When I blog, I am normally fueled by an emotion. Usually, the emotions are pride, humor, sadness, curiosity and anger. When I decide how I am going to present my thoughts or story I use either heartfelt emotions if I am proud or sad, and irony or sarcasm if it’s humor or anger. Curiosity I just pepper you with questions. These are my MO’s so to speak…you’re always getting me- but which “me” depends on how I am feeling.

I have been laying in bed staring at the ceiling for the past hour, because I am not sure how to write about my idea for today. It’s not pride or humor. It’s not really sadness or anger. I guess it’s more confusion. I am just not sure why this particular thing bothers me so much…

So here goes an entirely new writing emotion for me: confusion

I recently read “The House in the Cerulean Sea” by TJ Klune. Those who know me know that I LOVED this book. I thought it was a brilliant description of love is love and acceptance is necessary and powerful. I imagine a world where this book will be in my top ten of the year, most probably in the first spot.

So you get how much I love the book.

I usually read e copies of books, so I don’t pay too much attention to the covers of books. And if I am looking at a cover, it’s more for the “feel” of the novel. Rarely do I read the one liner blurbs that are scattered on book covers- I find them distracting. However, when I was in a book store I happened to actually look at the cover of Cerulean…

On the top right corner of the book stood the words-

A big gay love story

And here’s my thing: Why don’t we just say “A big love story”? Isn’t it enough that it’s a great love story?

Does it really matter that it’s a gay love story?

Shouldn’t we just be celebrating love?

Why does it matter if it’s gay or straight?

It’s a beautiful, heart felt book that I think everyone should read. Period. I have rarely felt the love and the humanity that this book displays.

It is almost perfect.

Does it need a disclaimer?

So I guess I’m confused about what I see as a marketing ploy. I think it does this gorgeous novel a disservice.

After all, love is love…

107 thoughts on “What Do We Need

      1. I don’t think I need it on there. Some people will be more likely to read it with that on the cover. Others will never read it with that on the cover. I guess people need that now?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. But isn’t that bad? Doesn’t that divide us more? My daughter said similar to you, and I wonder if tagging it is better than this blurb on the cover. It’s a book about being kind to those different than you. Shouldn’t we all read it?

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  1. Yes, love is love! I find it weird that even in real life, people are still introduced as “my gay friend” or “my gay cousin”. So weird that you find such in books too😭😭

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t understand it either. But that’s because (and I am assuming here) you and I don’t mind a gay love story. I’ve read enough Amazon and Goodreads reviews to know that some people will be upset because they wanted to know what they were getting into before spending money on a book about “gay love.”

    Liked by 5 people

    1. The problem is, this is a book about soooo much more than that!! It’s not a harlequin novel. It’s beautifully rendered novel about individuals that can be seen as odd, but how they feel and think and act the same as everyone else. It’s a lesson on how to treat others with kindness and respect. To give it such a narrow focus is disheartening and shallow

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Yes. I see this with other topics, like kink, bdsm, graphics… I still agree that love is love, but if the book is about more than just the love story itself then the blurb is misleading. Why call it a gay love story if it’s about more than that? Too simplistic and poor promotional choice by the publisher.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I haven’t read the book, So I really can’t answer. It’s sort of confusing, then, that the promotional/descriptive copy includes the word “gay”. If the copy is misleading, then it won’t help to promote readership by either the gay or straight community.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think many readers still have a low tolerance for stories outside the fence. They’ve been raised in boy/girl houses and that cant (or won’t) change. Some people read for the story. Which, in this book, they should. But prejudice runs deep. A Gay book would offend them as much as a mixed race couple, and they don’t want to be reminded of their prejudices.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Emotions are a writer’s best friend! I believe curiosity is a marketer’s best friend. They should have left that part out. Let it be a pleasant surprise for those who might be offended! I have put it on my reading list. Thank you for the recommendation LA 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t read this, so I’m just guessing here, but the reason it’s labeled such is because the author would get eviscerated in reviews by a certain portion of readers if they started it THEN discovered it was a guy couple. Not everyone is open minded.

