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Lynn’s latest book – Soulful Strut

When did you first get published?

My first book came out in 1995

What genre do you write in?

Romance and women’s fiction

What race/colour are the majority of your characters?

My main characters are black, but casts of characters in my novels have always been diverse (white, Asian, etc.)

How is your work marketed?

Publishers do the usual, ads in Romantic Times, publisher catalogues and send ARCs out for review. A few times HarperCollins coordinated with myself and a PR pro I used on special promotional efforts

Where are your books generally shelved?

In the AA sections at Waldenbooks/Borders. In fiction at Barnes & Noble. Walmart puts them on a shelf with AA mass market fiction.

Where would you prefer your books to be shelved?

In romance or fiction. For a long time I didn’t have a problem with the shelving. I wanted readers to find my books easily. After taking part in some lively forums about shelving, and seeing the way AA books of all genres are just thrown together, I changed my mind.

Even black readers browsing for a specific genre have to guess which book is a mystery, which is urban fiction, which is a romance, etc. It makes no sense.

But let me say that back in the day blacks who were activists fought for bookstores first to carry our books, then to increase the number and variety of AA books on sale, then to give AA studies (serious non-fiction on Civil Rights and other race issues) a separate section. So I don’t think the origins of separate shelving is like the “Colored Only” signs back in the day. But now it’s time to move away from it.

Problem is AA readers want those sections generally. They don’t want to wander around looking for their fave AA authors in the romance, then go to the horror, etc. sections.

I’ve heard them say it, reinforcing what booksellers say. I don’t think this is some made-up excuse. AA authors have to raise consciousness about this- that convenience shouldn’t trump the greater good.

Have you been subjected to direct/indirect racism from editors, publishers etc in your publishing career.

That would be impossible for me to answer other than to say, “I don’t know”. This is a complicated business and decisions are made based on sales.

Also I’m at a great distance from the decision making on marketing, etc. So any answer I give about myself personally would just be speculation with no evidence at all to back it up.

I will venture to say that I don’t think most publishers have figured out how to market most AA commercial fiction.

I can say that black readers in America tend to read a variety, and don’t just stick to romance, fantasy or mystery like other readerships might. If they fall in love with black characters they will cross genres, though horror, science fiction and paranormal generally seem to be a hard sell.

Yet as a new romance author back in the day I remember that they marketed Arabesque in the traditional ways white romance authors were marketed. Which IMHO explained why I would meet black women at booksignings for several years stunned to learn about black romances- even after Arabesque had become established.

Although I don’t have hard figures, I have a strong feeling that most American black women don’t read Romantic Times or even know about the magazine. That’s just one example.

How do you feel about Oprah Winfrey’s book club- Do you think she could do more to promote AA authors?

Oprah is not doing her book club to promote a group of authors period, she wants to promote reading the kind of literature she prefers. She’s not going to push books that she doesn’t personally love, so no.

Unlike some authors I don’t think Oprah has a duty to promote AA authors more. She has done a lot for AA authors of literary fiction and to encourage a love of reading in general. That’s enough IMO.

Critics of her book choices should leave her alone for the love of all that’s sacred!!! LOL Seriously, I’m not on the bandwagon to make Oprah, or any celebrity, push some agenda as defined by others.

Do you believe that publishers are more ambivalent when it comes to marketing AA books?

Yes. I think (no facts, JMO) they really believe that every AA novel that hits big is an anomaly for some weird reason that I cannot for the life of me fathom.

They understand fiction with a race issue, like showing us suffering and overcoming racial indignity.

They do understand violent, sexually explicit books selling like hotcakes, but Terry McMillan and most other authors writing about AA folks struggling with life issues seem to leave them going-“Yeah, but that was a fluke.” Caveat before this next answer. I like urban fiction, read gritty books and love them. But the usual picture of crime, sex, violence seems to reinforce a racial stereotype that somehow whites understand. So they “get” why urban fiction is hot. But building authors who aren’t doing these kinds of books seems to them a waste of money.

Even so urban fiction had to “prove itself”, once again, before the big houses joined the party. And other self-pubbed authors first worked their butts off, built an audience and then got picked up by traditional houses.

Which race groups would you say bought the majority of your books?

Black women, hands down. I literally can’t give away free books at RWA publisher sponsored events. While new white authors with no name recognition draw interest.

What do you think needs to change in order for more white people to read African American books?

