Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A good book is a good book

Since BET announced Harlequin is buying them. A few blogs have been talking about it and how it will affect the authors and their books.

As a writer I’m sadden to lose another company that focuses on our books. It took years before the publishers recognized that African-American would like books that featured characters that looked like us.

I’ve been reading since I was four. I love books. The fact there is racism concerning books is appalling to me but unfortunately there is.

When our books came out instead of being marketed as romance novels they were marketed as African-American Romance Novels then Multi-Cultural Romance novels. We didn’t come up with the term, the publishers did. They decided to segregate our books. It wasn’t always like this. I remember going to the books stores looking for the books when they were announced. They were in the romance section. I found them by the spines because the book covers weren’t showing. I recognized the logo.

Later the section became the African-American section. So I had two sections to go to now. The AA sections and the romance sections. The romance to get my other books, did I stop reading white romances because they started writing AA romances? No, I’m not color blind a good book is a good book. I just had more authors to buy now.

When I joined RWA, I was surprised by how many of the members had never read an AA romance or even knew an AA author’s name. I was surprised because they were writers and as writers I thought we tried to keep up with the current market. I guess not.

I try to introduce readers to all writers. Yes SORMAG catered to Multi-cultural authors, however every chance I got I was promoting other authors too. I still believe a good book is a good book.

To get passed the racism, readers need to focus on the writing and not who is writing it. For years African-Americans only had books to read by White authors. Did that stop us from enjoying a book NOPE. A good book is a good book.

Here’s my comment I posted at ATBF about the topic about authors being on online communities

Promotion is something I preach to authors all the time. One of the reasons I started SORMAG was because the AA books and authors weren’t receiving a lot of promotion. Wayne started the online promotion, I joined on and then a few more sites did.

Most of the authors I interviewed, I approached them. They didn’t approach me. The ones I’ve never interviewed were because they didn’t have the time or no email. In this time and era its sad if you don’t have an email address. Its even sadder if you can’t make time to do a FREE interview that will help promote your books.

Many readers are now online and they meet new authors by visiting sites, groups and forums. If you’re not promoting your book online how will they know who you are.

Yeah we can moan and groan about white readers not reading our books, but if they don’t know about them how can they.

Many of SORMAG's readers were white, they wanted to find new authors writing good books.

No matter how tired you are, you have to make time for promotion. Because if you’re not promoting , nobody will read your book because they don’t know it exist.

3 comments:

Camy Tang said...

LaShaunda, I totally agree with you on the promotion aspect. As a serious writer, seriously pursuing a serious career, I could never justify being a hermit and expecting other people to notice me. Puh-leeze.

I never thought about race and fiction. It just doesn't occur to me. I don't know many Asian fiction writers--or at least, many Asian POPULAR FICTION writers, like it's a sin if you don't jive with literary fiction.

So for me to choose to write Asian fiction (romance, no less!) was a risk. Very few people had done it. Who the heck would buy it? Well, the jury's still out on that since I'm not published, but I'm hoping the cultural aspect is what appeals, not the color of my heroine's skin or her slanty eyes.

I guess I don't really have a point, I just wanted to gab. LOL

Camy

J. Martin said...

LaShunda,

Thanks for being so candid about this. It truly is amazing to witness how very little some AA authors and publishers in general promote their books especially when over 100,000 books are published every year.

It takes so long to write, edit, query, get an agent, get picked up and a year or so more after to just get published and maybe see a check. To go through all of this and not put the power, time and money behind your book--consistently almost seems like efforts were wasted to get published.

Wouldn't you agree--or do you think the goal of some aspiring authors is to say, "I've been published?"

Keep up the great work! We need to bring you on staff.

J. Martin
www.blackbookpromo.com
blackbookpromo@blackbookpromo.com

Samantha said...

I love reading Arabesque romances. I'm shocked that Harlequin bought them since they don't publish many AA romances. I hope that Harlequin doesn't discontinue or make them so white you don't think that they're black at all. Will Harlequin make the books shorter? I'm really concerned because I love Arabesque books.