Reading The Naughty Bits (www.teddypig.com) again. My comments would be too long, so I'll post my thoughts here and figure out how to do a shortened or less mean version there.
Yaoi: I rather like some of the yaoi-inspired romances. I'm not into the hardcore yaoi. I'd just as soon skip the ones with torture and severe abuse of the protagonists -- not to mention non-consensual scenes between the main characters. I figure that's not meant to be romance. How could one protagonist forcing the other to have sex be supposed to be romantic? I like the yaoi-inspired romances in which both characters are gay to start with, as I prefer in the other types of m/m romances I read. I like artwork of bishonen and have a thing for androgynous-looking guys. I don't want the men acting girly, though. As much as I like drawings of bishonen, I certainly don't need for a guy in a story or in real life to be waxed or shaved within an inch of his life. Okay, Wild Bill's eventual reaction to Michael being shaved (in Channeling Morpheus 3: Manikin) was hot, but ordinarily I don't like for a man to be completely smooth. It doesn't look natural to me. I'm quite fine with a guy having chest hair and a treasure trail.
New Year's Resolutions post: How do gay men disappear from many discussions of m/m romance? Those who have heard of it (and apparently many have) and read or write fiction are quite interested in the topic one way or another. Teddypig has pointed out many times how popular J.L. Langley's books are. I've seen books by Willa Okati, Ally Blue, and Laura Baumbach at Giovanni's Room, too, to name just a few. I think most women readers buy their books online, and don't come into the men's section of a GLBT bookstore to get their books. That's just speculation on my part, but clearly if the folks at Giovanni's Room are putting the books in the men's fiction room of the store, they're expecting men will be reading it.
My view on the "exploitation" argument, which I've stated several times, is that when women exploit gay men as much as gay men can exploit each other, then I'll be worried about exploitation. So a fair amount of m/m romance doesn't have realistic men. Neither does straight romance. I prefer the books with protagonists who act like I think men might act. Some women like books with really emotional men, whether the protagonists are gay, straight, or have "turned" gay. Their cup of tea. But there's no rule that you have to be of one gender or another to like romance. I think it's weird to say that someone is "fetishizing" men by reading a romance about them. Sure, I concentrate a fair amount of my "woman-energy" on men whether thinking of them as friends or in romance-related ways, depending, but I don't think that's a crime. Personally, I think of my liking of gay romance just as me being queer in yet another way. Other people have very different reasons for liking it.
Off even more tangentially, I'd like to see men who are really bi in romance. Not switching from one orientation to another, but falling in love with one person and deciding to be monogamous with him or her. I know it's totally unrealistic. I mean, I do it. If I'm dating someone, I'm not really looking to be dating anyone else. But it would be kind of neat to see a man who felt like that. I like the better-balanced m/m/f menages in which the women can accept that the men are with each other as well as her, but I think it would be romantic to see a bi man commit to one person.
Loose Id (http://www.loose-id.com) publishes all kinds of erotic romance. I mostly get m/m romances there, but I've gotten other kinds of romance, too. I sent my answers to Treva Harte's questions on what readers are looking for when they get books from Loose Id. Here they were:
|Treva Harte |
Posted: Jul 2nd, 2009 at 10:40 am
I thought they were good questions. I'll second the observations about real cover art and real editing. I haven't communicated with the publisher other than answering the questions she asked. I most likely said that I look at the cover art, blurbs, content warning and excerpts. I look at some review sites, and some author websites or LJs to see what they've got coming out from which publisher. Some reviewers won't comment on a book unless they liked it, which is up to them, and some reviewers will be mean. I like the ones in which the reviewer seems fairly objective about what worked and didn't work for them. Of course, what didn't work for them might really work for me.