It seems like the world is in love with labels. In particular self-labeling or raging against the labels other people put on them, or what labels someone else wants to use. The writing community seems to be no exception, and it’s quite exhausting.

It feels like a lot of folks want you to read their book because they’re trans. Because they’re black. Because they’re gay. Because they have PTSD. Because they’re schizophrenic. Because they’ve had a stroke. Because they’re nonbinary. Because they’re Buddhist. The list goes on and on, and frequently leads to “A book written by a disabled nonbinary black woman with lupus.” And yes, I have actually seen someone attempt to promote a romance novel with that line. Not what sort of romance, not a snippet, not a mention of what time period or secondary genre is involved.

I don’t want to read a book because the author is anything (other than an author I know of and consistently enjoy.) I want to read it because it sounds interesting, and the identity of the author is frequently the least interesting thing about it. I don’t want people to buy one of my books because I’m a depressed, schizophrenic, bipolar Satanist with COPD who needs a new lung or two. I want them to buy a book because they saw the blurb that “The devil and a host of other biblical characters engage in humorous dialogue in a blog format.” “A young man struggles with the death of his girlfriend, ghosts and madness in a suicidal spiral,” or the like.

I don’t buy Clive Barker books because he’s gay; I buy them because he entertains me. Or did, anyway, until Scarlet Gospels decided to take a royal dump all over two of his most well-known characters. I couldn’t care less what gender J.K. Rowling is; I care that she writes entertaining, believable (within context) and layered characters.

I don’t know if anyone else buys books based on someone’s labels, or if such individuals promoting their work, their platform, or their contests based on them for some other reason, but I can say the only label that matters to me: which one is on top of the bookshelf it can be found on (or which department of Amazon to hunt for it, if it’s an online situation.)

What about you folks?

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