IMO there needs to be a cultural shift. White readers need to stop thinking of us as “others” whose stories are in some ethnic code that is not relevant to their human experience.

No matter how much we’ve said it, white women don’t think that a romance with AA characters is about romance. They are convinced it seems (in general) that there is some element in our books that will alienate, offend or confuse them.

Others are convinced that there are “political statements” in books even when the author is scratching her head because she didn’t include any such subplot. But perception is reality.

There also needs to be less of whites thinking the world revolves around them, that everything important (big ideas, grand romance, great expectations) has a white face.

This is not even conscious, it’s just so ingrained that most whites didn’t even notice the lack of AA people in romance books, or any other fiction, or movies, or television. See, this is “normal” for them.

Have you ever been snubbed by white readers/white authors during a signing?

Oh yeah.

Have you ever been overlooked by an editor in favor of a white author?

I have no way to tell, except. I will say that at RWA conferences I’ve seen newbie and mid-list white authors get perks like lunch with their editors (picking up the tab) while the AA romance authors in general don’t.

Definitely not us mid-list AA authors(which means bottom list in reality) don’t. At first I thought, “You’re being a tad paranoid, Lynn.” But I kept seeing it. Then finally another AA author said, “Have you noticed…” and I was like “ding-ding” that rings a bell.

Now again this is complicated because there is no such thing as equal treatment when it comes to authors. There are prominent AA romance authors who do meet with their editors. So it’s not a hands down “NO” AA authors get perks.

But when you see unknown or mid-list white authors get treatment that AA authors don’t, you do wonder.

Have you ever been asked to tone down, or increase the ethnicity within your
books?

Never.

Are you familiar with Millennia Black’s lawsuit against Penguin? If so, what do you think her chances of winning are?

Based on what little I know she may have a shot.

How do you think her victory will affect the way AA authors are treated within
the industry?

I doubt it. I think they will quietly continue as always, but be extra careful not to make the fatal mistake MB’s editor/publisher did.

What are your thoughts on niche marketing? What do you think the limitations are if any?

Niche marketing makes sense, but AA fiction should have outreach marketing as well.

Have you been personally involved in trying to bring about changes within the publishing industry, with regards to how African American authors are treated? If so can you tell me about your efforts?

At first I wasn’t going to say no, but I did join one effort to get a major chain to stop shelving all AA books in one section and put AA romance in with other romances (wrote a letter to corporate). They ignored us. The cash register rules.

Do you think this will still be a controversial subject in five years time, or do you think major changes would have been made by then?

Unless I’m totally wrong and MB’s suit brings changes I doubt anything will change in regard to shelving or marketing, etc. Back in 1993 when Kensington created Arabesque AA romance authors thought things would change, didn’t happen.

When our books started selling and found the untapped audience of AA women who had been reading and collecting white romances for decades we thought, “Ah-ha, money talks.” Nope, no change. So here we are eleven years later and what are we discussing? If things will change. You do the math.

What has changed is publishers realized that they could make money, bookstores realized they could make more money, thus more black authors are on the shelves than ever before. You don’t have to go on a great treasure search to find black authors of fiction and non-fiction. That has indeed changed. So I have hope.

Thanks for taking the time to participate in this survey Lynn.

If you want to find out a little bit more about Lynn and her books, you can visit her website here.

Coming up tomorrow, author, Kayla Perrin.

22 Comments »


  • Eve Vaughn
    March 11
    3:36 pm

    Very insightful interview K. I think if there has to be an AA section in the book store, at least shelve some of those books with the proper genre to make it more accessible to everyone. Let the readers decide.

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  • Sara Dennis
    March 11
    5:18 pm

    Great interview questions, Karen. And great answers from Ms. Emery.

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  • Anonymous
    March 11
    5:57 pm

    Girl, you’ll be lucky if you get more than two comments, per author. If the people affected the most can’t even bring themselves to get involved, you got no chance of this making a difference.

    Sandra

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  • Sarah McCarty
    March 11
    7:15 pm

    I have never understood why books that cross two very specific buying markets aren’t shelved in BOTH sections. For most books, this doesn’t makes sense as the lines are too blurred and the books demand more share of shelf space for little reason, but AA romance has two very strong, very distinct markets. It would make comlete financial sense to cross shelf thos the same way romance books written by a local author get shelved in romance and in the local author section.

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  • Anne
    March 11
    7:25 pm

    Well, I don’t know much about the subject as it isn’t evident here in Wisconsin… at least not the bookstores I’ve been in, but I think it’s just ridiculous. Honestly.

    BTW- I have Lynn’s book in my TBR stack. And you know what? I had no clue she was an AA author when I picked up the book. Why? Because it doesn’t freaking matter to me. I just read the blurb on the back, liked what I saw, and poof! It was mine. Simple as that. For me, it NEVER comes down to race. Ever.

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  • fiveandfour
    March 11
    8:38 pm

    I will venture to say that I don’t think most publishers have figured out how to market most AA commercial fiction.

    I’d have to agree with Lynn on that one. A discussion over at Smart Bitches some time back had me actively seeking romance genre books written by AA authors and it irritated me that all AA authors were in one section together, regardless of the genre they were writing in, with no sub-categorization beyond this ethnic commonality. You have to work to find what you’re looking for, and what customer wants to do that?

    How hard could it be for booksellers to do some cross shelving? I found something yesterday at a local independent bookseller thanks to cross shelving that I doubt I would’ve found otherwise thanks to the “get in, grab a few books, get out” mentality I had by the time I got to the book store yesterday.

    But marketing goes beyond shelving, and I think the fact that the publishing world is white dominated works against AA authors not just due to racism or cultural imperialism (even if unconsciously done).

    We have a discomfort with talking about race issues openly, which makes it difficult to tackle subjects where race plays a part. There’s a desire to not cause offense*, and that impulse to the (perceived) politeness of silence is just the opposite of what’s needed in order to ask the right questions and obtain the right answers.

    For myself, I’d prefer to see AA authors marketed just like any other author with an eye towards promoting a book’s content rather than its authorship. That’s how any unknown author is promoted, and for the most part AA authors are unknown to the wider world. Once names are established, then that added element of promoting by name can kick in, too.

    But I’m not in publishing or advertising, I’m just a potential customer who not-so-occasionally heads to the bookstore for a good browse and who finds most things to read either based on recommendation, based on curiosity thanks to advertising, or thanks to ease in locating something that piques my fancy.

    *I’ll give you an example of silence-as-politeness: I think that the term AA is outdated, or if not outdated, simply too narrow – but there’s a chokehold on white people calling someone simply “black” or using any labels at all beyond “African American”, so we carry on with AA. For instance, someone was telling me about an interview they saw that featured a U.S. anchorwoman and a British interviewee who was black. The anchorwoman kept saying “African American” to describe the black British community, and the interviewee repeatedly said, “I’m British and we’re “black”, not “African American””. This circle of ridiculousness kept going until the interviewee decided to bite her tongue, do the internal eye roll, and accept being called African American. Similarly, I’ve met white people who were born and grew up in Africa and who would be eligible for the term “African American” if the same logic applied here as it does with any other part of the world, but it doesn’t so it becomes a kind of joke. The so-called “women’s lib movement” suffers from a similar problem where people feel constrained to use the terminology and abide by the “rules” introduced in the 1960s even if they don’t feel right any more, but we’re stuck now in a kind of political correctness straightjacket which is really working against us. Kind of an ironic outcome to the social ideals these movements set out to achieve, no? (Which is all beside the point that, to me, this terminology seems to reduce Africa and give the impression that it’s all the same, everywhere on the continent – that there’s no cultural difference, for example, between an Egyptian and a Kenyan. But that’s in the mix and irritates me, too, so I felt compelled to mention it.)

    Sorry Karen, I didn’t mean to try to find the upper word limit for comments when I started out…my mouth just kind of ran away from me ;-).

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  • Karen Scott
    March 11
    9:08 pm

    Fiveandfour don’t apologise, it’s posts like yours I’m hoping for during these debates.

    I have to agree with you about the whole African American thing. I never understood why it was such a bad thing to call a black person, a black person. I think that the AA label has totally outlived its usefulness.

    The shelving policy is crazy, but there doesn’t seem to be any solidarity amongst the black authors in terms of trying to change that status quo. I can’t help but think that if more effort had been put into trying to raise these issues as a body of people, these changes could have been made by now.

    I recall a few years ago, our local council were threatening to build a mental hospital full of pedophiles and rapists, near where we live. A group of us got together, and boycotted the plans. We got up a petition, got over 5000 names on that petition, and forced the council to re-think the whole thing. We wouldn’t have achieved that, had we not stood together as one. I think the same principle applies.

