Tuesday, December 27, 2011

That Deaf Lesbian Writer

OK, so earlier I did a post on how being deaf shaped my writing. This post will talk about how being deaf affects me as a writer. Lots of practicalities to consider here, such as promotion. Has my being deaf helped my promotion, hurt it, been neutral or...? I am an indie author, and promotion was a huge consideration when I was debating whether to sign the publishing contract I had in front of me or go indie. Not only am I deaf, I am an introvert. Uh oh! ;-)

The bottom line is, I'm generally a positive person. I believe strongly that people make their own luck, so my answer is: Being deaf has helped me in terms of promotion. First, though, let's talk about the cons, the bad stuff. Because people like the bad stuff! ;-)

-- I have plenty of promotional opportunities, and some I have not been able to use yet (if I will at all) because these opportunities are oral through and through. The folks at Cocktail Hour do podcasts and bar rags (listen to my "Strange Bedfellows" podcast here). Bar rags include readings authors send in themselves. Readings are from books, and the Cocktail Hour people have been urging me to send some in. I want to, but the fact is, it's really up to my wife/her schedule. She'll be the one reading, and I have no intention of pressuring her/rushing her, especially when she does so much for me already. And I love the woman! For Christmas, she got me the bestestestest gift I have gotten in a long time: a cardboard cutout of Queen Elizabeth II. Above is a pic of me with Her Majesty.

Anyway, if anyone is interested in doing a reading(s) for me, let me know! :)

-- Some loss of control. When we do oral interviews, I have to let go and put a lot of trust into my wife. She's worthy of it, but there are going to be (and have been) times when she answers a way I would not have. She readily admits she isn't the best at thinking quickly, on her feet. I am -- usually.

-- I can't listen to the oral interviews and see areas for improvement. My wife hates the sound of her voice (the West Virginia southern draaaaawl, she says), so she doesn't listen, either. I hope we're presentable. People say we are.

-- I may stand out more because I am deaf. Ya know, like people say: "That deaf writer" or "that deaf lesbian writer." In some areas of the lesbian community (and/or the d/Deaf community), I, Q. Kelly, probably am the only one who meets this definition.

-- The Internet is wonderful. Awesome. Stupendous. I can get so much marketing and promo work done from my computer. Some interviews are done online only (such as through email and chat), and it's easy to email reviewers and ask them to consider doing my work. Facebook, Twitter, G+ and other sites make networking easy.

-- I may have a bit of a bigger audience in the d/Deaf community for my work (especially for "All in the Family," which has a deaf main character).

-- My wife! She has been more than happy to do oral interviews for me and to help with in-person promotion at such venues as Pride festivals.

The bottom line, though...
-- My writing speaks for itself (signs for itself?). Quality work is much more likely to get recognized than substandard work. Going through my reviews tells you I can run with the big gals (not to brag). "Strange Bedfellows" was published about a couple of weeks before the Rainbow Awards. I didn't know about this awards thing until I happened to see something on Facebook. I hurriedly nominated "Strange Bedfellows" (the only book published before the deadline). "Strange Bedfellows" ended up in a tie for second for best traditional lesbian romance and FIFTH-best lesbian book overall. This still blows my mind. What I am trying to say here and what may not be coming across is that my being deaf is a secondary consideration. Good writing comes first, as it should.

So, there you have it. By the way, I've done some organizing on this blog. Should've done it a long time ago, but oh well. At the top of the right-hand column, I've added headers and links for my interviews and notable reviews of my books.

Until next time!

*** Edited: Someone reminded me about the sales metric as regards promotion. Being deaf has not hurt me here either. My sales are very, very good. "Waiting" in particular I have to thank for letting me write full time. Since shortly after it was released, "Waiting" has been a mainstay in the Amazon top 20 lesfic and was even in there twice a few times as a print book and e-book. It outsells my other books combined and accounts for about 60 percent of my overall revenue.Why? I have a few theories (maybe that's a subject for another post) but bringing this back to the issue of me being deaf, the fact that I've been able to cut down on my other work and write full time pretty much tells you that being deaf is not hurtful at all. Again, the writing speaks for itself.


friedkampes said...

I missed a line about 'not being distracted by noises while at work'. Doesn't that count just a little bit, too?

Q. Kelly said...

Fried, could be! I don't notice it, though, because its absence has always been there. Now that you bring it up, though, I can read anywhere (like at Starbucks or a bookstore). My wife can't read anything serious because the music is too distracting.

Leigh Ann Britt said...

One thing I have always wondered. I know you do a lot of your correspondence over the internet and I'm guessing a good bit on your cell phone (texting).

Are there times when you get voice calls or guests visiting? How do you go about handling those circumstances?

Q. Kelly said...

You mean when my stalkers come visiting? ;-) I could be evil and say read "All in the Family" to find out, but I won't. Many deafies have flashing lights sensors for the (landline) phone, doorbell, etc. I don't. I have a very barky dog.

I don't get many voice calls. I give out Melanie's number if people need a number. If I didn't have her, there are programs such as that on AIM where people can call and leave a message.

Leigh Ann Britt said...

Yes, yes, I'm definitely going to read AITF ~ you can count on that and I know all about barky dogs ~ mine could wake the dead (lately, they often do).

I was just interested in your situation.

Josh said...

I like the fact that you can use your being deaf as a marketing edge over your competitors. As you say it is something that makes you unique, a branding advantage. I really admire your strength and perseverance.

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