Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Things to Be Thankful For to the M/M Romance Genre... by Adara O'Hare


As this is the month of Thanksgiving, I've tried to find the things about the genre for which I'm most thankful. Here is the list I came up with.

1.      As far as genres go, it's still fairly small. That's both a blessing and a curse. But, we have the opportunity to shape how this genre grows and what we want to see from our M/M stories. The authors and publishers are asking us readers all the time for what we want. For example, there was enough demand for non-HEA/HFN and Young Adult stories that certain publishers now have lines for non-HEA/HFN and YA titles, which make them easy to find. And to avoid, if that's not your thing.
 
2.      The community has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 5 years. The growth of the GoodReads M/M Romance group is a good example. (I use it because I know where to find the numbers. If I were a publisher, I'm sure I'd use release and sales numbers, but I don't have those handy, so this is what you get.) The group started in August 2009. In December 2009, they celebrated 400 members. When I joined in September 2010, there were not quite 1400 members. In August 2011, during their 2nd anniversary, they crossed 4000 members. On October 20 of this year, the 8000th member joined.

So, why do I call that a good thing? Well, of course growth always has growing pains, but the good thing about growth is you can more easily find other people who share the same passion you do. Some of them might even be in your area. Some of us didn't have anyone to discuss our passion for M/M with before joining the growing number of blogs and publisher communities, and GoodReads.
 
3.      The genre is wide open to whatever sort of story you like: mystery, horror, historical, paranormal, fantasy, contemporary, etc. For readers and writers, it's a very wide playground and attracts a variety of people. You can write or read what you like within the romance. And in some cases, there's not even much of that. And that's okay too.
 
4.      It likely would have been a very long time before I knew anyone who was trans. It is because of the genre community that I became more informed of trans issues, and how they differ from gay/lesbian issues, and also met some wonderful, awesome people, online and at GayRomLit.
 
5.      Speaking of GRL, that was an absolutely fabulous convention! Retreat. Weekend long party. However you want to label it. (And no, it wasn't my first one. I've been to several different conventions, both large and small. My first GRL though.) It was so much fun to meet in person the people I've been speaking to online for the past two years. And in more than one conversation and blog post after-the-fact, I have heard many say that they never felt more like themselves in their entire lives, because everyone was happy to be around others who knew who they were and what they did for a living (and didn't care). They didn't have to hide anything. That's not to say there wasn't some drama here and there, but from what I can tell, it was fairly limited.  I honestly suggest that anyone who is on the fence about going needs to give it a try next year in Atlanta.

(For those who are worried about their real life identity, it's probably not the best idea though. You can't really escape it between checking in at the hotel or registration or sometimes events that happen during GRL. I was completely surprised at one point when my real name was called out loud— for a reader giveaway just before the book signing event—instead of the name I'd put on my badge. I have also seen posts where even authors, who are fairly protected by their pennames the entire time, were called out about real life identities, and that made me sad.)
 
6.      I've made some damn good friends, some of whom I miss greatly since GRL ended. I've been very fond of saying for years that the Internet brings people together and keeps them apart at the same time. (But, as my other half moved in with me within three months of first talking to him in an online game, and marrying him within six months, I can say it doesn't always keep you apart if you don't let it.)
 
7.      I've donated to more charities since I started reading M/M Romance. Not even specifically because of the M/MR group, though I have donated every time the group has run a donation event since I joined, even if it was just $1. But I've donated to other disasters and charities as well.
 
8.      I've become more political since I started reading M/M Romance. And not just on civil issues, though that is a big one for me. I've also joined my state's equality group and support them in various ways.
 
9.      I've honestly become a better person than I was.

10.  And, I rediscovered my enjoyment of romance and writing. Even if I still don't do it very often just yet, I'm not going to lose it this time around. I'll get there in my own time. And I know I'll have friends cheering me along the way when I do.

Those are the main things I'm thankful to the M/M Romance genre for. Do any of those ring true for you as well?

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Adara O’Hare is a geek in writer’s clothing—a mild-mannered website designer by day and a wife, mother, reader, and sometimes writer by night. Adara is an avid reader who writes on occasion, mostly for her own enjoyment. You can find her online here:


3 comments:

  1. I don't know that I'll be able to check comments until after I return home from the holidays. I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving, and I'll be back very late on Sunday. =)

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  2. Great post Adara! Happy Thanksgiving! :D

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving as well. =)

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