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.
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No, the whole story is more important than the protagonist's sexuality.
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
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.