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Well pull my hair and call me Nancy. There are GLBT authors in the universe who think that they can submit their book for consideration for a RITA, and they it will not only be judged, but judged fairly.

To my knowledge, RWA does not accept GLBT submissions for RITAs. Will have to hunt for where I saw it, but I distinctly remember being told that het authors can choose to not read a book, and rate it as "this isn't romance', because to them m/m romance is not. They won't even review m/m romance! Professional mags will take an author's money for ads, but glbt romances are not even eligible for review.

Anyways...prove me wrong. Prove to me that there are GLBT romances out there that are judged for RITAs. Go back as far as you wanna and find me ONE m/m romance that has been nominated in any category for the RITAs. Just one. Doesn't have to have won the category, just been one of the nominees (would that be the finals, I guess?). Will donate $200 to the charity of your choice benefitting the glbt community to the first person who can find one. Feel free to enlist other people to do the hunting for you if you haven't the time.

ETA: The fab Katiebabs has generously added another $100 to the pot, so keep looking. The RITAs have been around since...what? 1980?? You can't tell me that not ONE slashy romance made it to the finals in nearly 30 years?



( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 23rd, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
As I said before, nothing prohibits GLBT books from entering the RITAs. However, until there is a way to get erotic authors to judge erotic books--by way of erotic categories or opt outs for the prudes--and not have them assigned to just anyone, no they won't be judged fairly.

Straight erotic romances aren't judged fairly now. Menages are marked as not romance.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
surely, of all the m/m romance written in all the world since the start of the RITAS, there's ONE that was not considered 'erotic'?
Nov. 23rd, 2009 04:36 am (UTC)
Oh, probably. Although most of the gay romances I've read are erotic. However, there are other rules which apply to all books about binding, format, publisher requirements, like the standard proof the pub isn't vanity-subsidy. A bunch of stuff. Screws with epubs too because I can't just run over to Kinkos to print and bind a book. It has to be done by the publisher. Plus epubs usually don't go to print in the same copyright year and there's copyright date restrictions so you can't enter books from previous years.

So yes, there probably is a non-erotic gay romance out there but does it follow all the other requirements? Who knows.

I don't see it as a huge issue at the moment. Let's set up a hue and cry when someone actually enters a gay romance. It's hard to yell prejudice if no one has tried. Although I think it's too late this year. I'd have to go look. And I definitely don't have a non-erotic book or I'd submit to see who gets the $200 charity donation. *cackle*

In the meantime, I figure I wasted my $40 and five books because I entered a straight erotic novella in the contest. But what the hell. The publisher sent me way too many author copies and the $40 is tax deductable.

The rules are on the www.rwanational.org website. You can read them there.

And vanity publishing, where a well known and, until now, reputable publisher uses their brand to scam unsuspecting and trusting authors in a pay-to-publish deal that is just shy of illegal but definitely unethical? I'd say that needed to cause a ruckus.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 06:03 am (UTC)
not to submit this year, but if you can show me one that made the finals EVER. hasnt happened, as far as I'm aware of.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 04:43 am (UTC)
Why are they considered 'erotic'? I mean, if you're a gay guy or a lesbian female, I doubt you consider your love life 'erotic'. I'm bi, and I wouldn't say that when I'm with Hubby and a chick that it's 'erotic'. It's just life. Therefore, aren't m/m and f/f and even menage romances just romances? Isn't love and sex just love and sex? Granted I'm largely uneducated on the RITAs and whatnot, but to me, it just seems like labeling them 'erotic' is nothing but a way of getting out of judging them. And why enter if you won't be treated fairly? That makes no sense at all. If you *know* going in that you have little to no shot, what's the point?
Nov. 23rd, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)
what happens is they get labeled 'not a romance', which gets them disqualified. because two men together isn't romance.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 05:32 am (UTC)
As an RWA member, I can speak to a couple of points raised here:

1) RWA does not review books. The organization's RWR (Romance Writer's Report) is a professional journal with relevant news, articles on craft and business, and publisher information. No reviews. However, there are a ton of romance review sites out there, and many do review GLBT romances - and favorably. Off the top of my head, try smartbitchestrashybooks.com and dearauthor.com

2) Any romance published by a non-subsidy, non-vanity press (publishers must qualify), whether authored by an RWA member or not, is eligible to be entered in the Rita contest.

3) Books are entered in the Rita contest by their authors or publishers. There is no "nomination" process beyond that. If no m/m romances have been entered, it's not RWA's fault; talk to the writers. However, I bet at least one has been entered (unfortunately, I don't have access to a complete list of the 1200 entries, or I think I could claim that money for Heifer International)

4) Yes, unfortunately, some RWA members might mark a m/m romance or straight erotic romance as "Not a romance" even if it was, out of personal prejudice. That would not, however, automatically disqualify the book. It would take a majority of the judges marking it NAR to eliminate it from the contest. (I believe the judge is still supposed to fully judge it, even if they mark it NAR. I know I had to several years ago, and for the record, the book had no sex in it and was absolutely tremendous; it just was a historical saga and not a romance).

