Today I am delighted to have an interview with Less Than Three press, a queer romance press!
- Tell me a little bit about Less Than Three Press! What are your guiding principles/ideas?
We are a queer romance press run by, fittingly enough, three people. Our focus is on happy endings for EVERYONE. Not just the hot white gay boys. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s been pretty well established that romance in general has a diversity problem, and MM is no exception to that rule. My sister and I are asexual, my wife is bisexual. I have friends that run the gamut. I’ve had readers, even before LT3, who would email to say how much my books meant to them for all sorts of reasons. LT3 might not be one of the biggest names out there, but what we do is important to us. Representation matters, and we’re happy to pick up where the bigger publishers leave off, and help authors new and veteran in whatever way we can to get their voices heard.
- Less Than 3 focuses on LGBTQIA+ romance – why did you choose to focus on this genre?
Because it’s our favorite thing to read, and we wanted to see more of it. That’s all there really was to it.
- How do you ensure that the books that you publish are as inclusive as possible?
The best way to do it, or at least get a particular part of the spectrum showing up more, is to put out specific calls. We’ve had calls specifically for trans characters, for bisexual characters, etc. We try always to push for intersectionality too—POC, disabled, etc. We can’t make authors writer anything, but we try to say and show and demonstrate that we want any combination that people can possibly think of, and we prove it by publishing those books when they come along. All we can do is publish the books and let people know, any way we can, that they’re welcome here and we want to help give their stories a chance.
- What do you think of the current focus on inclusivity in the publishing industry? Is enough being done?
I think publishers and authors are trying. I certainly see more authors writing more diversely than they did before. But I also see too many who are content to just do the exact same thing they always have, which is cis gay (sometimes bi) white boys falling in love. It doesn’t help that LT3 offers everything we, authors, and readers can think of, and then readers don’t buy anything but the aforementioned cis etc. books. We had .99 sales the other day, and all the MM books sold like fire, and barely anyone bought the FF books. You see that a lot. So no, I don’t think enough is being done. Publishers should try harder, authors should leave their comfort zones more, and readers should mean it, and buy what they say they want to read, instead of just offering lip service.
- What was the first LGBTQIA+ book that you were aware of? Did it inspire you to publish queer books?
I honestly don’t remember the first one anymore. I remember I used to have to search bookstores for hours, or later trawl the internet for something, anything. Even the early days of Amazon didn’t really have much. One of my oldest queer books is Sigil, and it has a fairytale in it I still love to reread from time to time. My poor copy is falling apart. But I don’t think it was the first. I do remember the first queer couple I ever saw in a book – it was an Amanda Quick romance novel, though I don’t recall which one now. But the heroine’s ‘aunts’ were actually her aunt and the aunt’s lover.
- Do you have any big plans for the future? I see the press is turning nine!
No big plans. We’d like to bring more diversity into our staff. We want to expand into more foreign languages. And keep pushing to offer as much queer romance, across the whole spectrum and any and all combinations within, that we can. Mostly, we try to listen to what people need and want, and respond accordingly.