I don’t like to spend too much time on publishing drama. As worked up as I can get over things, I try to have a positive attitude about things, especially in this here blog. No one wants to read about a sourpuss unless they’re spectacularly witty, and that’s just too much of an effort, frankly.
Since there have been Big Developments in the whole queer YA thing though, ie. the agent giving her side of the story, I figured not posting a follow-up might be sort of weird.
In short, I’m irritated. I’m irritated because, until someone produces a recording of the original phone conversation, none of us can know the truth, yet people are throwing around accusations of liars, of manipulators, of homophobes and hoaxes. People are accusing those who spread the original story of being part of an unthinking angry mob, and accusing Rose Fox of Publishers Weekly of not fact-checking properly. (How was she supposed to do that, anyway, given that the authors expressly wanted to keep the agent’s identity quiet, and practically no agent would ever admit to making those requests?)
Yeah, sure, before the rebuttal, people wondered who the agent was and wondering if the situation was that black-and-white, and there were a few things lobbied about that got my hackles up — hence my first post — but overall, people were focusing on the bigger picture. They were talking about buying queer books, and agents and editors were clarifying their openness to books with queer content.
Since the rebuttal, well…
I don’t know the authors, but I know enough people who have vouched for them that I refuse to believe this is a publicity stunt or hoax of any kind. I don’t know the agent, either, but I don’t think there was any malicious intent there either and I don’t think I care enough to debate it.
Why? Because it doesn’t matter to the larger issue at hand.
(Still irritated here, for the record.)
People are accusing the agents of this and the authors of that. People are saying, see, this was a malicious hoax, there was never any problem in the first place! People are defending the publishing industry and the openness of the YA genre. They don’t know any agents or editors who would request such a change! And look at all these (half a dozen) authors who had no problems getting their queer characters published! And the original post was dubious, anyway, ’cause this could never happen in their utopian YA world where Wicked Pretty Things was a collective hallucination and LIAR never had a white girl on the cover and and and…
Well, it has happened. Often. Whatever happened in this particular case doesn’t take away that less than half a percent of published YA feature significant queer characters–not even main characters per se. It doesn’t take away that various other authors have stepped forward to say that, guess what, editors and agents have asked them to de-queer their characters.
Focus on those facts. Because those facts? They indicate a problem. And that’s what matters.
I love YA, and I love the YA community. We can do better.
Stepping off my soapbox now, since I’m getting a little snarkier than intended, but first! Obligatory linkage to smart, smart people: