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    Words: Every Month Is LGBTQI Book Month

    By Michele Karlsberg

    Michele Karlsberg: In this issue, author Carol Rosenfeld shares her thoughts as LGBTQI Book Month gets underway.

    June is LGBTQI Pride Month, and it is also LGBTQI Book Month. If you’re a reader, however, every month should be LGBTQI book month.

    As the chair of The Publishing Triangle, and the coordinator of the Triangle’s poetry awards, I get to see an overview of what’s new in the LGBTQI literary scene. Finalists for our awards are usually announced in March, around the same time as the finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards. While I’m always interested to see where the finalists for the two organizations overlap, I’m happiest when they don’t overlap all that much, because it means that more LGBTQI books will receive recognition.

    I am a regular at the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival and the Golden Crown Literary Society Conference. I also go to readings throughout the year. Because of the conferences, I am friendly—on Facebook, at the very least—with a lot of writers. I therefore have a decent sense of what’s being published and who is publishing it.

    I think I’m more of a reader than a writer, although on the rare occasions when ideas are popping like popcorn in my mind, I love writing. But I spend much more time reading than I do writing.

    If I could spend every day of the year reading, I would still not have enough time to get through all of the books in my to-be-read pile. It keeps growing, because I keep buying more books! I am easily enticed: an author I admire writes something new; I go to a reading and hear an author I don’t know read something fantastic; a friend recommends a book to me; I read a good review. I have dozens of post-its with book titles scribbled on them.

    I try to spread the wealth by supporting LGBTQI bookstores like the Bureau of General Services, Queer Division, or independent bookstores, like Book Culture in my hometown of NYC. There’s a local Barnes & Noble, and if I attend readings there, I will buy the book there.

    When traveling, I always look for a bookstore to visit, such as Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto, Ontario; Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Missouri; Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon; and Women and Children First Bookstore in Chicago, Illinois. (Editor’s Note: For a list of just some of our great bookstores here in the Bay Area, check out: And, of course, public libraries are a great source for readers—whether you’re on a budget, or don’t need to keep a book once you’ve finished reading it.

    I read a lot of LGBTQI books, but I do not read only LGBTQI books. I read whatever appeals to me at any given moment, regardless of the author’s gender or how they identify, or how the book is categorized. I am trying to read more books by LGBTQI writers of color, as well as books by writers who identify as trans or gender-variant.

    If I am passionate about a book I’ve read, I buy additional copies and give them to friends. Right now, I am compiling my annual summer reading list, and I have been thinking that this summer I really should focus on reading books that I already have, plus the mysteries I have pre-ordered. What are the chances that I will be able to stick to that plan?

    Carol Rosenfeld is the author of “The One That Got Away.” She is currently working on her second book.

    Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in publicity for the LGBT community. This year, Karlsberg celebrates twenty-eight years of successful book campaigns.


    San Francisco Bay Times Columnist Michele Karlsberg Named Lambda Literary’s Publishing Professional Award Winner

    Lambda Literary, the global leader advancing LGBTQ literature, has announced that the recipient of the 2017 Publishing Professional Award is publicist, publisher and San Francisco Bay Times columnist Michele Karlsberg. The award honors a distinguished individual in our community whose innovative work in the publishing industry promotes and promulgates LGBTQ literature.

    The Publishing Professional Award is selected by Lambda’s Board of Trustees.

    “I have been impressed by Michele’s contributions to the LGBTQ publishing world for many years,” said Board of Trustees Vice President Amy Scholder. “It’s not only her commitment to her authors and our community, which puts her in mind for Lambda Literary’s Publishing Professional Award, but the way she inspires us with her passion and dedication to social justice for all.”

    Karlsberg’s list of clients has included Katherine Forrest, Felice Picano, Kate Clinton, Stephen Fry, Jewelle Gomez, Assotto Saint, Dorothy Allison, Martin Duberman, Judy Grahn and Minnie Bruce Pratt, to name a few. She has represented many International Publishing companies: Spinifex Press (Australia), Second Story Press (Canada), Bruno Gmunder (Germany) and Creation Books (U.K.). She generously speaks at many conferences about the business of publishing, publicity and marketing. When she gets to share what she knows about marketing and publicity in the world of publishing, she is a very happy woman.

    She is one of the founders/publishers of Amethyst Press, home of groundbreaking authors Dennis Cooper, Kevin Killian, Mark Ameen, Stan Leventhal and Patrick Moore. She is a strong advocate for independent booksellers and worked with Carol Seajay on the Feminist Bookstore Network. She is a curator of Outspoken, a nationwide LGBTQI literary series that helps new and established voices reach a wider audience.

    As publisher at Bywater Books, she published many award-winning authors. She is an innovator as well. In 1989, she launched the Lesbian and Gay Book Month. Along with Michael Denneny, Karlsberg was the first co-chair of the Publishing Triangle and is still active today. She worked with The Book of The Month Club/Quality Paperback Books to launch their LGBT Book Club InsightOut along with the Triangle Classic series.

    Michele will be recognized as the winner of the Lambda Literary Publishing Professional Award at the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony on June 12 in New York City. Please join all of us at the San Francisco Bay Times in congratulating her on this well-deserved honor.

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