Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Reading, Writing & Racism

Today on the Blogging In Black author Monica Jackson blogs about a recent controversy that resulted when she blogged about a romance blogger who said she not only would never read an AA romance novel but will never feature them on her site because she felt Monica was racist. Huh! Anyway, the discussion that resulted from this has caused British romance blogger Karen Scott to conduct a survey of AA authors and our experiences within the publishing industry. She is looking for at least 100 authors to participate. The details are below.

Racism In Publishing, How Does It Affect You?

Are you an African American author who’s been published for at least one year? If so Karen Scott wants to hear from you.

She’s conducting a survey based on the racism within the publishing industry, and whether or not it’s as prevalent as some believe. She’s looking for black or African American authors who have been published for at least one year.

She would like to know about your specific experiences within the industry thus far. She wants to know how AA authors feel about the current shelving policies, and niche marketing. She wants to know who you feel is to blame for the problems that you face. She also wants your suggestions on how things can be improved upon.

In all, there are twenty questions in the survey, and all that she asks is that people be as honest as possible. Confidentiality is assured if requested, but for the findings to yield more weight, she would request that she be granted permission to directly quote from the answers given by the authors.

She’s hoping to poll at least 100 AA authors, in an effort to ensure that a fair representation is achieved.

If enough authors agree to participate, (and depending on the findings) the results may well be sent to representatives within media and press. No promises that Oprah will hear about it, but all efforts will be made to get the message out.

If there are AA authors out there interested in participating in this poll, please e-mail Karen at hairylemony @ gmail. com (without the spaces) with the subject header ‘Please send me the survey’.

The deadline for the survey to be completed and returned to Karen is March 1st 2007



patricia sargeant said...

Angela, thanks for posting about this survey. I've often been concerned regarding the segregation of our books by publishers and book sellers. Not only do most publishers have identified African American lines, they also use African American images on the cover. To me, that begs the question, why then do book sellers feel a need to create an African American shelf for our books? Don't they think readers will get the message by the cover and the imprint? I'm also concerned about the segregated shelving because it lumps fiction and non-fiction - and all their subgenres - together. I realize not all book sellers do this. But the ones who have segregated sections are doing readers and authors a disservice. Thanks again for keeping us informed.

Angela Henry said...


I understand how you feel, especially about the lumping together of all genres in the AA section. I've been told by mystery readers (black and white) that when they go to a bookstore to look for new mysteries, they ARE NOT going to the AA section. They are going to the MYSTERY section, which I find frustrating when I think about how many people my books are not reaching. Thanks for commenting ; ). I hope you'll participate in the survey.

Anonymous said...

I'm not crazy about it when public libraries create an AA section either, but many of our AA patrons expect it. Some get really pissed off when I'm a branches that DON'T have one. Unfortunately, people who wouldn't think to look in the AA section (or don't know it's there), miss out.

Chris Mannix

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