    If it’s the black readers who are buying the books, who are insisting on the separate shelving, then perhaps it’s they who need to be educated. How hard is it to find a romance book, in a romance section, regardless of the colour of the author, if one knows their alphabet?

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  • Karen Scott
    March 11
    10:26 pm

    By the way Sandra, I was pretty disappointed buy the myopia and apathy that’s out there. This issue doesn’t affect me in any way shape or form, but I thought it was a good thing to do. I’m still mad as hell at the one author who forwarded my private e-mail address to a whole host of Yahoo groups.

    There was also one author who sent me a long e-mail basically calling me out for illegitimately including her on the list of people who agreed to participate. She called me a liar and a cheat, and cited that her main reason for not participating was because I defended Sybil, when Monica was calling her a racist.

    As it happens she had to apologise for calling me a liar and a cheat, because it was a total misunderstanding, but with attitudes like that, I get why these issue still exists.

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  • Camilla
    March 11
    11:03 pm

    Over on Monica’s blog, Roslyn addresses the same issue Lynn does: TPTB don’t know how to market black-authored fiction of any genre, and that they (and the majority of non-black Americans) tend to view the black experience as one thing: struggle from poverty and the ghetto. Even Matt over at Niggerati Manor expressed his frustrations that Literary Authors of color only receive accolades and attention if the subject is about overcoming racism and struggling, while black authors who write Lit Fiction about people who happen to be black that has little or nothing to do with race are ignored by the “cultural elite”.

    And I see that happening with the romance genre. As Lynn said, we’ve all been programmed to see “whiteness” as the dominant, desired culture to the point where most people of that dominant culture shun minority cultures due to perceptions and assumptions.

    I freely admit that I warily walk into fiction authored by black people because my knee-jerk reaction is to (wrongfully & automatically) assume the books are “ghetto” (the titles don’t help).In fact, all the “baby mama”, “thug”, “playa” titled books make me feel as though the books proclaim “keep out” for me because that isn’t my experience as a black American. I want to support black authors–heck, any author I like–but from my POV, it’s rather hard to do so when the publishing world seems bent upon alienating the hordes of black people living in America who aren’t “thugs” and “baby mama’s”–as they seem to assume we all are.

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  • Monica
    March 11
    11:25 pm

    Lynn Emery is intelligent, thoughtful, straight-up and knows the deal.

    Y’all should take in to account how much sheer courage it takes to brave this subject in a romance venue in an honest and non-promotional fashion. I addressed it on my own blog–a lack of response by black authors isn’t particularly due to apathy.

    Kudos to all the authors approaching the dragon and attempting to ride (be careful now :-).

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  • Anonymous
    March 11
    11:44 pm

    These issues have been around a lot longer than your survey, and I know that the reason behind the lack of participants wasn’t apathy. When you’ve been fighting the unfairness for twenty years, trust me, all you want is a trouble-free existence.

    We all have to eat, and the people who are helping to feed us, are our own people. White readers neither care, nor want to care about the stuff we go through as black writers.

    I think it’s a fine thing you’re doing, but if you’re honest, you’ll admit that it wont make any difference at all.

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  • Shiloh Walker
    March 12
    12:17 am

    I have to agree with you about the whole African American thing. I never understood why it was such a bad thing to call a black person, a black person. I think that the AA label has totally outlived its usefulness.

    The whole PC thing has gone totally overboard, if you ask me. People are so afraid of offending others that it seems to freeze them…even to the point that it can freeze common sense an/or courtesy. Most of the black people I know couldn’t care less if you call them black or AA, no more tha my husband cares if you call him an Eskimo, Native Alaskan or any other term used for people of that region.

    White readers neither care, nor want to care about the stuff we go through as black writers.

    Anon, this isn’t particularly fair. Until I read about some of the issues online with romances by black authors being shelved somewhere other than romance, I didn’t know anything about. And I may write, but I’m also a reader. I hate to say this, but it’s blanket statements like this that make a lot of white people feel offended when it comes to discussions like this. I don’t think that was your intention but that is the way it’s going to come off.

    You might not care one way or the other, and that’s your perogative. However, I imagine there are going to be some readers out who feel insulted…again, you might not care, but how can that possibly help the situation?

