Tuesday 12 October 2010



  1. OH MY GOD! I can't believe someone who actually write that in a publicly-read situation.

    Ok, my hackles are up. I don't give a rat's ass what gender someone is, as long as they write a good story - period. Since when did plumbing have to do with ability to write? Women write men all the time and no one complains.

    Aleks, I'm going to send you a link to an article you will find very interesting, as it pertains to this kind of thing. It will probably provoke a blog rant or two.

    When in the hell will the world grow up? I never heard of that publisher, but they are off my potential list. Can you imagine what they'd be like to actually write for?

  2. I'm chatting with one of their authors (author of Counterpint, Rachel Haimowitz) and apparently they are great to work with.

    But it's off-putting in the extreme. If they'd not accept stuff from women, I'd equally not submit. Or endorse this in any shape or form.

  3. They might be great to work with, if you're a woman, but who wants to work with a place that has that underlying prejudice. Obviously, they don't have their finger on the pulse of the market either. Nor do they understand the general readership.

    I guarantee, I don't check out the gender of an author before I read their book. Good Lord, where does this thinking come from????

  4. Ah, no, I prefer to hang out with people - and give 60% of my royalties to people - who are not sexist. Not even in jest.

  5. You'll be glad to know that they're either not interested in feedback, or have an incompetent programmer. I tried to send them my opinion, but ran into the demand that I duplicate the captcha. Too bad there's no captcha showing in any one of the three browsers I tried. I won't be bookmarking this company. Maybe someone will say something in their forum.

  6. @Catana - I do hope that my linking to their site will go noticed and they'll think about how they appear to the outside world. I'm happy to talk to them in detail about why this stuff is wrong.

  7. Hmm, perhaps not so guiltless after all. At least, I'd feel guilty buying books from a publisher with that attitude.

  8. I agree with Marie. I'll make a point not to buy their books, although that hurts innocent authors, who may not be aware of the policy or care. Aleks - your wisdom please.

  9. >but man-written erotica seldom appeals to women (and vice-versa, by the way).

    Wow, whaaaaaat?

    Poor marketing research, and a poor publishing philosophy, bound to offend more than it attracts.

  10. Marie - I bought "Counterpoint", because I read good things about it. I don't want to punish a writer for being published by sexists.

    Jess - I agree. It sure as hell offended me. And offends just about everybody who's not being an asshole about gender/identity/chromosomes anymore. Welcome to the Stone Age.

  11. I agree with them because that's how I generally feel - that a male author would likely not know what I'm looking for in a romance, erotic or otherwise. There will always be exceptions but these would be those who are familiar with the Romance genre or at least have made it a point to read Romantica (as erotic romance has come to be called).

    Another point to note, I think (without having checked the publisher out yet, ok?) is that the publisher has in mind the female readership that's come over from M/F romance. Many would be like me: started with mainstream M/F romance, went on to erotic romance then M/F/M then all gay and M/M/M/WTF romance.

    That said, I see the position held by the publisher becoming obsolete within a few years as more men read Romance and know the difference between Erotica and Romantica to appeal to the general female readership. Male romance writers like Josh Lanyon, D J Manly, A J Llewellyn are some who understand what women want in erotic romance because of that single ingredient in their stories - Romance - and that's why we women buy their books. Once in awhile I (or we) will buy pure erotica like Gavin Atlas' The Boy Can't Help It but it's not my/our usual reading choice.

    IMO, the publisher is right to state up front their audience is female and that alone tells me it's the Romance genre and it tells me I will be "safe" buying from them.

  12. @Elaine - they could have kept gender out of it and said that "please read what we publish to get an idea what we're looking for", like 95% of publishers out there. Because I do believe that anybody, even the pink people, Protestants, Tea Party members, or vegetarians, can write any genre, any tone and any style that they want to write - if they are sufficiently advanced as writers.

    It depends a lot on what you read, too. If you don't know romance, you don't know the usual tropes. I, personally, have only read a handful m/m romance and I do believe that's a boon. I tackle the genre in my way, without being too caught up in the "rules". I do believe if you're a good enough writer, you can break all those "rules" and still be read. :) (I've seen a fair amount of ruler-breaking out there, too. Manna Francis is one example, Kirby Crow another).

    Yes, absolutely, romance is important, but I thought that's a given if I submit something to a romance publisher. If you don't have romance in the book, subbing it to a romance publisher is like subbing them a cook book.

    So, they can make assumptions - however wrong they are, I have plenty of male readers - about their readership, but making assumptions about the plumbing of their writers and their ability or inability to tell a story that "women" will enjoy, I find narrow-minded and downright insulting.

  13. Hi Aleksandr. I'd noticed this very thing myself, and asked a version of the same question in a blog I did a while back. I know that there is a strong wave of belief that men tend to write erotica from a mechanical point of view. "How" more than "why". Where he put it rather than how it felt. I don't subscribe to this, but the belief is there.
    I've also met more than a few women who seem to blackly celebrate how different women are from men, whilst simultaneously bemoaning the fact that men are so different from women. Perhaps it's women from that group who are running Guiltless Pleasure.

