A post on Publishers Weekly about an anonymous agent who suggested to YA novelists Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith that they should either make a gay character straight or delete him from the novel entirely is garnering a lot of online comments about the role of agents, the lack of diversity in YA fiction, and how the genre is marketed.
Manija Brown writes:
This isn’t about one agent’s personal feelings about gay people. We don’t know their feelings; they may well be sympathetic in their private life, but regard the removal of gay characters as a marketing issue. The conversation made it clear that the agent thought our book would be an easy sale if we just made that change. But it doesn’t matter if the agent rejected the character because of personal feelings or because of assumptions about the market. What matters is that a gay character would be quite literally written out of his own story.
The discussion has continued on Twitter with the hashtag #YesGayYA. In June, the Twitter hashtag #YAsaves became a worldwide trending topic after a Wall Street Journal editorial suggested that YA fiction had become “too dark.”