1.) This is not a rant about the GRL or its organizers.
2.) This is not a plea for sympathy nor a pity-party.
3.) This is me being honest.
After having a very long discussion with my husband last night, he told me I should say my piece about what’s going on and I told him I might vocalize my opinion on my personal Facebook page (not my author page), but I wouldn’t comment on posts or state my feelings otherwise because I come off as bitchy and self-righteous, sometimes even sanctimonious. But when I made my argument to him, he said it was so well said and poignant that I should really put it down on page and share it.
I want to start by saying that I’ve appreciated the GRL for what it’s given me. It has put me face to face with people I’ve only spoken to on Facebook. It’s given me new friends whom I adore. It has given a chance to see people I talk to all the time, but only see once a year. For me, it wasn’t as much about promoting myself as it was reaching out to people and making new friends. And yes, I mean “friends” and not “fans.” The people who I talk to, who support me (books or otherwise) I consider friends. And the most disappointing thing about this is I won’t be able to see my FRIENDS in October like I’d planned to.
Now, before you say, “You can still go,” please listen to what I have to say about that…
We’re in (writing or reading) a genre that is nowhere close to mainstream. Some even consider it taboo. We ask for acceptance and recognition, and we deserve it. We’re authors like everyone else. No big deal right? And we tend to get a little bent out of shape when the others don’t let us play in the same sandbox they do. (Think back to the RWA’s stance on gay romance and the big controversy over that last year.) We want to be equal, dammit!
Let’s look at it this way…
As a society, there is still a struggle for equal rights in many of the minority communities. A lot of us stand up for that and fight alongside those people just so they’ll be treated equally. Makes perfect sense right? Why would we not expect the same equal rights in something as frivolous as a romance convention? Why is it okay to say, “You have no name and only one book, so you’re not as special as the people who have a hundred books?” Isn’t that person still an author? Doesn’t that person still deserve to be considered an equal? Don’t they deserve a helping hand too? Are they a lower class than everyone else?
Didn’t you have to start somewhere too? Didn’t someone give you a hand?
What happened with the GRL policies (not the cap, because that’s more than reasonable) doesn’t seem too fair to me. It really seems like we’re segregating people in an already very divided, very cliquey genre. I can’t, in good faith, support something that would treat people in such a way AND NOT SEE A PROBLEM WITH IT. I understand wanting to deliver readers the authors they asked for, but announcing a “must have” list was a very, very poor PR move. In this case, honesty was NOT the best policy. I mean, c’mon, how would you feel if someone told you that you weren’t wanted?
I think the bulk of us just want the organizers to understand that and admit they made a mistake there, not push back on the authors who said something about it, blaming “bruised egos” for the reaction to words taken very literally. I’m not angry. My ego isn’t bruised. Hell, I know my place in the MM Romance world and I’m perfectly okay with it. I write for my friends, not my wallet. I am, however, disheartened and disappointed.
Enough about that. That’s all I have to say about the GRL Policy…
My decision not to go has everything to do with the statement above. The ONLY reason this is still an issue for me is because I’m sadly disappointed that I won’t get to see all the people I planned to see this year. I won’t get to hump Lynn’s leg. I won’t get to throw myself at Amy. I won’t get to share smoke breaks with Jeff and Michele. No laughing until I hurt because Laura made me drink. No loving on DC. No road trip with Will and Julie. No fawning over the people I work with all the time, but never get to meet face to face. No hugging the hell out of Carrie Ann because I know her a lot better than I did at last year’s GRL. No running across the room, screaming, “OH MY GOD! WE’RE FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK!” Get where I’m going with this? THAT’S what the GRL is about to me. IT’S A FREAKIN’ RETREAT. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/retreat) It’s supposed to be a silly, stress free good time. But now, a divide that has always been there has been made greater. I just wanted to hang out with my friends. I wanted to make new friends. I wanted to have fun, and now the one thing in my writing career I looked forward to his been soiled.