Guest Blogger ~ Beth Wylde
Our guest today is Beth Wylde, founder of the Sapphic Planet author group and co-editor of its new release by the same name. We’ve asked her to tell us how this all began – take it away, Beth!
In early 2004 I was deeply involved in the fanfic community. Fanfiction fans are some of the best in the world. They give feedback unlike any other group I’ve ever been a part of. One of the readers happened to be an editor at a small new e-book publisher and she contacted me offline when she read one of my original spin-offs. The offer to submit a short for an anthology they were putting together both shocked and delighted me. It was the chance of a lifetime and even though I knew rejection was highly possible, and pretty likely, I had to try. The story I ending up writing was so far from what they’d requested it was frightening.
In fanfic my favorite pairings were the slash ones, the ones that put the guys with guys and occasionally women with women, but the story I had to write needed to be guy/girl. No big deal. I could do that. None of the places I bought books from sold gay stories anyway so to make it in the business I thought you had to write het or nothing. Was I ever wrong.
I didn’t sit down to write an erotic lesbian romance. I needed mainstream. You know the basic formula. A rather weak and whiny female finds herself in trouble. A strong man swoops in to save her. They fall in love and then into bed, and the rest is history. That’s what they expected of me. That was the kind of story I had to make come alive. My mind and my heart went a totally different direction.
I tried, I really did, but my main character wasn’t cooperating and one of the background characters swooped in and took over. She swept my damsel in distress off her feet and right into her dorm room where she introduced my shy little neophyte to the joys of lesbian sex. As I typed up the last sentence and sent the story off I knew my writing career had ended before it had even begun. Once again I was wrong.
The publisher took the story and included it in the anthology. It was the only lesbian story in a sea of heterosexuality. I got a couple good reviews but most of the places the book went did not read or enjoy same-sex stories and they were very open in their reviews about that fact. Not long after the book was released, the publisher closed down, taking everyone’s money and story rights with them. I never saw a red cent from them and neither did any of the other authors, but I learned two valuable lessons. One, do lots of research before submitting to a publisher. Two, if a small new publisher was willing to take a chance on a lesbian story there had to be other publishers out there that would do the same. Hopefully legit ones that wouldn’t screw me again, but I had no idea where to start looking.
I didn’t write mainstream stories and I knew I never would, but I was clueless about where to find others in the same boat as myself. I needed information about lesfic publishers and reviewers and I was desperate to connect with other authors in the genre. Hence the creation of Sapphic Planet, a group for authors and aspiring authors of lesbian fiction. Before I knew it the small group of twenty or so grew had grown to over sixty members and we’re still growing.
Our main goal is showcasing serious lesbian writers and providing them with a safe place to come together and talk shop. We want the world to know there is quality lesbian fiction available and where to find it. During one of our first chats we started throwing ideas around about a group project. Out of the brainstorming came Sapphic Planet, the anthology. A mix of sweet, sassy and sexy erotica designed with everyone in mind. There’s something in this book to please even the pickiest of readers.
The Sapphic Planet website is http://www.sapphicplanet.com/
For more info or to join the Sapphic Planet writer’s group you can email Beth Wylde at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also have a readers group where fans can interact with their favorite SP authors. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sapphicreaders/
Thank you so much, Beth! Readers might also like to join Beth’s reader loop at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bethwylde/. To enter my contest for one free download of Sapphic Planet, check out my interview at A Naughty Reader’s Boudoir and leave me a comment. Contest runs through Saturday and I will draw a winner Sunday, February 26.