Interview: Drake Magazine

My interview in Drake Magazine was published today.

Read some quotes from me and some other asexual people/asexual authorities in “Shedding light on asexuality: a misunderstood sexual orientation.”

Please note that the author of the piece, strangely enough, does not define asexuality correctly despite having talked to several experts on the subject. I’m curious about where she got this idea: “Asexuality is the complete lack of sexual drive and desire. Asexuals do not actively seek out sex or even get horny.” Asexuality is not the lack of sex drive or desire, and asexual people can indeed both seek out sex and get horny (not that they all DO). The author also opines that asexual people’s minds are never “in the gutter.” I know way too many asexual people with dirty minds to agree with that.

So take the article with a grain of salt.

Results of Querying: So You Think You’re Asexual

I’m going to stop querying on So You Think You’re Asexual for the time being because I have received two nibbles from agents who are currently considering my expanded nonfiction book proposal, and I think that’s enough.  If I get rejections or something I’ll go back into it.

Agents queried:11

Agents who declined: 5

Agents who didn’t respond (yet?): 4

Agents who responded in the affirmative: 2

So we’ll see what happens.

On Writing What You Know

There are two ways this gets slung around.

“Write what you know.”

  • If you know it, you’ll write it well.
  • If you wrote it well, you know it.

Neither of those are true.

I’m speaking in the general, of course, but not everyone who writes well can write their own experiences well; and not everyone who writes something well is doing so because they’ve experienced it.

I’ve had problems with my audience on this issue, from both angles.  One camp assumes that something I wrote about is my experience, and brings those assumptions to the table when talking to me.  And the other camp knows what my experiences are, and uses them against me to insist that I couldn’t possibly write an experience unlike mine authentically (or that I don’t have the right to try).

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Ready to Query: So You Think You’re Asexual

My basic first draft of So You Think You’re Asexual: An Introduction to the Invisible Orientation  is complete, though of course there will be lots of updates and changes if I end up finding representation.  I’ll be soliciting a test audience if it looks like my book is going to get the kind of interest I want.

My basic query letter (with personalized agent stuff at the beginning, and modified if needed):

What if you weren’t attracted to anyone?

A growing number of people today are identifying as asexual: they aren’t sexually attracted to other people, and they consider it a sexual orientation—like gay, straight, or bisexual.  A commonly overlooked and dismissed orientation, asexuality is estimated to affect approximately 1% of the population.  However, because of the overt sexuality of society, most asexuals feel isolated and ill-informed; they remain invisible, confused, and think they’re broken because they cannot relate to a central aspect of human life as we know it.

Is it a hormone disorder?  Can asexual people have relationships?  Should it be cured?  This book outlines what asexuality is, counters misconceptions, provides resources, and puts asexual people’s experiences in context as they move through a very sexual world.  It includes information for asexual people to help understand their orientation and what it means for their relationships, and it includes tips and facts for those who want to understand their asexual friends and loved ones.

My qualifications for writing this book include the following:

I’ve been writing about asexuality awareness since 1998.  As an asexual person casually writing about my own experience, I posted a Top Ten list outlining the most common misconceptions about asexuality on my own website.  This earned me media attention and mainstream magazine interviews (“Asexual and Proud,” Salon, May 2005; “No Sex? No Problem,” The Daily Beast, July 2009; “The Opposite of Sex,” Marie Claire, August 2010).  Some years (and several interviews) later, I created two series of asexuality-themed YouTube videos to reach a different demographic.  One was a video version of my Top Ten list, and the other was an ongoing series called “Letters to an Asexual.”

These earned me more media attention, many subscribers, and a part in a documentary as a major interviewee ((A)sexual by Arts Engine, premiered at Frameline, the gay and lesbian film festival, in June 2011).  I also picked up a spot writing articles on the subject for Good Vibrations, a respected sex-positive magazine (“Asexuality is Not Antisexuality,” January 2011; “Sexual Attraction vs. Romantic Attraction,” February 2011; “Are Asexuals Queer?” March 2011; “How to Be an Asexual Ally,” July 2011; and “Why Should the Sex-Positive Community Promote Asexuality Awareness?” October 2011).  I’ve been mentioned on international television and interviewed for various academic and human interest pieces, usually pseudonymously under the name “swankivy” or “Ivy,” but my legal name has also appeared in several of the interviews.

