I created Straight Girl Goes Gay (StraightG3) because I feel I’m an expert in the male/male romance genre – well, in reviewing it, anyway! I’ve read over 2,500 books from 2015-2018, and I wanted to share my literary joys, triumphs, and utter disasters with you guys 🙂
It all started with a New Year's resolution
I once was a die-hard M/F romance reader, but I grew tired of reading about vaginas and boobs; I’m not into women, so I mostly skipped over those parts. If I wanted to read books where the men sort of matched my preferences, I had to slog through the author talking about the woman’s “flawless porcelain skin, ocean blue eyes, and lithe figure” for example. I have none of those qualities, so reading about it from the woman’s POV decreased my enjoyment and jarringly took me out of the story every time they were mentioned.
My New Year’s 2015 resolution was to find a new genre of book to read. I discovered M/M romance, and read so much that I wanted to keep track so I signed up for Goodreads shortly thereafter.
With M/M, I get twice as many chances for men who completely match my reading preferences and I can remain fully immersed in the story. I’ll be honest – I do read the stuff meant for women, but I much prefer the stories clearly written by men, for men (they seem to have less of the “Harlequin bias”). I’m not really into heteronormative roles, but until someone comes out with bara stories and yaoi aesthetics, I’ll keep reading everything. I don’t feel I am fetishizing the LGBT community by doing so. I also don’t believe every stereotype I read; it’s called fiction for a reason 🙂
You are my sponsors
My subscribers come first. Always. You are my sponsors, and my loyalties lie with you. You believe in me enough to become paid subscribers. You keep this show going through your subscription and through purchasing custom merch in my upcoming Amazon store. I feel the very least I can do is keep my videos and website free of third party ads, my video comments troll-free and purchase my own books (for the most part, I’ll get to that later) to maintain your trust in my reviews.
Avoiding bias is extremely important to me
My goal is to provide the most unbiased reviews possible, and having any type of relationship with authors and publishers would compromise this. I may receive free books sometimes, but I will let you know and they will be provided anonymously to avoid potential bias.
Any time you are trying to objectively review something, you have to avoid bias. When you are introduced to a situation where the results of your decision are influenced by a previous event (in your case, the “previous event” would be networking with authors and publishers), it could cause you to make choices that aren’t representative of reality – consciously or subconsciously.
If you have already been exposed to the situations that have caused the bias, it is often difficult to sort out what you truly think about something, so the only way to avoid this issue is to avoid those situations entirely. Otherwise, your subscribers will never really know if your reviews are truly what you felt about the book, or if you were being influenced by a reward or incentive where it would be in your best interest to give an opinion that doesn’t really match what is actually happening.
– Todd, my best friend and a psychology teacher of over 20 years
My focus is video reviews on Vimeo...
Practically no one makes video reviews of M/M romances, so I set out to discover why:
Maybe no one is interested in watching reviews instead of reading them?
That’s not it at all! I was a relative unknown on YouTube with 2 subscribers and only one video – my old trailer for Straight Girl Goes Gay – and before it was removed due to censorship (it was G-rated), it garnered over 20k views in just a month. People were interested, and I hadn’t even had a chance to post anything yet! I did not enable comments on the video (trolls), which led me to think…
Maybe people are afraid?
I do believe the lack of video reviews is largely because of the stigma associated with reading gay fiction in general. Plus, it seems that bloggers prefer reviewing in relative anonymity to avoid reprisals from friends, family, employers, disgruntled authors, and mainstream publishers – not to mention the airing of their potentially sordid book preferences in a public forum.
Fortunately, I’m in the unique position to not really care about any of this and have no problem with being the first major video reviewer of m/m romances. This is the only career where I’ve used every ounce of all of my skills – and some skills I didn’t have – to make it possible. It is my only job, and it’s the best job ever! I hope to spend the rest of my life doing it with your help.
I read so much so quickly and the transcription/recording/editing process is long, so my reviews can’t be lengthy or of the latest new book; hopefully, you guys will understand and appreciate that. I hope you enjoy my series as much as I do 🙂
I began my series with 2 videos per day, and I hope to return to that production schedule soon!
...but I also have written reviews and YouTube teasers
Each video review comes with a written review. The written reviews are concise, and may not include everything I say in my videos. They are not updated as frequently as my videos at this point; I apologize for this, and hope to have enough help for frequent updates soon.
I chose the bulleted format because I didn’t want you to have to read a book before you read the book 😀
The YouTube teasers are about 20 seconds long, and only give the book title and rating. Once per month, I post 1 full-length Video of the Month to YouTube from my Vimeo channel, and comments are permanently closed on all videos.
I only review 1 book per episode
I feel that it’s easier for you to navigate to the book you want to read if I devote each weekdaily episode to only one book. I have a unique production schedule:
(Almost) Anything Goes Mondays – supernovels, novels, or novellas
(Almost) Anything (Still) Goes Tuesdays – supernovels, novels, or novellas
Short Story Wednesdays – stories that take me about an hour to read, and/or are 125 pages or less
Young Adult/New Adult Thursdays – stories with main characters under 18 or 18-25
WTF?! Fridays – horrible, baffling, or just plain offensive books
For those who want to binge-watch a week’s worth of episodes in one video, I have Summary Saturdays 🙂
My reviews range from 0 to 5 stars (and I mean it)
Sometimes, bloggers only review books higher than a certain rating, mostly because they don’t want to offend the authors and publishers who provide free books and pay their bills. That’s fair, but thanks in part to your subscription, I have WTF Fridays! That’s the day each week where I tell you how I really feel about books with a rating less than 2.5 stars. Zero-star books are those which I haven’t completed (usually because they’re terrible).
