Tuesday, December 02, 2008

December is buy a book by a black author and give it to someone not black month!

Ever since Barack Obama's historic presidential win, many black authors, myself included, have been wondering--hoping--the Obama Effect will trickle down to the publishing world and publishers will finally realize that the typical baby mama drama, street lit, and erotica books don't wholly represent black people and our experiences.

But as with any business, publishing is a numbers game. All publishers see are the big sales and dollar signs attached to publishing such narrow views of black life. So all of our bitching and griping, no matter how valid, thus far has been to no avail. As Shon Bacon so aptly put it in her recent Blogging in Black post,"They want to see the numbers, they want to see the sales, they want to SEE the change."

But such change is going to be hard to come by if we can't widen our readerships. Just in time for the holidays, Author Carleen Brice started a blog to introduce non-black readers to books by black authors. She's urging us to buy our non black coworkers, friends, and acquaintances books by black authors for the holidays.

I think this is an excellent idea. I fully believe that readers of all races will buy and read books that appeal to them, no matter the race of the author, IF they know about them. I've received email from readers across the globe who told me they enjoy my books. So, I'm not buying into the idea that our books don't have mainstream appeal. Because at the end of the day we're all just people, people who share many of the same human experiences. And our books reflect that.



krimileser said...

This is a kind of a catch 22.

Bookstores segregate black authors and therefore generate the idea that their books are "different". "Now" you come along saying race doesn't matter; but to raise awareness you have to aggregate black authors.

At the beginning I wondered if there are no African American crime fiction authors because their books are (almost) not present in the internet discourse. As I am a German and live in Germany I have to rely on the Internet. I found your MystNoir and I found some libraries that mention black authors, but it is not an easy task.

Being a black authors is not a sign of quality in itself. I agree with you, readers read "books that appeal to them". In the context of crime fiction that would mean (a kind of second generation of) a data base, which not only identifies an author as black (or Latino !) but describes the style, the sub-genre, the merits and the shortcomings of a book.

Wishing you well


angela Henry said...


Welcome! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us. And I'm glad you've discovered MystNoir. There aren't a lot of black authors writing mysteries these days and I'm hoping that will change in the future and publishers will start publishing a broader range of all kinds of books by black authors.

Take care,

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