My Life is Not a Porno

I recently submitted my new science fiction book, Banquet, to a promotion for speculative fiction.

I was excited to find the promotion, because I thought it would be the perfect place to get more readers for this new genre I was trying to break into.

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But before I could be accepted, the person running the promotion emailed me back with a strange question.

Is this book erotica?

I was stunned. Reading my book description, I was sure it was easy to tell that it’s not erotica. I even re-read it on Amazon to make sure. Here, check it out:

What could possibly be worse than ending up on a prison planet where the only way out is death?

Rison Ecks is a criminal. She’s been sentenced to live out the rest of her life doing manual labor on a prison planet in a dark corner of the galaxy for attempting to assassinate the man who killed her lover.

Then her prison transport crash lands on an unplotted planet, and Rison is flung into the middle of a deadly competition that no one escapes with their lives. But Rison is made of stronger stuff than most, especially when faced with a strong, beautiful woman and an innocent life in peril.

Together, they plot to overthrow their captors… even if it kills them.

It’s obviously speculative fiction, right? So I went back to the email.

Did the series name really come off as erotica?

Banquet Front Cover by Mark Gardner - small

Banquet: Lesbians in Space, #1

And there it is.

Lesbians.

So, erotica.

Lesbians = porn.

Because, as gay women, our lives are nonexistent unless we’re being used as fodder for someone’s personal sexual gratification. Or, at least, they don’t matter.

That stings.

I don’t blame the person in charge of that promotion. I know the reason probably wasn’t that they thought of lesbians as nothing more than erotica. The problem is that the lesbian books being published today – the ones that seem to dominate the LGBTQ list on Amazon and other seller sites – are erotica.

(To clarify, I have nothing against erotica. I just don’t write in the genre.)

I assume it started with the porn industry. At some point, someone decided that what would make porn for straight men sexier is to add gay women. Or… you know, straight women who were willing to make out with other women before they had sex with the straight men.

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Because that’s what lesbians do?

That’s a bitter pill to swallow.

For the uninformed, the point of being a lesbian is that you don’t have sex with men, straight or otherwise.

I understand and respect that there is a larger spectrum of sexuality than most of us realize. At the same time, some of the terms have remained the same for years, and lesbian is one of them.

What to do when I face the ‘lesbians = erotica’ question?

I answer honestly. No, it’s not erotica. It’s genre fiction that happens to include lesbians. There might be sex, and sometimes it gets intense – but the story is bigger than that.

As in life, the LGBTQ folks in my books meet people. They fall in love. They have sex. But they’re so much more than their sexual orientation and gender.

When you see the word lesbian, do you automatically think erotica?


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6 thoughts on “My Life is Not a Porno

  1. It’s a shame that your book was so misunderstood by this person. Hopefully they’ll accept your explanation. It’s also sad that the inclusion of LGBTQ characters automatically equals erotica to some people.

        1. I think there’s something to be said for visibility when it comes to those who wish to remain ignorant. Sure, some people can dive deeper into a fantasy when presented with their preconceptions being shattered every day, but most (I think) will eventually give in to what is obvious. At least I hope so, because that’s why I’m so passionate about telling stories about marginalized characters.

    1. I agree. Education – and not shoving people into boxes – is definitely the answer. All I can do is try to tell my story and hope that the message spreads. Thanks for visiting, Damyanti!

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