This week’s blog post focuses specifically on resources for sapphic literature writers. This is intended to be a living document. Links will be added as they are found.
Here are some of the best online writing and information resources for sapphic fiction authors:
- From award winning author and senior Ylva Publishing editor, Jae, her website and newsletter for authors, The Sapphic Quill, and her craft books and tips newsletter written under her legal name, Sandra Gerth.
- Malinda Lo’s Blog – Sections on writing and on LGBTQ YA Fiction
- Not specifically sapphic, but imminently useful: Writing with Color, a Tumblr site dedicated to writing and resources centered on racial, ethnic and religious diversity.
- Writer Beware: For ALL writers. Educate yourself. Stay safe from scams and scammers.
Writing workshops and Training: There are many writing workshops that focus on sapphic fiction. These workshops can be a great way to learn from experienced writers and get feedback on your work.
- Lambda Literary – Resources for Writers – Their stated goal is to help writers at all stages of their writing journey. Specifically check out their Learn with Lambda programs for LGBTQIA authors.
- Golden Crown Literary Society – Offers an annual writing academy that meets weekly, virtually for 9 months each year and includes a mentorship program, an annual conference with a craft track, and numerous online educational opportunities throughout the year, many of which are free.
Online communities: Besides the resources we’re beginning to develop here at MyQueerSapphFic, there are many online communities for sapphic fiction authors where you can connect with other writers and with readers, get feedback on your work, and learn about the industry. Some of these sites and communities also review books and/or allow advertising. Some of our favorite communities include:
- iHeartSapphFic – Reader heavy focus with lots of promos for authors to participate in (mostly free/some paid advertising spots) and a book finder database that puts ours to shame. We’re working on it!
- iReadIndies – A place for readers of indie published books and a collective for indie authors (not published through any established large publisher, university press, sapphic press/publisher, or other LGBTQIA press/publisher).
- Lesfic Marketing Alliance Facebook Group – Just what it says. Authors only, getting together to share tips and help each other promote.
- The Lesbian Review (TLR) – Reader heavy focus built on thousands of book reviews. Also review movies and more. There are opportunities to promote and to appear at reader facing events (mostly online through webinars and on Discord)
- Queer Romance Ink – Mostly a place to advertise (author pays). Large, searchable book database for readers that is growing more sapphic, but leans heavily toward gay fiction. Not just romance.
Review Sites and Book Bloggers: Some sites and bloggers accept ARC copies, some do not. Some use Netgally. Check with each individual site or blogger before requesting a review or sending your book/eBook.
- KittyKat’s Book Review Blog
- (The) Lesbrary
- Lesfic ARC Club – A facebook group where you can find reviewers
- Lesfic Sapphic Women Loving Women Book Reviews and Promos – A Facebook group where you can find reviewers
- Lez Review Books
- Mx Pheobe’s Viewpoint
- Rachel’s Sapphic Reviews
- Rainbow Book Reviews
- Rainbow Round Table – News and reviews for GLBT books from the American Library Association (ALA)
- Sapphic Book Review
- Smart Bitches, Trashy Books – Not a sapphic site but they review romance books with any pairings and they list sapphic books in their book finder.
- The Lesbian Reading Room – This site previously run by Velvet Lounger may be offline. Velvet can be found in Facebook sapphic reader groups doing promotions.
- TLR (formerly The Lesbian Review)
Agents and publishers: There are a number of publishers who specialize in sapphic fiction. If you’re interested in getting your work published traditionally rather than self-publishing, you can research them to find the right fit for you. Agents are typically necessary for large, mainstream publishers. There are far too many of those publishers and agents to list.
The publishers below lean toward sapphic literature or accept it exclusively. Each will typically take a direct submission. Check their websites before submitting for information and guidelines.
