From the very start, as a gay male author, I accepted that I would invite challenges by writing science fiction for gay men.
For one brief moment, I even considered that I should write science fiction for straight readers. My thinking was that readers who are gay–particularly gay males–are fewer in number compared to the population of straight readers of both genders.
So, if I were to proceed with writing for my intended audience of gay men, but I knew that I likely would generate very little revenue by targeting that particular segment of the population. I went ahead and wrote science fiction for readers who happen to be gay and male because that’s what I am.
I do not expect to generate significant revenue from my gay science fiction eBook series because I am a grownup and I accept that the total available audience for my eBooks is small, especially when compared to mass audiences for works like cookbooks or romance novels.
In order to broaden my reach to the largest possible audience, however, I attempted to get another writer of science fiction to mention me and my science fiction writer on his blog. That other writer is male and around 40 and he writes very cool, edgy science fiction. I learned of him online at Fiverr.com where he offered to mention writers and their science fiction writing if you pay him to do so.
This amounts to buying exposure online on someone’s blog with high traffic, but I have no moral objections with doing so. I agreed to pay $50 through Fiverr.com — that site probably should be renamed Fiftierr.com to be more truthful in advertising. The science fiction writer in Southern California — http://www.matnastos.net/ — at first agreed to this arrangement as we communicated entirely through Fiverr.com.
Ultimately, that writer in Southern California would not take my money, however. He notified me in a text message using these exact words: “Unfortunately, the material wasn’t appropriate to my blog’s audience. Good luck with your work and take care.”
I felt discriminated against, but I saved $50 while learning a valuable lesson: Just because a writer is young and he writes cool and edgy science fiction does not mean that he will give a damn about any other science fiction writer. Even my agreement to pay him $50 wasn’t enough for him.
That kind of rejection was certainly one of the challenges I had anticipated when I wrote science fiction for gay male readers. But, to be rejected even after offering someone a financial consideration was a big surprise to me.
I have thought of science fiction as one of the few genres in which characters, behaviors, and ideas are tolerated–if not celebrated–even when they venture outside the lines of conventional storytelling. But, I have learned that even in 2014, anti-gay prejudice is alive and well within the science fiction community.