mouseferatu: (Default)
The Good: Library of the Living Dead Press's publisher has announced that he will green-light the LGBT-themed anthology after all.

The Bad: There's been no explanation other than "poor communication" as to why the story of what was happening changed so often, and communication issues really can't account for all of it. However, much as I would like an explanation (and much as I think it would go a long way toward mitigating some of the poor PR from all this), I'm not owed one. Ultimately, it doesn't matter, now that the poor/inappropriate decision has been rectified.

The Ugly: While the publisher has copped up to making his own mistakes, he still insists on painting everyone who complained as "haters," on painting the entire situation with an "us vs. them" mentality, and on apparently refusing to consider precisely why people were upset, and on learning from it. The entire thing was handled, and is still being handled, with a remarkable lack of professionalism.

So, bottom line? I've said from the beginning that this was about the issue in question. I have no personal axe to grind with LLDP. I offer kudos that they've decided to go ahead with the anthology; I wish them success, and I'll probably even pick up a copy myself when it's out, just to show my support for their (presumably) final decision.

But I would also say, to everyone involved over there: If you want to be taken seriously as a publisher, you need to learn to handle this sort of thing better. People are going to complain and be upset; sometimes with legitimate reason, sometimes not. If you want to be professional, you have to act professionally. Don't buy this beneath a layer of righteous indignation; learn from it. It hurts--believe you me, I know--but public criticism of your decisions or your work goes with the territory.

And that, I hope, is the end of that.
mouseferatu: (Default)
So when I wrote this, I said that the publisher needed to either change its mind or offer a reasonable explanation. Well, an explanation has been offered in, among other places, the comments to [ profile] jimhines' journal, and while I strongly dislike the implications of it, it'd be hypocritical of me not to post it, after my prior open letter.

The following is a cut-and-paste quote from the first two paragraphs of the publisher's comment:

The reason I pulled the LBGT Anthology was NOT from complaints from the straight community, it was from complaints from the LBGT community. They were upset that an Anthology written by straight authors could cast a bad light on the gay community. I had no complaints from the straight authors.

Some of the complaints from my LBGT authors were "gays will be displayed in a bad light", "This is a gimmick", "No good can come from straight people writing about gays."

I have to admit, I'm terribly disheartened. Assuming this is true, it's woefully shortsighted and--dare I say it--even borderline bigoted from people that should know better. First off, there have been plenty of LGBT-focused anthologies in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror in which the writers weren't all themselves LGBT. They were very well received, and not once accused of being "gimmicky," at least not by any reputable source. And second, that's like saying that Christians can't write Muslim characters without portraying them poorly; or Caucasians can't write Asian characters; or--to get back to the issue at hand--that gay writers can't write straight characters.

These authors aren't doing themselves, or their cause, any favors by trying to portray themselves as "off-limits" to straight writers. Would some have been poorly written or displaying gays in a bad light? Possibly. And it would've been the editor's job to reject those stories.

At this point, I'm not sure what I think. On the one hand, I'm very disappointed in the authors who complained. On the other, I think the publisher should have explained the situation and stood his ground (especially since the broader opinion from the LGBT community--at least the part that knows about this--has proved to be overwhelmingly in favor of the anthology). And of course, this assumes the explanation given is accurate and honest. I have no reason to believe it's not, but anything's possible.

I'm not remotely sorry that I wrote my previous open letter. I was acting on the information I had at the time, including implications of homophobia from someone involved in the project and who was in a position to know. (Whose original comment has since been pulled, incidentally.) But it also wouldn't be fair to LLDP not to follow up, now that they have indeed offered an alternate explanation.
mouseferatu: (bull)
Dear tiny publisher,

My name is Ari Marmell. I've been writing professionally for some time now, with an audience in both fiction and role-playing games, both fantasy and horror. I have novels either on shelves, or forthcoming, from Spectra (Random House), Pyr, and Wizards of the Coast.

Recently, you put out an open call for one of your many zombie-related anthologies of short stories. I had every intention of submitting, as I had an idea that I was very excited about, and that I think would have made a fantastic story that perfectly fit the theme of the anthology in question.

But I will not be submitting, either to this anthology or any others of yours. I will be encouraging other authors not to submit, and I will be encouraging everyone I know not to purchase your books.

Why? Because of your cowardice in canceling a different anthology than the one to which I was going to submit. To cancel an LGBT-themed anthology of stories due to the complaints of homophobic writers who weren't even involved in the anthology is unconscionable and cowardly. If people complain about the contents of an anthology, the proper response is either "So don't contribute" or "So don't buy it." It is not to cave in and pull the plug on a book about which many writers, and many readers, were excited--especially when doing so sends both a clear and repulsive message regarding where you stand on social issues.

Now, it's true that we only have the book's editor's word on what happened, because LLD Press hasn't even bothered to make an official statement. But if what we're hearing is incorrect, it's up to you to set the record straight. Otherwise, the market is justified in taking the current narrative--which is, unfortunately, all too easy to believe in this day and age--at face value.

I was quite excited about the short story I'd come up with to submit to one of your other anthologies, and I'll likely still write it at some point--and try to find another market for it. Because until you either change your minds on this issue, or come up with some sort of reasonable explanation for your decisions, I certainly will not be contributing to yours.

April 2017



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