- Affinity Rainbow Publishing
- Aunt Lute Books – Radical feminist press that does publish queer/sapphic books
- Bedazzled Ink
- Bella Books
- BLF Press – (Concentrates on queer women of color)
- Bold Strokes Books
- Bywater Books
- Desert Palm Press
- Dirt Road Books – Publisher appears to be defunct
- Flashpoint Publications – Absorbed Regal Crest Publications
- Sapphire Books Publishing
- Triplicity Publishing
- Queen of Swords Press
- Ylva Publishing
Other publishers who focus on LGBTQIA fiction and often take direct submissions:
- Carnation Press
- Cleis Press
- Dreamspinner Press
- Interlude Press
- Launch Point Press
- NineStar Press
- Pride Publishing
- RedBone Press – (concentrates on black lesbians and black gay men)
- Riptide Publishing
- Supposed Crimes
These lists are by no means exhaustive and will continue to evolve.
These books offer insights into the craft of writing sapphic fiction, as well as advice on how to represent sapphic characters and relationships in a way that is authentic and respectful.
- Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels – by Gwen Hayes – Not sapphic, but inclusive and a must for romance writers
- Writing the Other: A Practical Guide to Inclusive Fiction by Paula J. Massood
Awards: There are multiple awards programs for LGBTQ+ books. Some are dedicated to sapphic books and some exclusively to gay books or bisexual books. Other awards and award programs are more general in nature. Listed below are reputable programs authors and publishers can submit to. Many require a submission fee which helps to keep the awards program viable. Some of the organizations giving awards are profiled in other areas of this blog post.
The Goldies – Sapphic exclusive awards in multiple categories given in July of each year by the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) for works published between January 1st and December 31st of the previous year. To facilitate judging, GCLS staggers the submission deadlines. Submissions generally start in late August or very early September of the publishing year for all books published through at least the first half of the year (January through June). the final submission period ends in mid to late January of the year following the year of publication. There is a submission fee.
The Lammys – Given by Lambda Literary each year in May or June for (primarily) books published in the previous calendar year. There are exceptions. Lambda has lesbian specific categories, gay specific categories, bisexual ones, and transgender ones. There are also some overall LGBTQ categories not broken out by orientation including – for some reason – the broad category of ‘Mystery.’ Submissions begin September 1st of the publishing year and extend slightly into the year following. There is a scaled submission fee.
The Lesfic Bard Awards – Sapphic exclusive awards in multiple categories given annually for books published the previous calendar year. Submissions are generally open all year for books published that year and close in January of the year after the publishing year. There is a submission fee. Note, if you write gay fiction as well, they also sponsor the Gay Scribe Awards.
The Publishing Triangle Awards – The Publishing Triangle presents 10 awards annually. Two awards, one for non-fiction, and one for poetry are lesbian only. Others are closed to sapphic books and still others are open to the full spectrum of LGBTQIA orientations. Submissions open in late September and run through early December of the publishing year.
Foreward Indies Book of the Year – These prestigious awards are open to all indie published books, both by individual indie authors and authors from small and boutique presses like those of you with Bella, Bold Strokes, Ylva, etc. Submissions are open year round. They close on January 31st of the year following the publishing year. Finalists in all categories are named in March. Winners are named in June. There is a (steep) fee to submit.
Ippy Awards – An unaffiliated, but prestigious awards program for independent publishers/indie authors who publish books for an English speaking audience. There are dozens of award categories including one for LGBTQ+ Fiction. Early bird entries are in September and November. The current entry cutoff is March 16th, 2024. Submission fees are required for each category of submission.
Stonewall Book Awards – Sponsored by the American Library Association’s Rainbow Round Table. The award honors one exceptional book each year in each of three categories (adult fiction, adult non-fiction, and childrens/YA). Submissions (free) are open during the publishing year. The winners are announced in January of February of the year following the publishing year with the actual award (plaque and monetary) given at the ALA annual conference in June.
Please note: The Rainbow Awards were given each year by Elisa Rolle through 2021. They appear to have stopped with that year.
Here are some other resources that you may find helpful:
The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) – Mentioned above under workshops and training – A nonprofit organization supporting an international community of readers, writers, publishers, editors, audiobook narrators, and fans devoted to increasing the diversity, accessibility, quality, and visibility of sapphic and women-loving-women literature.
The Lambda Literary Foundation – Also, mentioned above, Lambda Literary provides resources for LGBTQIA+ writers, including a mentorship program, a writing retreat, and a literary awards program.
The Publishing Triangle is a professional organization for LGBTQIA+ writers, editors, and publishers. They offer a number of resources for writers, including a mentorship program, a writing contest, and a book fair.