Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Le Tour on a footy field, and what next for gay publishing?

The Red Eyes of July are back ... blame the French for holding their bike race in the middle of the night. Do they have any idea what it's like, trying to stay awake in the bleak, cold, small hours of a winter's morning, to keep up with Le Tour? Last night was the individual time trial, so I was inspired to keep the eyes open. Tonight, we'll probably let the DVD recorder take it, since it's 'just' a flat stage (and I know, you wouldn't say 'just' if you had to ride the goddamned thing), before they get into the mountains the next day. It's sheer, unmittigated sadism. For the viewers, I mean.

In fact, viewers ought to be elligible to win awards, for their particpation in this annual trial by ordeal. The most outstanding of us ought to get colored jerseys and stuffed animals, like the podium-place finishers. It's an endurance event: 23 days in July, when you don't get enough sleep and can't seem to wake up before mid-morning. Not to mention the definite effect all this has on your bum. You KNOW you're going flat, from sitting in front of the tube. You can FEEL the flatness accumulating as the days turn into weeks. You grow accustomed to a certain numbness in the posterior ... you start to worry about deep venous whatever it is ... and as alluring as a veritable swarm of athletic young men in bright spandex might be (and it is), you start to think longingly of a rugby game. You know, the kind of thing which is over, done, FINISHED, in 80 minutes, plus halftime.

(Not that you could hold much of a bike race in 80 minutes, even if you didn't let the boys have halftime. It would be a headlong sprint between morning tea and lunch, with a maximum of maybe five or six TV commercial spots; so it wouldn't raise much money ... and, because it wouldn't be so lucrative, few of the celebrity riders would show up for it. In the end, the TV people and organizers would probably decide to use the time more productively; for instance, hold a rugby game, which can be done inside the time constraint. Not that you'd get much of a rugby game, because bike racers are way too skinny to be much use in a scrum. Good gods, can you imagine Lance Armstrong and Robbie McEwan going up against Tana Umaga and Willy Mason? It would be like a remake of King Kong, with either of those bikers in the Faye Wray part. (By halftime, they'd find Willy Mason on top of one of the lighting towers with Robbie McKewan in his hand. Unless you let Lance and Robbie keep their bikes, in which can Tana and Willy would never actually catch them.)

If none of this is making much sense, blame Le Tour for being on in the middle of the night: I'm suffering from sleep deprivation. It does disgusting things to what few brain cells survived the Kreeping Krudd. Speaking of which:

Head cold report: it's easing off and I'm back at work.

Have been writing for the 'write your novel' site today, as well as looking at a lot of gay publishing websites, trying to figure out if the industry is as slow as it seems to be, or if it's just Keegan who's out of touch. Turns out, it's a bit of both. I am out of touch, but not way out; and the industry has gone fairly flat in the last ten years. Some gay stuff is being published, but the scene is not what it was, and if you're a new, aspiring gay writer these days, things might look a bit lean. It's no wonder young writers are turning to ebooks ... the problem being that, if you give them away (as is happening frequently), you might have droves of loyal fans, but you'll never get to give up the day job.

I have a couple of links which make interesting reading:

Books Guardian Unlimited">Why don't straight people read gay books? (Well, in fact, some do: a number of MK's readers are straight ... a small number, I grant you, but they're out there. Flocking by twos and threes.)

Calling All Gay Writers... (Well, not *all* gay writers. You have to be unpublished ... and there's a geographical prerequisite in there, the intro, the lunches with agents, and what have you. Won't do you a shred of good if you're from Aukland, New Zealand.)

Gay Authors Community (Gay fiction online; register and login to read. Very cool indeed, in fact ... but those day jobs are staying put.)

Gay Ebooks, downunder. (And they're freebies, which speaks volumes. Authors -- no matter their gender or sexual preference! -- don't give their material away and then go clean people's carpets or work supermarket checkouts ... unless they have to. Hmmm.)

Anyway, take a look and you'll see what's on my mind as I begin to contribute to the new 'how to write' site. There's a disturbing, even sad element, here. And the most optimistic bottom line that I can see is that this community has to stand together, stick together, and patronize our own. Kind of 'support your local,' albeit on a global scale, via the WWW. If gay publishing is going to flourish online (as is taking place), and gay- and gay-friendly readers around the world support the trend, we'll do so well, other independent publshing enterprises will wonder how the hell it was done. We'll be able to rell them that we ARE a genre, in and of ourselves: we write, publish and read in our genre, and (here's the business end of it) we support our own group.

You have to wonder if it could be made to work.

Got to get some more work done!

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