Go Away, Vultures: A Writerly Rant, a Self Pep-Talk, and a Giveaway
Outside of my poetry, which is often self-reflective, my postings on this blog generally stick to writerly topics: world-building, Sci-Fi, promotion… but not this post. Why? Because I’m experiencing something I absolutely detest as a writer—a tonnage of crippling self-doubt. It’s looming over me, staring down like a humongous black vulture, and for the life of me, I can’t seem to shake it this time.
I’m hoping that by addressing the vulture publicly, it’ll go find someone else to pick on. I apologize to this person in advance, but my circus stays full and I can’t afford to feed any more monkeys, so good riddance.
Note: Yes, I am aware the topics I am going to address are first world problems. I have food, clothing, shelter, clean water, and family, so please don’t indulge your need to remind me. I’m simply not in the mood.
Here’s my rant, beginning with what’s currently on my plate life wise:
Yes,I’mqueer,andproudof it—not a real issue…for me, at least, but the current political environment in the U.S. makes me want to duck and cover at times.
I’m disabled and have been fighting for what’s mine, meaning the SSDI I earned, for over two years now. My hearing has finally been slated for August. (crosses her fingers) This means we’ve had two years of financial ills. The bills are pressing…hard, but we manage. My spouse, BTW, is a disabled Vet. The VA, thankfully, takes care of all her medical needs.
Medicaid sucks, and I am on Medicaid. Yes, it’s better than nothing, of this I am aware, but many of the doctors who accept Medicaid in my state are sub-par at best. (I doubt many would have a single patient if they didn’t accept Medicaid) I’ve had to fight for…every…little…thing… including basic care, medication refills. You name it. I stay exhausted from it all and my poetry reflects this.
My youngest leaves for college in August. I’m proud as I can be of him and the fact he’s received a full-ride scholarship at his first choice of schools. But, I sense empty nest syndrome brewing in both myself and my wife. (She’s been his other parent since he was three years old, so he’s very much hers too)
My medical issues keep piling on. I started this month with two appointments, but it’s since built to six including tests. My last blood work took six tries, three phlebotomists, and four blown veins to acquire. I’ve since fought with the pharmacy, Medicaid, and called my primary care’s practice manager to get some issues straightened out. Immediately after that the same practice changed an appointment time and location without contacting me about it. I found out secondhand and, thankfully, before the appointment. Grr.
Now to the writerly portion of my rant:
My newest novel simply isn’t selling. Now, I’m a realist. I write Queer Sci-Fi. The genre seldom, if ever, makes any best-seller list. But Surrogate, isn’t getting any reviews, much less selling. I’ve promoted more than my budget really permits and sent out review requests galore. I’ve even had giveaways. Nothing. Nada. I can’t even give the book away in contests. Seriously. No one entered…and I’ve had three contests.
I feel tepid acceptanceat best, from the writing community, outside of a few select people:
There are no queer writing groups of any sort where I live. Period. I’ve looked. Yes, there are a few online ones. I’m a member of one, but I’m not feeling it for reasons stated below, and, no, I’m not going to start my own for the very same reasons.
Sci-Fi is seen by some as a trash genre. It’s brain candy for those who don’t want to think. Yes, I’ve been told this. Tell that to Herbert. Tell that to LeGuin. Tell that to Atwood. Tell that to Asimov.
I once thought lesbian Sci-Fi was the smallest subgenre ever, but I was apparently wrong. My current series is labeled bisexual, polyamorous Sci-Fi, an almost non-existent category. I’ve been dismissed by the mainstream Sci-Fi in general, dismissed by lesbian readership, the whole of gay male readership, and, so it seems, queer readership as whole. I’ve received comments of “I don’t read that.” “It’s not real queer fiction if it’s Bi.” and pats reminiscent of “that’s nice dear, now go away.” I’m not being given a chance from the very start. And it’s PISSING ME OFF!I’ve see other queer Sci-Fi novels get reviews, love, and support, but my work… sigh. *licks her wounds and growls*
Number three above tips the scale for me. I try my best to support other writers. We, meaning my wife and I, buy queer books whenever we can afford to purchase any books, and we give reviews to under-reviewed books. This lack of any reciprocation or support is what makes me want to give up writing all together.
But I won’t.
So here’s my pep talk. I’m going to write regardless. Stories are ever-brewing in my head and my characters won’t leave me alone unless I get those stories down. I’ve finished three novels in the Surrogate Series, have another in the works, have ideas for at least two others, and have at least two more novels, possibly series, in the works. Writing is a sizable portion of who I am, so I can’t walk away. To do so would be denying my own existence. I write for myself first. The fact others, if even occasionally, like it, is a bonus.
But, a little bit of recognition, a bit of support from other writers and the queer community would be highly appreciated.
Now to the giveaway.I have three Amazon codes for ebook copies of Surrogate available. If you wish one, ask in the comments and we’ll work something out. A review after you read would be appreciated, but it’s certainly not required.
I have no expectations at this point, and will, quite frankly, be surprised if anyone takes me up on the offer.