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    1. What I don’t get is that o don’t think it was on the original copies…I think it was later copies. I’m going to Barnes now to research it. But to limit it to a gay love story is to totally diminish the impact of this book…it’s sooooo much more

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  6. I agree with several comments. Its not okay to limit a great book to a blurb on the cover that could be misconstrued. But it could have had the blurb added at a later date because of complaints about what is seen as a limited story. Its like with the music wars of the 80’s when the covers had to be labeled with parental warnings. Maybe the blurb is turning into the music warnings of the current day?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems like every time they reprint they do a different blurb…there’s a different blurb on now as opposed to a few months ago when I saw the blurb I spoke about…it just limits the scope of this book

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a friend who is a librarian and she said the current trend in mid-grade fiction through adults is gay love stories, gay parents, gay protagonists, etc. She was commenting that it’s definitely a trend and popular in publishing right now. So I view that tagline as a marketing ploy. And I agree with you that love is love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just hate trends…and I get that there’s always trends…like after gone girl we had the twist trend, now we get the unreliable narrator….but yeah…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So if I intrigue you with a cover and title but neglect to tell you there’s BDSM in the story, how would you feel if you didn’t know?

    I read the blurbs to allow myself the opportunity to opt out of a topic that doesn’t interest me.

    As far as love is love is concerned, yes I’d want to know. I read so many hetero stories it would attract me to read something which has a spin away from the standard. Gay love story? Sound more intriguing than the usual boy meets girl story.

    If that makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But here’s the problem…to reduce it to “gay love story” soooo wrong and doesn’t begin to explain the power of the book. The book is so much more than that….to be fair….the love story part is such a small part of the overall theme…

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    1. But see, this isn’t really a “gay” story. It’s a book about accepting people who don’t look like you, or are different than you and not judging. To reduce it to that takes away the beautiful message this book imparts

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But I think that’s also the point. “Gay” stories are just stories, but for those who don’t have a lot of them in mainstream, it’ll be helpful to categorize.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just thought about something which I responded to Deb. Here’s my problem. This blurb reduces the book to being one thing…it doesn’t factor in that a book is more than ine thing. It’s the exact opposite of the sentiment the book expresses…it’s making you judge the book by its cover…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So I get that. Someone who (for whatever reason) doesn’t like/engage with this community, may miss out on a good book that really isn’t that much about the thing they put on the cover.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Exactly. And honestly, I almost missed out because it’s a fantasy/science fiction and I don’t normally like those genres….so sometimes you have to spread your wings a little

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yeah that’s how I feel about Octavia Butler’s work. So many people suggested it, and I was like hard pass on the sci-fi. But turns out her novels are amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Clearly you feel passionate about the concept behind this book, and you want others to find that same premise as they read. Some who read it will see that, others will find their own meaning and still others may not find the book appealing at all. It’s well known that books are marketed to specific audiences, as well as labeled in cautionary ways to forestall backlash. Being labeled as a “gay love story” may have little influence either way. For those who don’t read the book there will likely be just as many who do. However, a reader will always impart their own perspective into what is presented I think. Ultimately there is no way to really control that outcome, no matter what label comes along to sell the book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. But to be serious…the problem that I have with the blurb is that it reduces the book to being one thing, instead of a compilation of ideas. And that is exactly the opposite message if the book. The books message is to not judge someone my one thing….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In this case it does seem as if the intent of that one message was being used to warn or cover possible backlash. Is that the only “label”? Is the book described differently inside/on the back cover/elsewhere? What about reviews? How are they approaching the overall focus of the book?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What’s funny is I think they change the blurb with each reprinting because I just went to bookstore and now it’s different than the one on my cover and the one I saw a few months ago…

        Liked by 1 person

  10. If you look at talk or panel shows these days you will see a world that is very different to the world we actually live in – one that is crammed with black, gay and female people. It’s because programme makers are responding to pressure after generations of having predominantly white male panels of people who may or may not have been gay but didn’t need to talk about it.

    This is could be because people want to change society, or because they feel being on trend helps ratings and marketing, or because they believe cheap tokenism is the way to go. Who can tell? However, this sort of thing is a fact of life now, so be prepared for more of the books you love to be sullied.

