Will gay protagonists stifle my chances at success?

So I have written three YA novels in the past 4 years one being about a gay painter and the other two a duo about a gay musician. The novels explore many topics but they do have the homosexual artist type as the protagonist. Do you think it will be detrimental in targeting the audience? I do not want to be labelled as a gay niche writer becuse the main topic is the life of an artist. They just happen to be gay because it makes it easier for me to explore their sensuous side, their feelings and it plays into the inadequacy of the tormented artist-type.

  • Yes they will, the general audience won't care to read about gay people.
    35% (6)52% (11)45% (17)Vote
  • No, the whole story is more important than the protagonist's sexuality.
    65% (11)48% (10)55% (21)Vote
And you are? I'm a GirlI'm a Guy

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Dude have you seen the success of Yaoi? That shit is popular O_O I don't understand why tho

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    • 2mo

      Hahahah! My books are partly yaoi based haahhaha

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    • 1mo

      Vampire Chronicles is loaded with subtle homo erotica vibes throughout it as well and it's super successful, changed Vampire fiction "lore" forever.

      anyway I know this post is getting old, just wanted to say you should write with a focus on what you like not what others may or may not like.

    • 1mo

      @Jager66 i know ^^ i just wanted to test the waters a little

What Guys Said 16

  • if the work is strong then regardless of the sexual orientation of the characters you will have an audience. since the majority of americans are tolerant of homosexuality there is clearly a large audience

    you certainly run the risk however of being viewed as a niche writer if your books all feature gay protagonists

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    • 2mo

      Pretty much this. By reusing the same gimmick (the tortured gay artist), you WILL pigeonhole yourself, even by fans of your work. And that will work against you.

      It would be like if I wrote cop stories, but every cop was an orphan from an abusive background. It would get old quickly, and people buy stories for FRESH ideas.

  • I can't vote because I honestly don't know. I do know that a new movie coming out called King Cobra, which is about a gay porn star, has a lot of people saying they won't watch it because it involves a gay guy, but that's also mainly ignorant people. I don't want to watch King Cobra because it's a movie about a porn star and the cast looks mediocre, so I just don't think i'll find that interesting haha. However, I feel those who read novels, especially the type of novel you are describing, are 1) Primarily female; so I doubt it would deter the majority of your potential audience if the protagonist is gay and 2) More intellectual; meaning they will no matter be more accepting. In Canada I feel it wouldn't even be questioned but USA is just a different animal.

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  • The problem with emphasizing homosexuality in a story is what I like to call the "gay goo" factor: it quickly becomes a sort of malignant plot tumor, that completely takes over - unless the writer is extremely talented and can avoid the temptation to make it the entire point of the story. Just the nature of the vice, really.

    "Orange is the New Black" cheats quite a bit, by moving everything to a prison setting and pretending PREA-2k3 doesn't exist, so nobody cares that 90% of the cast is made up of lesbians (and that the guards are even more crooked than the inmates.) That way, they just jump to lesbian sex whenever they hit a bump and can't think of anything more constructive or entertaining to write about.

    I tend to cheat the issue by going the opposite direction: there are no gays. (In Camelorum Adventures, it doesn't really matter. PREA-2k3 may not exist in that setting either, but characters are too worried about getting eaten by sea monsters / getting mutated into giant insects / getting trapped in another dimension to care about rape anyway.)

    Even in situations where you'd expect lesbians, I nerf it to "big sister, little sister" and "mentor/apprentice" relationships.

    90% of gay men in my work are villains. (And there aren't that many gays even amongst the villain population!) GLAAPC (GL Alliance Against All Possible Criticism) in "Stationery Voyagers" is the only group of them that is also politically fanatical to the point of openly engaging in domestic terrorism and explicitly stating their intentions to sodomy-rape literal angels.

    (I came up with the idea for them as villains in 2004. Little did I know the real thing under Obama would become almost that extreme, nor that they'd target private bakers and photographers to this extent for outright extortion! Michael Swift warned us! Nobody believed he was serious, because his manifesto sounds crazy, even by today's standards!)

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  • If they are over the top gay and it is like the biggest part of their character some people will see that as negatively affecting the book however I don't know the readers of these novels but I suspect it's mainly girls tbh and I doubt they would give a shit.

