sense. They were passionate and you could tell that someone sent it in thinking, yes, I'm going to get published, and get paid for this, and I'm going to be a writer. But it didn't work. Out of the hundreds of unsolicited submissions I read that summer, other interns and I agreed that maybe three should be sent on to the editors, who promptly rejected all of them.
It did put things in perspective. I felt more sympathetic to editors, many of whom would like to find a gem, but who keep seeing things that are okay but don't fit, or okay but not outstanding. Part of the appeal of self-publishing is that there's not risk of that rejection, but there's also no fine-tuning of your work. So you put something out there that, yes, might have been rejected by traditional publishers even though it is pretty good and readers enjoy it, BUT could have been better and more enjoyable for the reader if it didn't have those typos and if somebody had challenged on a couple of points.
I mention this in part because I've submitted two stories in the last few weeks. One was rejected and I resubmitted it elsewhere after another edit and finding some typos. The other I just sent out today. I'm trying to remember why I'm submitting with publishers instead of self-publishing. That being said, it's nice to have that as an option.
What I'm reading right now:
--The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud. I'm almost finished but kind of savoring it.
--Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue. Just started. This will replace "The Woman Upstairs" as my Serious Novel if I get into it.
--Owning Regina by Lorelei Elstrom. I started it last night and I'm like a 1/5 of the way through, despite only reading it a little before I went to sleep. I'm liking it and then getting caught up on annoying little details.
--Various queer smut short stories
A queer femme, writing romance and smut.