I have a full proposal and sample chapters available if you’re interested.  Thank you for your consideration.

New Nonfiction Book: So You Think You’re Asexual

There aren’t any traditionally published laymen’s books about asexuality, so I decided I’m just the girl to write one.

After all, I’ve been interviewed in magazines, radio, and visual media.  I’ve made helpful videos on YouTube and have nearly 1,500 subscribers.  I’m followed by a lot of people on Tumblr and LiveJournal and AVEN regarding asexuality.  So, since “who you are” matters more in selling a nonfiction book than what you’ve actually written, I decided if anyone’s qualified to write one it’s me.  And I’ve begun to do so.

This one won’t be handled the same way I’ve handled my fiction, though.  Nonfiction books are often sold based on the idea/the author, and often get purchased before they’re written.  I plan to have a first draft before I query, but I also don’t intend to solicit a test audience until or unless I find representation or a publisher for it.  I will be querying agents, though, even though you don’t necessarily need one for nonfiction, because I feel more comfortable doing it that way.

This is going to be FAST because I’ve said all this stuff before and I just have to figure out how to organize it.

Article: How to Be an Asexual Ally

Another article of mine was published in Good Vibrations today.  It’s a three-part post and now that they’re all complete I’m sharing them here.

Please read these:

  • Part One: What would we like you to do to make us feel valued and accepted?
  • Part Two: What would we like your reactions to sound like when we come out, and how would we like you to treat us afterwards?
  • Part Three: What questions would we like you to ask, and what behaviors would we prefer you avoid? What assumptions would we caution you against making regarding us and others like us?

(A)sexual premieres at Frameline Film Festival

(A)sexual is an independent documentary film about asexuality, asexual people, asexual people’s lives, and the making of a movement.  I’m a major “character” in the film. It is available at the following places: Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Vudu, Xbox Live, and PlayStation, or the trailer on Vimeo.

Stats:

  • Director: Angela Tucker
  • Producers: Katy Chevigny, Beth Davenport, Jolene Pinder
  • Executive Producer: Ewa Bigio
  • Editor: Michelle Chang
  • Main Interviewees: David Jay, Barb, Swank Ivy, Elizabeth, Brian
  • Running Time: 75 minutes
  • Production Company: Arts Engine/Big Mouth Films

Premiered: Frameline Film Festival – San Francisco – June 18, 2011

Other Film Festivals Shown: MIX COPENHAGEN (formerly known as Copenhagen Gay & Lesbian Film Festival), Reeling 2011: The Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival, Queersicht (Bern, Switzerland), Vox Feminae Festival (Zagreb, Croatia), New Orleans Film Festival, Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, NewFest Film Festival (New York).

Official description: Facing a sex obsessed culture, a mountain of stereotypes and misconceptions, and a lack of social or scientific research, asexuals–people who experience no sexual attraction–struggle to claim their identity.

(A)sexual follows the growth of a community that experiences no sexual attraction. In 2000, David Jay came out to his parents. He was asexual and was fine with it. And he was not alone. Studies show that 1% of the population is asexual. But in a society obsessed with sex, how do you deal with life as an outsider? Combining intimate interviews, verite footage, and animation with fearless humor and pop culture imagery, David and our four other characters grapple with this universal question and the outcomes might surprise you.

This independent documentary introduces the audience to the concept of asexuality–the sexual orientation of not finding anyone sexually attractive–and subjects viewers to both good information and popular misconceptions. Largely following the life and mission of asexual poster boy David Jay (founder of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network), we’re introduced to how asexuals handle intimacy, what the different kinds of asexuals are, what they do to spread awareness, and what the people who study them think.

(A)sexual is both a discussion of asexuality and a slice-of-life portrayal of how several asexuals live their lives, combined with information and commentary from sexologists, researchers, and random people on the street.