This post was written by me and Sherwood.

The unnamed agency in our previous post has chosen to present their perception of the exchange. We confirm that it was the agency we referred to. We stand by every word we wrote in our original article.

We did not wish to name them, because we preferred to focus on the larger issues. We did not spread rumors about them, and we don't know who did.

This is why we went public: After the initial exchange a month ago, we spoke in private to a number of other writers, without mentioning the name of the agent or agency. There was an overwhelming response of "Me too!" Many other writers had been asked by agents and editors to alter or remove the minority identity of their characters, sometimes as a condition of representation or sale. Sometimes those identities had been altered by editors without the writers' knowledge or permission.

That response, and posts like Malinda Lo's recent statistics make it clear that the problem is much larger than a couple of writers and one specific agency.

We urge you all to continue focusing on the bigger picture.

Discussion is welcome but abuse and name-calling is not. Please do your best to be civil.

ETA: Since several people asked: I do have an agent for my nonfiction, Brian DeFiore. He's great. The work Sherwood and I do together is very different from what we both do solo, and we wanted an agent to represent us as a team.
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giandujakiss: (Default)

From: [personal profile] giandujakiss

Haven't had a chance to comment on any of your posts before, but just jumping in to say that's annoying (if hardly unexpected), and I'm very glad you had the courage to go public with this.
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)

From: [personal profile] mme_hardy

"On being used"?????

"But even worse, by basing their entire article on untruths, these authors have exploited the topic. "

God forbid that you raise a topic which you made completely anonymous and not, in fact, about them in particular. That's exploitation!
coffeeandink: (Default)

From: [personal profile] coffeeandink

::huge sigh:: Haven't been commenting much, but I am really sorry that they are impugning your and Sherwood's veracity, and are either lying or have sincerely convinced themselves that their part in the conversation went differently (which we have certainly seen in discussions on similar issues even when we had documentary evidence about what was said by whom when).

Also really tired of the red herring about whether the agent in question was "personally homophobic" or not. And all the other red herrings and straw men.
Edited Date: 2011-09-15 03:27 pm (UTC)
kalmn: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kalmn

Darnit, I can't delete. If someone has access to delete my previous comment, please feel free- I'm not being helpful here.

From: [identity profile]

One of the things that deeply concerns me about the way publishers handle this sort of thing- Running Press did the same thing during the Trisha Telep blowup- is that they immediately scramble to not only say "nuh-uh! Did not!" but also seem very willing to throw writers under the bus in the process. I'm thinking specifically of the Christopher Navratil PW post in which he implicitly compared Jessica Verday's response to homophobia to Tyler Clementi's suicide. When publishers have the backing of a multi-layered company and authors have only themselves + whatever readers choose to stand by them . . . there's a power imbalance, and it disturbs me. And I hate the way it's almost always turned into "author versus publisher" by the publishers' response rather than "we didn't intend to do this, but clearly it's a problem; it needs addressing." As long as publishers are more interested in deflecting blame than they are in actually engaging with the topic, we're not going to get anywhere.

From: [identity profile]

I am sorry that the agency has chosen to make it all about you in particular, when you were careful to make your post not about them. The slam at not only your veracity but your saleability -- "why won't their own agents represent that?" is beside the point.

I do wonder/worry how the name got out. (Not blaming you, just wondering who leaked.)

From: [identity profile]

I do wonder/worry how the name got out. (Not blaming you, just wondering who leaked.)

It's possible that the agency defended itself vigorously behind closed doors, and it got out that way.

It's also possible that readers figured it out all by themselves. We mentioned that they were respectable and repped a bestselling YA dystopia. We didn't think that was that identifiable, but it may have been enough for people to put the pieces together.

From: [identity profile]

Sigh. I reread their article a couple of times, and it amazes me how much they make it All About Them, and as defense, All About You. There's a token comment about the real problem being discrimination against everybody, but they don't acknowledge all the people who said "Yes, this happens."

I can see there being different memories of the meeting; that would frankly go with "I'm not homophobic, I'm a good person, my objections were entirely professional."

From: [identity profile]

I'm sorry that the agency responded in that way. Not surprised, but still saddened.

Homophobia fucking sucks. I'm sad to see that they couldn't see what happened and learn from it.

From: [identity profile]

It's a shame that they've made their response personal and specific when you and Sherwood went to such effort to avoid doing so in the original post. I find it interesting that there's a very clear subtext in the response post that you accused them of homophobia when you in fact made quite explicit that you were not inferring personal views from marketing decisions.

It does sound, though, as if the grapevine mutated the message before it reached them.

From: [identity profile]

As ever, Jim Hines is over fighting the good fight. I am sitting on my hands... there is really no point in engaging. I repeat, I am sad that it's all about them and therefore all about you.

From: [identity profile]

I hereby dub this the Reverse Cinderella Reveal.

From: [identity profile]

It does sound, though, as if the grapevine mutated the message before it reached them.

I wish people would read the article we actually wrote before jumping to conclusions about what we said.

From: [identity profile]

It does go a long way to point out why writers are terrified to talk about this stuff.

From: [identity profile]

They claim that they read the article without realizing it was about them, and were not only horrified but had an in-house discussion. That being the case, the misreading is definitely on them.

Leaving aside the Rashomon nature of the conversation -- and I do believe you -- this genuinely looks like a visceral reaction of "I'm not a bad person! You're a bad person for calling me a bad person!" and in the process ignoring the repeated message, both in your post and in the comments, that this is happening all over the industry.

From: [identity profile]

I do understand the Rashomon thing. But it was a LONG conversation specifically about a character being gay. For instance, the part about "He could come out in later books."

From: [identity profile]

No, you're right, they do claim that, so I'm wrong to accuse the grapevine.

I wonder if part of it is that when they thought it was someone else, it was very comfortable to vilify the "bad agency" rather than looking at the "this is systemic" part of the message. And they'd gone so far down that path in their own heads that when they realized that the post could actually apply to them, they freaked out about all the things they'd said to themselves about...themselves (none of which were things Rachel and Sherwood said in their original post).

From: [identity profile]

That seems like a viable explanation: the shift between SOME PEOPLE ARE BAD and THEY SAID I WAS BAD would hurt.

I keep trying to come up with an explanation of "So are they all, all reasonable men", but I need to stop trying. I can understand the emotional reaction without condoning it or believing their version of the facts.

From: [identity profile]

As to the comment about the book being unsalable: I read the book. It was excellent.

From: [identity profile]

No one likes to think they are part of the problem.

I really do think the bit about self-promotion was uncalled for. Yes, frankly you did get me interested in reading a book with an Asian gay character(Asians in Scifi/Fantasy don't get enough love), but I'm also extremely grateful for the linkage of YA LGBTQ and POC book list in your original post. If anything, you're using this to promote diverse fiction in general.

Also, in reading many of the comments all over the place, I am reconsidering some of the decisions I have made with my webcomic. Several characters' sexualities aren't mentioned because I don't want it to be viewed solely as a BL, since it's not a romance. But now I do realize it's important for a character's self-identity to be prominent in non-romance genres as well.

From: [identity profile]

They did contact us, saying they were excited about it . . .

From: [identity profile]

Anime/manga term 'BoyLove' which is used for male/male romance primarily aimed at girls.. :)
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