Thatâ€™s a lot of abbreviations - for those who might need it: Publisher Catnip explore the lack of gay fiction in Young Adult fiction in the UK:
On speaking to an agent who receives both UK and US submissions, I was told that the US manuscripts featuring gay protagonists often tended towards being too earnest for the UK market, where we tend to shy away from anything too ‘issuesâ€™ based. For the UK, we need storylines that reflect our society and attitude, books where the main character just happens to be gay.
So, why arenâ€™t publishers picking up UK-based non-straight protagonists?
OK. So that agent I mentioned just now, would you like to hazard a guess as to how many of the UK submissions featured a non-straight protagonist?
I asked around and got the same answer from other agents and editors - Iâ€™m not saying this was an extensive study, but the agents I talked to receive something in the region of 12-15,000 submissions a year. Gay sidekicks? Tick. Siblings? Tick. Even parents might feature, but not one protagonist.