A few weeks ago I was doing some competitive title research for my Write Yourself Out Foundations writers. Competitive titles, also known as comparable titles, are books that a writer's ideal reader would also be reading. When a writer is drafting a book proposal, which is a detailed business plan they use to pitch their nonfiction book, there's an entire section devoted to competitive titles. The point of the section is to show how your book will fit into the marketplace. How is your book in conversation with other books in its category?
I surfed around Amazon and landed on the LGBTQ+ Demographic Studies category—and what I discovered was truly horrifying.
Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier, a disgusting book with an even more disgusting cover, was #1 in the category.
When I checked today, it had fallen to #2.
Now I don't even want to dignify this piece of trash by giving it a lot of air time. If you want to read about it, go to Amazon yourself.
My reason for pointing out the existence of this book is simple: this is no time for complacency.
This is no time to think LGBTQ+ stories by LGBTQ+ writers don't matter. Queer stories matter. Trans stories matter. Lesbian stories matter. Gay stories matter. All the stories of the LGBTQIA+ alphabet matter. Because representation matters.
This is no time to think there are already enough LGBTQ+ books out there so why bother writing mine? When the bestseller list is busting out with too many high quality books by queer authors, we can revisit this question, but until then ...
I wrote Graveyard of Safe Choices because it is the book I wished I had had when I was coming to terms with my sexual identity at midlife. When I believed that literally no one in the world had experienced what I was experiencing.
Many of the queer writers I work with are also writing the books they wished they'd had on their bookshelves when they were struggling with issues around gender identity and sexuality.
Can you imagine a world flooded with quality books written by LGBTQ+ writers? What a difference that would make for people still hiding, and feeling alone, othered, and hopeless.
Let's knock reprehensible books like Irreversible Damage off the bestselling ranks and replace them with books that share truth and love, and bring light and hope to the world.
That's my mission and that's why I'm building a community of queer writers to do just that.