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    • 2mo

      I think it is very suitable for female readers plus women do read twice as much as men anyway... :D

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    • 2mo

      yeah I've only read like 9 books and only liked 4 of them I just stick to audiobooks at this point.

    • 2mo

      See xD

  • At best (if at all) it'll get one or two days of hype from liberals and such. Afterwards nobody will care and/or would want to read it.

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  • Not if you're aiming them at a teen female reading demographic. But still, you might want to mix it up a bit and try using a different protagonist with the next novel, or you'll have your books consigned to the LGBTQ section on the bookshelves in the bookshops and libraries permanently. And the whole 'gay angst' thing's overdone, to the extent that it's a cliche.

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  • They major key to writing a successful novel is having a relatable protagonist. By making your character gay, it becomes harder for a majority of the population to identify with them, and so your book probably won't be as well received. One way you can overcome this is by writing from the perspectives of multiple characters in separate chapters. That way the audience gets a standard character, and you still get to put in the character you want too.

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  • At the moment I think it may be problematic. A gay friend of the main character can be pulled off though.

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  • Quite frankly, that's a tricky situation. The reason why hetero romance in novels (from trashy pulp fiction to literary classics) doesn't cause controversy is because most people are straight, so it's "normal" to them. Writing a novel with gay romance that appeals to a straight audience is a challenge. If you focus too much on the fact that they are gay, then you risk turning away a large part of your audience who don't identify or relate to your characters... but, how do you convey the emotions of the characters without focusing on the fact that they are in love with someone of the same gender? I guess if you simply treat them as two *people* who love each other, without any kind of agenda, that might alienate the least amount of your audience, but there's always going to be someone out there who finds it repulsive, just because.

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  • I say the time is right, to have stories with gay protagonists. I don't think you'll be typecast as a "gay writer", as long as you write other works that are just as good as this one.

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  • I read several opinion below, i dont know where you live , but in japan yaoi is extremely popular among girls..

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  • Having gay main characters will probably be a boost with publishers

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    • 2mo

      omg cuz the stereotype that they're fags themselves right? xD

    • 2mo

      Because publishers love gay and non white characters. I think it will boost your odds of being published and lower your sales.

  • hun you can say whatever you want
    you are pushing your belief
    just like I push my belief

    difference is you are wrong and i have enough evidence to back up my claim

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    • 2mo

      what the heck are you talking about? xD

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    • 2mo

      Ohhh, oh no no. :D There is no agenda there. Only a painfully real state of affairs, some good, some worse, as is with all things.

    • 1mo

      and i have a claim that water is wet. wanna fight about it?

  • No I think liberals will love it

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  • For me personally, I don't like reading a story with gay characters. It is too distracting and I can't focus on the story enough to enjoy it. I have stopped reading a particular author because of them including this in a story.

    What it may do is get people that enjoy gay literature to read other stuff you write, but it may get readers like myself to not consider reading any more of your work.

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  • Nobody wants to read gay shit

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    • 2mo

      Exactly one of my thoughts.

What Girls Said 9

  • I am conservative, and I'd still read it.

    A book is a book. If it has a good storyline, I accept that they have their own views, and accept the story as it is written.

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  • You really shouldn't write so much shit about gay people I personally wouldn't care if maybe one character was gay but if all your characters were gay I would not read.

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  • You may have to write some other stories without gay characters at all to avoid that label and submit them at the same time.

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  • Heyyyy can I get the title of those books I'm a huge yaoi fan myself. It'd be nice to see them in a longer form.

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    • 2mo

      :) They have just been drafted so hold your horses ^^ aww thankssss

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    • 2mo

      Yeah sure

    • 2mo

      thanks dude good luck with your story I think im ur number one fan im excited now! :)

  • Ever listen to Welcome to Night Vale? It's a great example of a series with a protagonist that happens to be gay, but there's more to his character than just his sexuality. There's a huge difference between well-developed, interesting characters that happen to also be gay, and one-dimensional characters whose only trait is that they're gay.

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  • Both A and B. Just because the story is more important doesn't mean most people wanna read about it.

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  • Sadly gay books don't do well in the reading world.

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    • 1mo

      and its pretty noticeable just go on goodreads and check the top books and google about the book and whether they have homosexuality in the book. The top 10 don't 99% of the time in most genres.

  • Cassandra Clare has gay protagonists and is kicking ass.

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  • If your book sucks, it will stifle your chances at success.

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