I don’t go easy on authors, so my reviews don’t go over very well with the “they can do no wrong” kind of fans. Again, I’m warning you that all-positive-all-the-time reviews aren’t my thing. My reviews have space for likes and dislikes for a reason 🙂
I unabashedly review extreme/taboo content
If you’re on a laptop or desktop computer, take a second to go back to my homepage. Now, what do you see on the far left of the slideshow?
Hey, I figure that if I’m going to do this, I’m going all in, you know?
I am happily putting my face on reviews of the smuttiest of smut, and I don’t regret it one bit. It’s damn near impossible to find a blogger who’ll touch a book with instances of fisting, for example, and review it in a professional manner. What if it’s something you really want to know about?!
This is R-rated content, at best, and there is plenty of profanity and talk of taboo things because I don’t have to worry about censorship. That’s all thanks to your subscription. Now, while I’m on this subject…
My content warnings are the most extensive you've ever seen
Again, I wanted to be the change I wish to see. It bothers me so much when content warnings are vague; they keep me from reading a book I might otherwise have read, or don’t stop me from reading a book I shouldn’t. For example, say a book has a content warning of abuse.
Okay, well what kind of abuse? Physical? Mental/emotional? Sexual?
Let’s say it’s emotional abuse.
Okay, then who is it happening to? Major characters? Supporting characters? Minor characters?
Let’s say it’s minor characters.
Okay, then how many minor characters? One? Two? Five?
Let’s say it’s happening to one character.
Okay, then when is it happening? Past, present, future?
Let’s say it happened in the past.
That’d make one of this book’s content warnings Abuse (emotional, minor, one, past)
Any part of these questions could be a trigger for people, but not all parts are instant triggers for everyone. Maybe someone could handle reading about abuse happening in the past, but not the present. Maybe they could handle physical abuse, but not sexual abuse. Maybe they could handle it happening to a minor character, but not a major or supporting one, or one character, but not multiple (this is especially true in the case of character death, which is another of my warnings).
See what I mean? 🙂
At this point, I have 10 content warnings.
All 11 genres and 269 subgenres are searchable here
They’re here, if you want to check them out. I wanted to create the site that I’d like to see from others, and that also allowed you to find what you need as quickly as possible.
Want to read about bakers? Look under Professions—>Hospitality—>Food Services—>Bakers for those books! Interested in agoraphobic characters? You’ll find them under Medical Issues—>Disorders—>Agoraphobia.
Some genres and subgenres don’t have books yet, but that’s okay – over time, they will, so come back often and see what’s new 🙂
Although you can use the search bar to find books by name or series title, a huge shortcoming is that you can’t search by author. Sorry about that, but I hope to have it fixed upon further expansion.
My Vimeo comments section is limited to paid subscribers only
I switched to Vimeo specifically because it would provide a better experience for my audience and myself. There are no ads, they value quality content, they care more about artistry than censorship of LGBT-related content, and the trolls tend to stay under their bridges.
I use the Vimeo on Demand subscription model to offset production costs, further reduce comment abuse, and encourage more fruitful discussion with you guys. In fact, my Vimeo comments are the only place you and I will regularly interact; I really want to make a safe place for us to discuss all kinds of things, so it’s a closed group of people…brought together through their love of smut 🙂
My social media accounts are mostly used for video notifications.
That being said, there are some rules you should read before signing up:
1) Don’t be a dick. No racial, ethnic, gender, sexuality based insults or any other personal discrimination. Hate speech or linking to hate speech is not allowed. No posts meant to offend or hurt any other member in a manner which is offensive or inflammatory (includes flaming or instigating arguments). No spamming, especially no shamelessly plugging your/your friend’s/your client’s, etc. book or service. Pirated books or any other illegal items may NOT be linked (or even alluded to) in any shape or form.
2) Authors and/or publishers that want to subscribe must do so anonymously and maintain their anonymity. If there’s any indication that you didn’t and/or you’re up to any of the above offenses, well, that’s it for you.
3) I have the right to delete the offending comments.
After 3 warnings, your subscription will be cancelled. No exceptions.
I review what I want, when I want (but you can make requests)
Because I refuse to join NetGalley and similar free-book-in-exchange-for-a-review sites (I don’t want my web series to hinge upon whether or not an author or publishing house likes me), I only review books after they’re available to the general public. Sometimes, a book may have been out for years – but it’s new to me so I’ll talk about it. Maybe you’ve read it before, or maybe it’s one you’re interested in. Maybe you want to suggest something for me in the sidebar because I won’t get around to books I’ve read today until two years from now…please?
Anyway, a story is just as good the week after release as it’ll be 5 years from now, you know? My biggest issue is that they often go out of print not long after I add them to my library, and I try not to review books that are no longer available for purchase because that’s not fair to you.
This is a one-woman show
I am and will always be the sole reviewer under my brand – except for Sushi, but he doesn’t count – which means that yes, I really do read that many books! Aside from my transcriptionist (also named Sam, oddly enough) there is no one else working at StraightG3. I’d love to for it grow and expand so that I can offer you guys a more consistent experience.
Oh, and I also do not accept guest posts here or special guests on my web series.
There are spoilers all over the place
I try to strike a balance between telling you what you need to know to purchase the story and giving away the whole plot, but that balance isn’t the same for everyone. You have been warned!
Help! I’ve read so many books over the last 12 months that I’m scheduling Mondays & Tuesdays into the start of January…2020.
This means that if I read a novel today, it won’t be on StraightG3 until then at the earliest.
If you’re not a publisher or author wanting their own book reviewed, tell me about the books you want to see on Straight Girl Goes Gay below; I’ll bump them to the top if I already have (or want to) read them.