There used to be a process by which judges could opt out of certain categories. Or rather, we could choose which categories we are willing/able to judge fairly. (We’re never allowed to judge in categories in which we have books competing.) Personally, I don't like to judge "sweet" books or inspirational/Christian books and was not happy to have gotten a judging packet full of them last year. Still, I judged the writing and story, not the topic and sex level, and some were quite good. But I would still like to see us go back to opt-in system even though it makes it much, much more complicated for the office staff. Imagine the logistics of parceling out 5 copies of each of 1200 entries, then add on having to check the preferences of each of several hundred judges *and* take into account any categories they entered themselves...)

5) There's not yet an erotic romance category for the Ritas. There probably should be; I'm not sure why there's not, and I'll personally request the Board to add it to next year's contest. When there is one, I promise, there will be plenty of people willing to judge the books, just as there will be a lot of people utterly appalled by the idea. However, a lot of the willing ones *really* like m/m, BDSM, and ménage, so that won't be an issue. The key for any book to win, however, will be that it's well-written and that it's primarily a *romance* and not just erotica (nothing wrong with erotica, but the contest is for romance novels).

I'm thinking that along with that suggestion for an erotic romance category, I will suggest that judges must specifically grant permission to receive those books *and* Christian books. Face it, they're both specialized sub-genres with very particular readership, and the books should only go to judges who will be able to evaluate them on their own merits.

Anyway, there you go. I hope someone gets to take away your money.

Nov. 23rd, 2009 06:11 am (UTC)
Thanks for the rules outline. I knew it peripherally by association, but its nice to have the blanks filled in.

I was referring to pubs like RT, who has categorically refused to review m/m romances. However, they very generously allow glbt authors to pay them good money to buy ad space in their magazine. Because the books are good enough to be advertised, just not reviewed. Or something.

I'm still not sure why GLBT stories would automatically come under 'erotic', and not be judged for whatever genre they're written in. Nor has anyone been able to tell my why not a single GBLT themed book has ever made finals in a RITA contest to date. Or maybe one has. Still waiting to be proven wrong :D
Nov. 23rd, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
As I said in my comment to another post, my crit partner judged two f/f romances in the RITA this year. She liked one of them very much, and gave it high marks. There is no rule that disallows GLBT fiction from entering the RITA.

RT magazine has nothing to to with the RWA. In fact, the two organizations are rather at odds most of the time. Yes, it sucks that RT will take our money but not review our books. Yes, that's why I no longer send any work to RT for review, nor pay for advertising with them. No, that still doesn't have anything to do with RWA, who have their own issues with GLBT, make no mistake, but not on the official level.

No, you will not find any GLBT fiction having made the short list for the RITA. They have to be entered first, by either the author or his/her publisher, and I doubt GLBT books have been entered for more than what, maybe three years? Again, relatively small sub genre, mostly epublished - and epublished books couldn't be entered till THIS year, I believe - so you just don't have the numbers necessary to make a showing. Add to that prejudice that exists among many members - a whole bunch of whom are in their fifties and sixties - and there's no way a GLBT book is going to make the short list so soon. Just like it took paranormal a few years to gain traction in contests, it will take GLBT some time, with the added challenge of overcoming homophobia.

Are many of the members homophobic? Yes. As I said, too many are of an older generation and come from conservative backgrounds. Does this make the organization itself homophobic, at least in the instance of the RITAS? Not if the rules do not prohibit GLBT fiction from entering.

Believe me, I'm the first one to cry foul when it comes to the RWA. But since the board had to approve the new GLBT chapter in order for it to even exist, I have think things are moving in the right direction there. Slowly - too slowly - but moving.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
I read my first gay romance..in print..over 15 years ago. Which is not to suggest that they weren't in print before then, but I wasn't quite old enough to read them, they weren't stocked at the local library like Janelle Taylor and Johanna Lindsey, and I couldn't steal them from my uncle's house often enough *g*. Some of them were fairly pornolicious, but many were no more erotic than those Janelle Taylors or Johanna Lindseys I was reading. Why didn't any of them get nominated? I didn't start reading ebooks until about 5 years or so ago.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
Again, they have to be ENTERED - either by the author or their publisher, I believe - to be nominated. The RITA committee doesn't judge every romance published that year.

Now, I agree - very few authors are going to pay the entry fee if they believe their books don't have a snowball's chance of making the short list, especially fifteen, ten, or even five years ago. So you could say the prejudice against GLBT fiction keeps them from being nominated by discouraging their entry in the first place.

But just like paranormals - which faced a uphill battle when it came to gaining acceptance and eventually making the final nominations list - authors simply have to keep entering their books in larger and larger numbers. Eventually, one will break through. It means spending the money and the time to break down the hard line of prejudice, but when isn't that true?

The RWA has no rule preventing GLBT fiction from being nominated for a RITA.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 06:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, I still don't get why GLBT romance gets lumped into the "erotic romance" category automatically. I actually stopped buying from a publisher b/c I got so annoyed that they put every m/m romance under their hottest category no matter what the actual heat level was. The GLBT part of the "GLBT romance" description designates the orientation of the characters in the relationship and NOT the heat level. This seems so obvious to me.

