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 2,700 books from 2015-2018, and I wanted to share my literary joys, triumphs, and utter disasters with you.
This series is for everyone (yes, men, you too)
This genre has roots in yaoi. Yaoi (I pronounce it ya-OY) is Japanese manga written by women, for women. In America, male/male romance stories are also written for this demographic, but specifically by cis het white women, for cis het white women.
I said “Hey, guys!” at the start of my videos and social media posts on purpose for the first year or so. I know that women and underrepresented groups feel welcome here by virtue of me just being…me, and I wanted it to be clear that men are also welcome. I’ll change to “Hey, everybody!” around episode 300 because you’ll know me well enough by then to understand that I literally mean EVERYBODY. I thought very carefully about this whole thing in the planning stages of this series, so don’t come for me, okay?! 🙂
Although lighthearted, I tackle serious issues
I frequently come across some form of biphobia, misogyny, transphobia, blatant racism – when the books feature non-white characters at all! – horrendous stereotypes, and general insensitivity to the GBT+ community. This all comes with the excuse of “It’s fiction, don’t take it so seriously!”
People learn about groups they’ve never interacted with through what they read and watch; be it fiction or nonfiction, people still absorb the biases and messages. As a prolific reader and member of an underrepresented group, I feel that I have a unique opportunity to bring these problems to light and be a force for change. It’s the author’s responsibility to represent the communities about which they’re writing in a fair, well-rounded manner – and I feel it’s my job to help them do this through constructive criticism of their works.
I also feel that we should support more GBT+ male authors in this genre – after all, they are part of the demographic the authors are writing about! Unfortunately, there are very, very few non-binary or non-white authors in this genre, and I take issue with publishers claiming it’s because their books don’t sell. In addition to clearly admitting they feel their readership is as against diversity as they are, if the authors don’t have the chance to even try, how do publishers know this?!
Well, I know that authors and publishers can (and should) do better.
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!
Some books have written reviews and YouTube teasers
I no longer publish written reviews because I am in the process of adding closed captioning to all of my videos. The written reviews that I do have are concise, and may not include everything I say in my videos. I may return to doing it, but it depends upon whether you guys want them.
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 40 seconds long, and only give the book title and rating. I no longer make these because they almost double the weekly rendering time for my videos (thanks, 4k!).
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 extensive
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.
Vimeo comments are for 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.