Will Agents and Publishers Accept This...?

by Gilbert

Question: In my YA novel, there is a homosexual relationship. They're not the main focus of the plot, or even the subplot - but they are both MCs and do play a major role in the story, and there are some scenes between them. I've heard stories and read articles online about authors being rejected because of this, and I was wondering how commonplace this practice is?

Answer: Judging from my local bookstore, which has a shelf in the YA section dedicated to lesbian and gay novels, I would say some publishers are certainly publishing such books. In fact, it could even be considered a reasonably hot topic. Certainly, one sees a fair number of teens these days who have an interest in gender issues and various forms of non-traditional sexual identity.

That's not to say every jurisdiction is the same. Certainly, some libraries and school boards (particularly in very religious areas) may be reluctant to purchase such books, which may mean some loss of sales in these places. Big cities may sell more than rural areas.

However, there's nothing like censorship to breed curiosity, so I would not be surprised if online bookstores and ebook sellers picked up the slack.

What I would suggest is that, when you go to market your book, you approach agents and publishers who have a history of, if not a stated interest in, publishing LGBT YA books. And perhaps avoid Christian publishers unless they have published Christian LGBT books (not all Christian denominations are homophobic).

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