What is erotic romance, anyways? I've heard people say it's whenever the bedroom door is open in a romance, but that can't be it, surely...otherwise the majority of het romances I've read over the years would also be considered erotic. Let's put it this way...I've read so much GLBT romance that was labeled "erotic romance" and wasn't any more erotic than the het stuff labeled "romance." I don't really understand the distinction, at least not as it applies to GLBT romance.

Nov. 23rd, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
A correction:

After I finished here, I popped over to the RWA National website and checked the situation on the 2010 Judging. We *can* express preferences for categories we want to judge (a minimum of 3). And we can omit any categories we don't want to judge. It would be perfectly feasible to include an erotic romance category without "forcing" anyone to judge it who doesn't want to.

By the way: I don't read much in the way of erotic romance, and I don't at all get why so many straight women are interested in reading about male gay sex, but whether I enjoy it or not, if it's romance, it belongs under the umbrella of RWA. The more inclusive RWA is, the bigger it is and the stronger its voice in advocating for authors with publishers large and small.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 06:12 am (UTC)
whether I enjoy it or not, if it's romance, it belongs under the umbrella of RWA. The more inclusive RWA is, the bigger it is and the stronger its voice in advocating for authors with publishers large and small.

Nov. 23rd, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
i have no idea. i consider them romance. some of them are good. some of them suck. :::nods::: just like um.... romances :D
Nov. 23rd, 2009 06:13 am (UTC)
some suck fuzzy rocks for srs, lol. but they should still have an equal chance on the same footing as a het romance for an award.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
well you know.. i'd say the same for het and gay writers at LAMDBA :::Grins:::

all should be equal everywhere.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
since you're girl crushing on me, can qualify for LAMBDA *nods*
Nov. 23rd, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
aaaahh... i didn't know i was girl crushing... woot! :D heh. yaaaaaaah... LAMBDA...

damn but i'm boycotting them for the boys. :D
Nov. 23rd, 2009 10:43 am (UTC)
Transgressions and False Colors have been nominated for the RITAs this year. There was some scrambling at the last moment when Courtney Milan (who is a wonderful het author, but also enjoyed False Colors) and Sarah F of DA pointed out to me that Running Press weren't on the RWA's list of acceptable publishers. I alerted RP and they got on to RWA and managed to get listed at the last moment...

So, yes, this year there have been at least two GLBT books nominated, to my knowledge. Whether they will be judged fairly or not remains to be seen.

Edited at 2009-11-23 10:45 am (UTC)
Nov. 23rd, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
crossing my fingers for you!
Nov. 23rd, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's something to have even managed to get this far, so anything else would be a bonus :)
Nov. 23rd, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
as far as recall, no, it's never happened. They are happy to accept the books and take your entry fee (as are SFWA for self published) but they say that your book is unlikely to be treated fairly.

I find this attitude frankly gobsmacking in this day and age, if i were running an award, I'd only allow readers who were intelligent enough to treat each book with the same respect as the others.

Saying gay romances aren't romances is so insulting I hardly know how to vocalise my disgust. I'm sure those in loving relationships with their own happy endings would have something to say.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
Oh they're romances now...just fall into the 'erotic' category. Because teh buttsecks is ALWAYS erotic. or something.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
This. I'm so livid with this "it's m/m so it must be erotic" thing. It can't possibly be about love like other romances can :( I think it's just their way of keeping m/m romance in the 'dirty' corner along with the other stuff that they've been forced to acknowledge that people read and enjoy but they wish we could be properly ashamed of.
Dec. 6th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
A few points of clarification
Just to let you know, a few years ago, there was a massive battle within RWA to define romance as between a man and a woman. That battle was lost--the definition of romance that was adopted by RWA is, thankfully, gender-neutral and bigotry free.

BUT the RITA is judged by RWA members, some of whom fought for a definition of romance that was defined as between a man and a woman. Technically, if a member receives a book that she is not comfortable reading for the RITA, she is supposed to return it to the RWA office, who will send it out to be judged by someone else. But there's no way to police this, and so yes, erotic romances as well as GLBT romances suffer in consequence.

(These aren't the same thing AT ALL, but there is substantial overlap between the people who think that erotic romance is "not a romance" because ew, sex, and the people who think that it's not a romance if it happens to be two men falling in love. That's why these people often confuse GLBT romances for "erotic"--they're using the phrase as a catch-all for "ouch, this book makes me feel all uncomfortable.")

So while any contest always has an element of the crap shoot about it, entering erotic or GLBT content has slightly more of the crap shoot about it.

But... there is some evidence that RWA membership is getting better. Last year an erotic romance won the RITA in the Historical category. I'd like to think that a book as absolutely mind-blowingly fabulous as False Colors could get a fair shot as an m/m.

I know that there's not been a m/m or f/f RITA finalist, but my fingers are crossed that this year we'll have one.
Dec. 6th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
Re: A few points of clarification
crossing my fingers with you!!
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )


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