  14. Hi Willsin, thanks for stopping by. I'm currently exchanging emails with the publisher, discussing this issue. So far, we're all nice and polite, which is good. I prefer to have a good discussion to "you suck, I hate you" any day.

    I don't believe men are mechanical at all. I've read some of the absolute worst, purple prose from men, and some very mechanistic sex from women. And to genderqueer/transpeople, this policy is a kick in the teeth - like they don't exist.

    I have very good friends in either gender and a couple in between, and I don't believe women are inherently different from men.

    I think we're talking two different genre conventions - "gay porn" (which has a certain "tone" or "writer stance") and "het romance" (again, different stance") and "yaoi" (yet another tone). Both/all three genres have their outliers, and both/all three genres have such a broad range that we have to simplify to a perverse degree to say anything at all about the genres. And once you simplify to that level, we're talking only stereotypes and superstition. Not helpful.

  15. Hello everyone, I’m Tal Valante, founder of Guiltless Pleasure Publishing. I wanted to reply to some of the things being said on this page.

    First, I understand Aleksandr’s reaction, but I don’t agree with his interpretation of my guidelines and FAQs. Nowhere have I said that men are second-rate writers or that I have anything against them. My only claim is that men and women usually have different tastes when it comes to sex scenes (if not to fiction in general), and that these tastes are usually expressed both in reading and in writing. I challenge you to really stop and think about this concept: is it really offending?

    Aleksandr also claims that a good writer can write for any audience. I agree. But good writers (male or female) are rare, and men do need to take that “extra step” to reach a female audience. Writing is hard enough without having to take any extra steps, whatever your gender is. For all that, I never judged a submission made by a man based on anything other than its own merit.

    Two things bother me most: the fact that a matter of tastes can be interpreted as sexism, and Aleksandr’s excellent point about the people he calls genderqueers/transpeople. For these two issues, I’m reconsidering the way GPP is presented on our website.

    @Catana/Sylvie Mac: We’re always interested in feedback and constructive discussion. Thank you kindly for pointing out the glitch on our contact page. It has been taken care of.

    Reading through this page again, I do have one request: a little less pugnacity, people, and a little more openness to discussion as you so clearly champion.

    Best wishes,
    Tal Valante

  16. GOOD writers are rare? Nice to know what is thought of the people who write for Guiltless. Good writers are rare. Oh, my. That negates the entire explanation. How sad.

  17. @Brita: I think you need to be on the other end of a publication house to truly understand the scope of that claim.

    You do realize that the writers you *do* see published are the ones considered good? Now, take that number, multiply it by a couple of hundreds, and you'll have the number of writers who are actually trying to get published. Yes, good writers are rare. Otherwise everyone would be a published writer.

    (Out of curiosity, would anyone be offended if I said that good sculptors are rare?)

  18. I never juged a book by the gender of the author. And i do get the point Aleksandr is referring to but to be honest i personally wouldnt feel offended by that. Its only a puplisher. Who cares what they think? Who cares what anyone out there thinks? If youre good at what youre doing you WILL be heard. If not from this puplisher then from the next. If the whole world would just stop fighting for stupid rights we wouldnt have any problem. I mean lets be real about this if you go down to the bottom of it EVERYTHING is only about money. They dont want male writers because someone someday said that less woman buy storys written by men - well then leave them and search for another puplisher. Why try to change their mind? If you do you juged them and i think thats what most people do. They judge people by look, gender or sexuality and then they try to change the way they are with agression or hatred or by reffering to their rights. Its so funny when you think about it. We are all the same and in a way we are all so full of fear...

    Please dont get me wrong - im not trying to say that we should all just stay quiet and wait for change to happen or that we should stand by while someone gets attacked because of beeing queer. All im trying to say is that we should think before we act. If we jump on anything that feels offensive we are not able to really help people to understand how important equality is. If we always push people to treat us the way we want it or treat us the way they treat heterosexual people they wont understand. They will feel they same way we feel - offended. Its all about talking to them on a normal level, trying to make them realise that we are equal to them. Understanding is the key and i think its our turn first.

    I really dont want to offend anyone - by no means. Im gay myself and im trying to not judge people by who they are or what they do or whatever (and it think thats pretty hard sometimes) but im just so tired of people trying to change other people because they think differently. And thats exactly what some people are doing, think about it!

    Again if anyone feels offended im truly sorry - that was not my intention. I also think, that Aleksandr is doing just that - talking, trying to help them understand. But many of 'us' are not that polite.

  19. Wow, just wow. I think everyone, regardless of gender should be encouraged to submit. If it's rejected, then fine, but let it be rejected because it's not good, not because of what gender wrote it.

    I've read sex scenes from both and I'm female. It made no difference to me because when I'm reading a book, my mind doesn't think about the writer the whole time I'm reading. My mind is thinking about the story laid out in from of me. It's only when I'm done reading for that session do I sit back and say, "Wow this writer is an excellent writer."

    And that's my two cents. LOL