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Rainbow Book Fair Invades LGBT Center

Rainbow Book Fair Invades LGBT Center

Author: Jeff Adams

March 30, 2011

New Paradigms for Queer Lit

The Third Annual New York Rainbow Book Fair took over the 3rd floor of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center on Saturday, for an afternoon of literature.

More than 60 authors, publishers and booksellers offered queer-themed publications in the exhibition space, which encompassed not just a large room, but the hallway and an annex room. Tables were packed with books covering every conceivable genre of gay literature — from erotica to romance to scholarly volumes to books of photography and everything in between.

(lr) Nell Stark and Trinity Tam present their book Everafter (Bold Strokes Books) at the reading series.

(lr) Nell Stark and Trinity Tam present their book Everafter (Bold Strokes Books) at the reading series.

In addition to the exhibits there were plenty of opportunities for attendees to hear from authors. A poetry salon ran during the six hour fair. Nathaniel Siegel and Regie Cabico curated the event, which featured more than 50 poets reading excerpts from their work.

At the same time the poets were reading, in another space Lambda Literary Award nominee Rachel Kramer Bussel hosted readings by more than 30 authors, most of whom had four minutes to read from their work.

Among the four panel discusses held during the day, “Beyond the Bookstore: The Future of LGBT Publishing” tackled issues that readers, authors and publishers face in this time were there are fewer and fewer LGBT bookstores and chain stores, such as Borders, are closing locations.

The panel for “Beyond the Bookstore” (from left to right): Steve Berman (Lethe Press), Sandy Karp (Graeae Press), Michael-Christopher (MC Books), Jameson Currier (Chelsea Station Editions) and Perry Brass (Belhue Press).

The panel for “Beyond the Bookstore” (from l-r): Steve Berman (Lethe), Sandy Karp (Graeae), Michael-Christopher (MC), Jameson Currier (Chelsea Station) and Perry Brass (Belhue).

“The things that supported the LGBT book market have had the legs knocked off them. Publishers and authors have to move to a new paradigm to market books to this audience,” said Belhue Press’ Perry Brass, the panel’s moderator.

For authors trying to work in the current market place, Steve Berman from Lethe Press reminded the group that the author must become a brand. “Having a brand really matters so readers can identify you and so you can build reader loyalty.”

At the same time you’re building the brand though, you can’t let it rule your life. The panel discussed how an author can’t allow themselves to get to caught up in maintaining their brand via Facebook, Twitter, a blog or other social media. “The best way for an author to sell is to do the next book, which helps sell the previous books,” said Berman.

The other panels held during the day included “Zines and Alternative Publishing,” along with two that spoke about documenting LGBT history — “Writing the Queer Past” and “Writing Queer Lives.”

A look at a small portion of the exhibit space.

A look at a small portion of the exhibit space.

Eileen Myles reads at the day-long poetry salon.

The Rainbow Book Fair is already planning to return in 2012. You can keep up with the event at

Jeff Adams photo

About: Jeff Adams

Jeff Adams is an author, hockey player and musical theater lover living in New York City with his husband Will. You can find out about his currently available stories, as well as new projects, at

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