Sunday, June 1, 2014

Interview of Sandra Moran on "It's Our Community"

I just finished listening to Sandra Moran's interview on It's Our Community.   If you haven't listened to it, you can find it on You Tube at
It's Our Community - Sandra Moran

Or apparently you can click on this notice since it popped in when I listed the address.  That was a surprise.

I know many of you have read Letters Never Sent and I've just bought it.  Funny, I gave it to a friend for Christmas and didn't get a copy for myself.

Anyway, it's a good interview, but I have a bone to pick with it.  The interviewer and Sandra were talking about books not being pigeon-holed and not wanting to label her book "lesbian" and lose readers.  I agree whole heartedly with that.  In the days when publishers used to label books "lesbian," I argued against that for several reasons.  A good book should be read because it's a good book.  It shouldn't lose readers because of a category.  As I said, I haven't read the book yet, but a lot of you have and have commented on it, so I expect it to be excellent.

The interviewer made the comment though that lesbian publishers aren't needed.  Sandra then said that she hoped the day would come when lesbian literature would be accepted as literature and that alone.  I agree with that, too, but I wish she had made a comment about the publishers.  Some of our publishers haven't done as good a job as others, but we owe them all a debt of gratitude and I think we need to remember that and celebrate it.

I never prowled book counters looking for paperback books in the days of Ann Bannon or Patricia Highsmith.  I'm old enough, but the lights went on later for me, so I missed that experience.  I do remember finding Naiad though and getting the catalog through the mail in its plain brown envelope.  I would pour over the list and order books that came in plain wrappers.  Then I discovered other companies and got their books, too.  Bookstores around my area, the ones that are left, still don't carry lesbian literature except in a very limited version, so I've always had to depend on the publishers.  I have thousands of lesbian books now and I don't think I bought more than a dozen or so of them in a bookstore.  That includes making sure I made a trip to Lambda Rising every time I went near Washington, DC.

I know many authors are now self-publishing and that's fine as long as they do a good job.  A lot of what I see on Amazon looks like junk, but that's my opinion and people are entitled to read what they want.  However, we shouldn't ever forget what the publishers have done and will do for us.  They provided books when no one else would or could.  I suspect they will be needed in the future just as much.  There will be certain types of books (yes, I guess I'm thinking about erotica mainly) that some will want to read that mainstream companies may not be as interested in publishing.  They also still act as a wonderful training place for new authors IF they do their job properly.

I think the interviewer on the show was being very naive to say that we don't need lesbian publishers, for good books or any others.  I'd certainly hate to see that come true.

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