Monday Musings: Full Disclosure Not Required But Recommended

Monday Musings

Ok, I’ve been holding this in for a while because I have very mixed feelings about the subject, so let’s go!

I respect an author’s prerogative to write and market their book(s) any way they see fit, BUT…you may do so at a tremendous price, and in the last week, I’ve seen an author’s latest release nearly decimated because one,Β  she tagged it (initially) as a BWWM romance, and two, the main character ended up being a man who was secretly (or not) in love with another man. The author was RIPPED.TO.SHREDS.

While I understand the ire of the “readers” (and I put readers in quotes because many of those scathing reviews came from broads who admitted they didn’t even read the damn book but was in their feelings because it was a “gay” romance and they don’t like gay romance…The homophobia was stinking like garbage sitting in the hot sun.), I didn’t like the personal attacks the author received.


When your core audience is heterosexual women who love to read about a man and woman in a relationship, and that’s all you’ve written up to that point, you must should disclose that your upcoming or latest release is anything but, especially when you’re book is a gay romance. There are still a lot of homophobes in this world (and that ain’t gon change no time soon), and just like an author who writes IR romance primarily and decides to drop an AA love story or vice versa, you must let the natives know because they will turn on you faster than an over-ripe banana.

I seen't it

Yes, I get it. Artistic freedom and all that, but in the long run, is it worth not disclosing your story contains gay sex or a menage? Those 1-star reviews are more powerful than you think. Just a thought. What say you about it?


17 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Full Disclosure Not Required But Recommended

  1. I read this post as I walked to pick up my morning coffee and cackled in the street at the “I seent it” gif! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    I agree with you. For me, disclaimers go on every book because I know how fickle readers can be. Sometimes it still doesn’t matter. People will purchase a book that contains what they consider objectionable content, and still drag an author. 😳

    From the other standpoint, I don’t agree with blindsiding readers. If you want to expand your writing horizons that’s great but let readers decide if it’s for them. I gotta say, now I’m intrigued to read this book! πŸ‘€

    1. Yup, yup! Readers need handholding sometimes. You gotta let em know what they’re in for or it could be a disaster. I think she’ll recover tho because she has supporters.

  2. Interesting topic. Was it meant to be a M/M book, or is it a trans-woman with a cis-man? Either way, it shouldn’t matter, and that’s very unfortunate for the author =(

    I admit, as a pan-cis woman, I don’t often(notice how I said often) M/M. Not because I think it’s not for me. More because I have friends who have reservations about it, being gay men themselves, especially when it’s not written by men. I do think women can write it well, I won’t say they can’t. Just their personal feelings about what it’s become versus what the genre could be gives me reservations as well.

    But I know Harper writes M/M. I may give it a try, just because it’s her :p But for this author I genuinely feel bad. I hope she recovers from this =(

    1. The fact that it wasn’t BWWM as this author is known and followed and read for is what caused the brouhaha. She posted lil teasers like “coming soon in the xyz series” but never let it be known that there was a gay storyline and that couple wouldn’t be a BWWM.

  3. Readers build trust with authors. They know there are certain things they can expect and look forward to, including shocking plot twists. But throwing in a *M/M* spin is not a plot twist – it’s a genre switch and regular readers (and new) will feel like it’s been forced upon them. The trust has been broken, and now all future books are suspect. It just isn’t worth the potential damage to an author’s career.

    Lots of promo time is spent hyping upcoming releases with teasers, excerpts, and trailers. Disclose “questionable” content and let readers decide for themselves. Credibility remains in place, and NEW readers may come aboard.

  4. I do appreciate a disclaimer. I like to at least have a heads up, but I have seen people get upset even when the author has one. Folks today are mad at everything and seem to be looking for a reason or person to jump on. The new Dickey book has some F/F elements that came out of nowhere and I haven’t seen reviews from people having a fit over it. This makes me wonder if the fits are only thrown when the readers feel like they ‘know’ the author and they have more interactions with them on social media, therefore feeling that they have more say in what the author writes.

    1. I think the latter part of what you said plays a big factor. When authors open themselves up, some people just go buckwild and think they have a say in what an author should or shouldn’t write because hey, we put you “on” so you owe us…

  5. All good points in this recent post. Readers can be a picky and judgmental lot. They know what they like and what they don’t, even if what they don’t like is based on racial and gender prejudice, for example. The cover artist for my second book created a design with an African American man and a white woman. Now, nowhere in the cover questionnaire I completed did I note this particular pairing. So, of course, I rejected the design. My major issue was that the design was simply misleading. There are many people who look for an enjoy IR books who would’ve been angry and felt cheated or lied to if I allowed that cover to be published knowing the couple inside were two African Americans. More, as an author who takes pride in writing “Black Love,” I want my covers to represent my characters.

    I do feel bad for the author for the backlash. I also understand why the author may have chosen to “hide” the true pairing of the story.

    1. Now, for this particular book, it was just a white guy on the cover, as all of her books are in this particular series, but yes, I have seen very misleading covers where the couple nowhere represents who the author is writing about. And yes, these authors were also flamed for the misrepresentation. This romance business is serious stuff for sure.

  6. I wonder why the author chose not to be upfront about her genre change when she was promoting her book. She has the right to follow any path her imagination takes her as a writer. If she was trying to expand her audience it seems like marketing the book for what it actually is would have been totally appropriate. Her loyal fans would know upfront and some would be disappointed, but I’m sure it’s better than feeling misled. Folks can get over disappointment if they know what’s going on. It’s a little harder when you feel that you’ve been lied to.

    She wrote a gay romance. She needs to own it, not run from it.

    1. Yup. I don’t know this author well, but I know she has a following. I can only speculate why she didn’t initially disclose the genre. Maybe it was fear of alienating some readers or maybe she wanted there to be an element of “surprise” but same-sex romances are a very delicate subject matter for some people and yeah, it should’ve been disclosed.

  7. As a reader, I really appreciate when the author discloses that their book is venturing into a different genre, so I was a little disappointed that this author didn’t do so this time. I’m wondering in this instance if some of the backlash may also have been due to the fact that this was the final book in the series, which people were anticipating and wanted/needed to read to close things out. Either way, I do think there was a little blindsiding here, but hope that loyal fans will still stick with her future works. She really is a wonderful writer but switching genres seems less like a plot twist in the end, when done with no disclosure, and more like deception to readers. At the end of the day she can write whatever she likes, I just hope next time she opts to include a disclaimer if she switches things up again. I’m still looking forward to reading more from her though.

  8. I have to agree here! Although my taste vary and I am pretty open minded to read anything, I’d like to know what type of content I am about to read. Example: I picked up a book that upon further reading discovered it was a romance with the heroine’s stepbrother. Not my taste. It made me uncomfortable lol in my mind regardless of no actual blood relation I was just like “ew. Incest. Next.” Had the author made it known like most in this taboo genre (that’s what they’re calling it) I would have passed.

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