Countdown to a New Year, December 23: Sheena, Owner of The Lesbian Review

From December 20 through December 31, Binge on Books will be hosting a series of posts each day counting down to the new year. Joined by authors, publishers, and fellow bloggers, this series will focus on takeaways from 2017 and what we can look forward to in 2018. Think the biggest, longest, most book-filled reflection of the past year and the hopes and dreams for the new one all wrapped into one: that’s Binge on Books’ Countdown to a New Year. Come see what your favorite members of the book world have to say about the past year and what’s up next for them in the year to come!

**Plus every day in the countdown will feature prize packs of ARCs and book giveaways plus a final BIG giveaway of a Kindle Fire! Enter every day for a chance to win!**

5 Great Things That Happened In Lesbian Fiction In 2017

This year has been a year of many things for the globe, some really scary, which is why I was totally ecstatic about these 5 great things that happened in lesbian fiction.

1. Diversity

For the first time, we are seeing authors and publishers actively looking for diversity in their lesbian fiction. Readers are calling for increased representation for women of colour, differently abled women, bisexual women and asexual women.

And while these books are not selling as well as the traditional white, lesbian leading lady does, I strongly believe that it will as the audience comes to recognise that diversity is the best thing that could happen to the sector.

The reason I say this is because with diversity comes a range of stories that you just cannot tell with white lesbian leading ladies. And diversity will ultimately crack open a whole host of exciting prospects for the sector.

2. Audiobooks

I believe that audiobooks are going to be huge. They are a convenient way for consumers to get their fiction fix while keeping busy with the 101 things that occupy our days.

To see the lesbian fiction section of Audible grow the way it has in the last year makes me a very happy woman.

3. Rise of The Incidental Lesbian

I coined the term incidental lesbian to describe a main character in fiction who just happens to be a lesbian.

Incidental lesbians occur in stories that do not depend on the main character being a lesbian, such as a thriller or mystery. Romance is an example of a story that does depend on her being a lesbian because if she weren’t she could not fall in love with the other lesbian, but solving a case does not rely on her sexuality.

There is a definite increase in the incidental lesbian and I hope to see that even more in the coming years. The more we see this kind of character the more chances that the story can hop across to mainstream fiction. And, let’s face it, we need way more incidental lesbians in the mainstream fiction world. But then again, my viewpoint is always that the world needs more lesbians.

4. Marketing Glory

A surprising but important occurrence in lesbian fiction has been an increase in authors taking a stab at promoting their books. We have had an increase in authors reaching out to us for reviews, there has been an increase in the number of authors promoting their work on social media and newsletters.

There have also been a handful of authors who are actively creating promotional platforms for the lesbian fiction sector.

I am thrilled.

Lesbian fiction is tiny in comparison to mainstream fiction and while the market is smaller, it is not nearly the size it should be relative to the amount of lesbians who read.

The problem is that so many lesbians have no idea that world class fiction representing them is just a mouse click away. The increase in marketing means that more women will discover this wonderful sector.

5. Fresh New Blood

Lesbian fiction was a little bit like a musty old attic for a while with a handful of big names putting out regular books, a couple of publishing houses doing their thing and a lot of mediocre rubbish making it onto the circuit.

Over the last couple of years we have seen a major dusting out as exciting new authors, new publishing houses and new voices push the sector to become better.

I can barely contain my excitement because this wave of fresh new blood in the industry has meant that world class books are being published.

To see such brilliance emerging from the tiny sphere of lesbian fiction is a most exciting thing for an avid reader like myself.

So, while the world is on the brink of massive change, I am sitting with my head buried in my kindle and wondering if it is even possible for the books of 2018 to be anywhere near as good as the books of 2017 were. And then I remember that I wondered that at the end of 2016 and was pleasantly surprised.

About Sheena: Sheena’s first love (other than her wife) is reading lesbian fiction, so in 2014 she started as a way to share books she loved. Little did she know it would turn into the largest review website in the sector, nor did she have an inkling that she would also start a podcast channel with a variety of women focused shows including a couple of her own podcasts.

You can find The Lesbian Talk Show on iTunes, Podbean or Stitcher.

You can find The Lesbian Review on Facebook and Twitter.

Sheena is active on both platforms and you can also email her.

Enter to win one of 3 prize packs of books! 

Prize Pack #4:

Sparrow by Sarah Moon

Three Sides of A Heart anthology 

Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi

Prize Pack 5:

Meet Cute Anthology

The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis

All We Can Do is Wait by Richard Lawson

Prize Pack #6:

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

People Like Us by Dana Mele

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3 thoughts on “Countdown to a New Year, December 23: Sheena, Owner of The Lesbian Review

  1. The Tiger’s Daughter was one of my favourite debuts of 2017. It had issues with copy-pasting existing asian cultures, but the love between the two main characters was portrayed sublimely.

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