    You think it’s bad now, but the twenty second century will be a blood bath as Big Brother seeks to redefine all literature into politically acceptable categories, nations fight over water and Greenland builds a wall to stop the advancing Mexicans. And you thought that robots taking over was the worst you had to fear…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We react to things instead of acting accordingly to begin with. We should all just respect one another and be good people, and teach our kids the same…don’t judge, accept that there are differences and it’s all ok…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It would be nice to think so, but it’s a lot more complex than that. My kids, despite being mixed race, have attitudes to other ethnic and religious groups which they definitely didn’t pick up from me. They developed them by seeing the ways these groups threw their weight about at school. Life isn’t pefect.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We will just have to do our best to make it better. We can be our own force for good. I’m just reading Farewell my Lovely and, even I, an unreconstructed child of the 70s, am struggling to accept some of the language.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Well , since you asked , it does matter to some of us. I would not read that book if I saw that blurb . Love may be love , but as a Christian, I don’t say sex is sex. I can have a very intimate friendship with a female friend , but I’m not going to bed with her because that goes against my beliefs. I realize I’m in a shrinking group and that’s okay. I know what the Bible says and I will stay true to my beliefs. I don’t know anything about that book but I’m bummed that it’s a gay story because you made it sound like a great one . But there are plenty of others I can read . Hope this answers the question.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. See…it’s not a gay story. There are gay characters, but the story is so much more than that. But I respect your opinion to read whatever you want

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Barely. Two characters are gay, but there’s a host of characters that could be considered odd. It’s a fantasy/sci Fi novel so it kind of bends the imagination. But it’s about accepting people even though they might be different or look different

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Not need. Indeed, love is love. I was actually just talking with a friend of mine, who is gay self-identified, about how much the term “inclusivity” has iterated in the past 20 years. Today, there is a need, nay, demand, to categorize and catalog human beingness at a level that I personally feel is becoming toxic. How much more are we going to continue to differentiate ourselves from each other, when, factually, we are biologically so very similar.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Understood. And, no I don’t think it is helpful. In fact, in some ways it is possible “we” are setting ourselves up for more trauma in years to come. Not sure…

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree, it is much like “male nurse” and “female doctor.” It’s just nurse and doctor. I once had a patient who took objection to me being her “male” nurse. By the time the shift was over, she apologized and told me I was one of the best “nurses” she had take care of her. These are false distinctions

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t really care for representations of sexuality in about any setting. Who people love or lust for isn’t really the point. As you say, love is love. I would prefer it be left off the cover and if some homophobe reads it, makes be they will be enlightened! (Or disgusted, of course – too bad)

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    1. Well also, as we know from my scathing “review” of an overly sexual novel…I hate when authors use sex to get from point a to point b…and I don’t care who is having sex.

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  15. What would your strapline be then? Remember you don’t even have the luxury of the word count of a blurb – you’ve got to find a way to sell something you’re passionate about in just a strapline. And go…

    My point, of course, is that it’s an impossible task. You’re never going to satisfactorily achieve the task when a book isn’t a one trick pony.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny that you ask that because I was recently asked about those award banners that appear in novels and I said I hate anything on the cover of a book because it’s distracting. People spend lots of time and thought on what a book cover should look like. Why are we mucking it up? I don’t like things on covers, so I’d prefer nothing.

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  16. This is done because there is such a demand for stories that reflect the lives of the people that are reading them. The “Own Voices” authors are a really big deal right now. People really want to read stories that show pieces of themselves, for so many reasons, but the representation matters. It matters because for so long there wasn’t that representation, or if there was, it was so few and far between. And it isn’t just gay stories, but stories about color, or disability, or life circumstances. Being able to see right out of the gate that a story fits that need, is a huge deal for a lot of people. Why wouldn’t they let people know that a book is for them?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But to say that is to reduce the book down ….it’s a book for every person who has felt hampered by how they look, or because they’re different…it’s for anyone who has ever felt marginalized….plus it’s a fantasy…almost an allegory…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The tag really kind of fills a couple of different rolls, but that is the main one. It also ensures that someone that really isn’t comfortable with the subject matter won’t pick it up, read it, absolutely hate it, and then bash the hell out of it in reviews. It really does help to get the book into the hands of the audience it was intended for. You may see the book as filling a much broader role, and it does, but there is still, always, going to be a target audience and that is who they will cater to and try and get the attention of because that is where they know they are going to get the sales. Removing that tag, or generalizing it to fit a broader audience will do the book more harm than good.

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      2. I get it…but I don’t like more marginalizing…people might see the blurb and still review the book negatively without reading it

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      1. Part of me wonders if it isn’t for aesthetic purposes. Blurbs balance out the visual aspect. And, sometimes I do pay attention to the blurb. I just know that I’ve added more gray hairs to my head from trying to write my blurbs than I have from writing entire novels.

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      2. You know…we judge read a book either won a booker or was shortlisted…here’s the thing…it was beautifully poetic language but it failed to tell a story. Awards go to people who use lovely language but might not make a relatable book. So, don’t stress about the awards…really doesn’t mean they’re better

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