LGBT coming out literature

maxemerson's picture

Hey. I was wondering if anyone on here can help me with this:

My name is Max Emerson and I'm a 25 year old international model in the Wilhelmina network. I've recently completed a full-length novel, Hot Sissy; Life Before Flashbulbs, about growing up gay in a small, redneck Florida town.Think Running with Scissors, but with a vengeance. The plan is to self-publish until an adequate number of sales are met to find a large-scale publisher.

Although my target audience is closeted LGBT (at-risk) youth, I'm currently reaching out to LGBT publications, asking for help in order to get my story as much visibility as possible. With a little success in this realm, hopefully the story can spread to a wider audience.

ANY tips or contacts would be greatly appreciated.


jeff's picture


Hey Max,

Congratulations on finishing the novel! I'm hoping to finish mine soon, as well, although not LGBT or youth related, heh.

I plan to do self-publishing as well, and there are an abundance of resources and theories about self-publishing available online. I'd definitely recommend reading some of the stuff Hugh Howey and other successful people have written on the topic. While it may seem like learning about publishing by studying Stephen King, Howey's thoughts tend to stand up despite his success.

I don't think you need to worry about mainstream publishing. If you are selling enough books on your own, or getting a buzz, they will find you, as I understand it. Unless you have an agent and all that to find the doors that need opening on that side. The usual story these days is that when mainstream publishing finds you, you're not sure if you want them anymore, but your mileage may vary.

Beyond that, I'd figure out who your audience is and what other authors you are similar to, whether than is Augusten Burroughs, Brent Hartinger, Alex Sanchez, John Green, David Levithan, etc., and use the Internet to your advantage. Find the people who have interviewed and reviewed them to find people to interview and review you. Make contact with them and see what insight they can offer, you may even get a quote for your jacket, etc. (I can speak from personal experience that Brent and Alex are great guys).

Go on Goodreads, Bookthink, and all the other social sites and sort out how to get your book on the radar of people who like similar themes/books/authors.

From the modeling side, you may have access to publicists. See if your publicists (or any of their peers) have worked in publishing before, and see about hiring them freelance.

Capitalize on the modeling angle when pitching to the gay press. A gay youth book review may have less interest than a gay youth book review with a pic of its half-naked author (I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing, but it is true, heh). I mean, I first learned about Scott Heim and Christopher Rice as novelists because they were cute. It happens.

Find online youth sites and give away copies in contests, etc. I'm typically the only reviewer on here, and in the midst of working on my novel, so I'm not doing any reviews right now. We've tried having other reviewers on here before, but the results either fell into the "I know I owe you a review" e-mails to me or the "When I heard about this book, I thought it was going to be a, but instead it was b, and I think it would have worked better as a," so we kind of stopped.

The online stuff can backfire easily, especially on sites/forums where you aren't a regular, so tread cautiously lest you be considered a troll, shill, etc.

Beyond that, if you're a model with model friends, and such... shoot a scene from the book as a YouTube trailer. Use any angle you can...

My first step would be e-mailing Brent and picking his brain. He's a great guy, and has been in the gay YA scene for a while now.

Good luck!

"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles