Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Bear's Thoughts on GRL 2013...

I'm not quite sure how to process this posting as yet. I attended last year as a reader, since I wasn't published at the time I registered, and there really wasn't a Reviewer slot. But my novel was published the day before GRL started, and I had another out co-written with another author.

The event itself was fun. I got to fan-boy and meet all my heroes. And that's what the event is about, right?

But now I am on the other side of the table. I am a published author and was considering registering as one this year. When I read this, though, I thought, will I be welcomed? I am an amoeba in a fishpond compared to hundreds of other authors, and will my "ranking" be enough to get me in as a writer?

The fact the event is in my home town makes me think I may, for several reasons. But I am seeing a lot of commentary from my peer group who are upset about the turn of events. And I can't blame them. I am too. But I like to take a longer view of it, and will make my decision to attend based on my personal ethics and beliefs when the time comes.

I am concerned however. This tastes and smells and feels like something I don't want to think about - elitism. It's very well reasoned and rolled out, but so was "All pigs are equal. Some are more equal than others, though..."

High school, for me, was over in 1979, and I choose not to revisit it, especially in this arena. I wasn't in the "Cool Kids" group then, and sure as hell am not now. And I can say, I have heard almost the same sentiment from at least ten other authors whose opinions I respect.

I just don't know.

I DO know that I have seen way too many instances where, in this small community of personalities, a tiny spark erupts into a flashfire, and oftentimes it's ridiculous and over the top. I couldn't write some of the drama that occurs in real life on Goodreads, or if I did, it would get one star. And TPTB may be counting on this announcement burning off before the website is opened to the public and slots sold.

And have no doubts, it WILL sell out.

But who will be there? And will it it be the best line-up for the fans, the readers, the reviewers?

Guys and gals of the committee, I hope it doesn't blow up in your faces.

One last this now a RWA event? Because I don't have my Little Orphan Annie decoder ring yet, so where does that leave me?

Wishing you a happy week.


PS  Here's the link to the GRL posting...


  1. This is a good post! :) I have a touch of social anxiety--also known as a large swath of it right through my soul--and I was already anxious about attending. This new drama has certainly sharpened my anxieties even more.

    Still, while ATL isn't my hometown, it's quite close, and so I'd be able to drive which is much more cost effective than other cons where I'd need to fly. So, I am considering going despite all of the discomfort and all of this additional drama.

    Perhaps I shall just try to sign up as a reader from the get go and not try for an author slot. That way I could at least get my feet wet with a Con before jumping in as an author.

    Anyway, thanks for this calm and reasoned post. I enjoyed it.

  2. I am a reader, reviewer. I dont want to go to an event that ALL the people I read, cannot attend comfortably and would have to go as a reader?????. Readers want to mingle with down to earth people who they enjoy.

    Our guild is looking at venues to promote our authors to readers....That is what it is all about.

  3. Tom, I was planning on attending---funny enough--to see people just like you--authors who I have gotten to know --want to met--most of whom I fear did not make "the list". Now I am in a quandry--in fact my friend--also an author--I am not sure she is on "the list" and she was going to be my roomie. As a first timer--this has left me confused and quite frankly--sad. I thought our genre was all about Inclusiveness---have to say Tom--this smacks of anything but!

    Not sure if I am going....but if I do---really hope to see you there--you and so many others!


  4. I am very disappointed. I was thrilled to meet you last year Tom and having read your stuff, I knew you would make a splash once you got published. Look how far you've come. I for one, registered when I had only 4 books out. When I actually attended, I had 7 or 8 and now I have 17 with another 12 to be released or re released this year. The thing is, I registered as an author last year because I wanted a seat at the signing table and as it was, I sold every book that I brought with me and gave away most of my swag.
    These conferences are a huge expense for authors, in terms of family, swag, traveling and hotels, food etc. To go and be treated as anything less than one of the "Must Haves" would not be a wise business decision. Yes, is fun to go and meet friends that you talk to every day, but to go and be singled out as (not one of the popular kids) *shakes head* Did high school once. Won't happen again. The GLBT community is supposed to be inclusive not exclusive and they just marginalized a WHOLE GROUP OF PEOPLE. Poorly played. Blessings on the new release, Tom :)

  5. This is my first time going to GRL and one of the big reasons I want to go is to meet you, Tom. When I saw the announcement that it would be in Atlanta I literally thought...oh Atlanta = Tom I need to find a way to go this year. I'm not really in a position to comment except to say that I'm disappointed that there's already a controversy. I, like you, have seen things blow up and can already feeling the 'battle lines' forming. In a genre which REALLY needs unity to be successful, it's sad to see more division.

  6. I totally had the "All pigs are created equal...but some are more equal than others" line go through my head. Seriously. I was glad to see you put it in print, because, huh...that's what it feels like.

  7. Great article Tom. I just can't support it. This stinks for authors who are middle of the road or newbies who'd like to get exposure. They're saying only the cool kids can play and like you said, I wasn't one of the cooler ones back in HS and I'm not even that now and I'm okay with it.

    Won't be supporting GRL. Cannot do it!

  8. What is upsetting me even more than the GRL policies is the attitude that readers want the unpopular authors to suck it up and give way to the popular ones. And if we're offended or hurt, that's too bad. Our feelings not only don't matter, but we're somehow behaving badly if we dare to express them. And as far as readers are concerned, this isn't to their benefit. It's simply narrowing their exposure to authors they might like to read, if they met them and talked to them for a few minutes.

  9. Im a new author and I've seen people talking about this. GRL is not an option for me this time around, but with all the negative feedback I have been reading, Im not sure about going in the future. I have never been to an event such as this prior so please forgive my ignorance, but it does seem to be counter intuitive that given the small size of our genre, that we would try to limit exposure at all. I don't understand that way of thinking.
    The gay community is small enough, as a show of solidarity and the off chance that bystanders and passerby's would look in on an event such as this one and see the massive size of it, would indicate to them that "Hey, there is something going on here." If the 'fans' don't want to have to wade through the plethora of authors than I don't know what to say. Comicons, Star Trek conventions, and all other nerdy things don't have a tendency to shrink, they get bigger. So, I don't understand the notion of shrinking the event and then make authors jockey for position. If the the 'fans' don't want to see them, then don't stop by their table or booth or what have you. Say an author went, and one single fan walked up to them and said, "Hey, I loved your book, I connected with such and such character, it made me laugh, cry, or get angry. I can't wait to read more from you." Then whats the harm done? Anyone want to explain this?