    That said, here’s the thing. Again, I may be a writer, but I’m a reader and when I’m reading, I don’t much care about what the author’s gone thru and that applies to any and all authors. When I’m reading, I’m reading to escape, plain and simple, and I’ll read anything that catches my attention…skin color has nothing to do with it. All I want is a well written book, one that sucks me in and I’m sold. I’d like to think that’s all any reader wants.

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  • Anonymous
    March 12
    12:22 am

    This is not even conscious, it’s just so ingrained that most whites didn’t even notice the lack of AA people in romance books, or any other fiction, or movies, or television. See, this is “normal” for them.

    This is so true. Before reading some of the discussions around the romance blogosphere, I hadn’t realized just how few non-white books I owned and had read. It wasn’t a conscious thing at all–I buy the books that I hear about, and I hadn’t heard about many of the AA romances out there. Perhaps this is a bigger part of the problem than white women believing a book featuring AA characters isn’t a romance. I mean, I’m one white woman; there’s no way I can speak as to what the majority of white women believe and think.

    But…that’s not logical. Why wouldn’t a romance with AA characters be about a romance? I don’t understand that statement, and I can’t imagine any of the women I know believing something like that.

    Since realizing how homogeneous my TBR pile was, I have sought out recommendations and expanded my reading (and found one of my favorite authors–Sharon Cullars–this way). And as an editor, I definitely look for multicultural characters.

    But I’m only one person, and I don’t think things will change until black writers get the kind of marketing and publicity white writers do.

    For some reason Blogger won’t let me sign in, so I’ll just stick my name on here.
    -Carrie

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  • Shiloh Walker
    March 12
    12:23 am

    crap, that went thru before I was done.

    Anyway, while I might not want to know about the trials an author deals with when I’m reading, as an author, it does bother to realize that other authors out there are treated differently, marketed differently, promoted differently…again over skin color.

    Sigh…It’s confusing looking at something from so many viewpoints.

    I think it’s a fine thing you’re doing, but if you’re honest, you’ll admit that it wont make any difference at all.

    I can’t necessarily agree because if Karen enlightens even just a couple of readers and those couple of readers decide to check out some of the authors mentioned here, and then they pass the word on about a book that they really like, then they go and buy the entire author’s backlist… well, that’s a few more readers gained. When it comes up again, the same thing will happen and a few more readers will check out some of the authors/books discussed. Slow going, but hey… a lot of wars were won because of the outcome of small, seemingly insignificant battles.

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  • katieM
    March 12
    12:46 am

    I have to say that I was glad to see the interview with Lynn Emery. Her answers to the questions made me want to go out and buy her book, but of course I’ll have to order it online because the black section at Borders is too jumbled.

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  • Lyn Cash
    March 12
    4:43 am

    of course I’ll have to order it online because the black section at Borders is too jumbled

    That’s freakin’ sad. Now I know why I only buy books online or at conferences.

    I literally can’t give away free books at RWA publisher sponsored events.

    Wow – I always make a bee-line for Brenda Jackson, Kayla Perrin, or Marcia King-Gamble at these functions – lol. (Free book ho’, yes, I am, but the main reason I grab a book and a signature is because I love their writing, and these conferences are the only times I can meet these women and remind them in person how valuable their writing is to me.)

    There are these clinics/seminars on “how to write black” at RWA and RT conferences all the time. I know there’s a panel or two at RT in Houston this year on how to write & sell to the black market. I’m no expert, but I’d think those seminars would be a prime time (if an author knew in advance, of course) to urge the speakers to at least MENTION that there was a need to educate the readership, the book buyers, and even some of the authors as to the plight of authors being misplaced or pigeon-holed. No?

    Just a thought…

    Thanks for being so candid, Lynn.

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  • Kristie (J)
    March 12
    3:16 pm

    I’m thinking as I write here so forgive me if I sound cloudy. I live in a city with not a large black populace so a lot of these issues just went over my head until I started seeing Monica Jackson and her angry rants pop up. While her anger kind of annoyed me; it was almost frightening at times in its intensity, it did get me thinking about things, about how unfair the market was to AA authors. I should also say that AA romance authors are shelved in the romance section in the larger book store, Chapters near me along with all the other romance books, and there are very few in the smaller book store. At the Walmart near me, they are also shelved in the romance section. While I think Ms. Jackson has gone overboard and I no longer credit what she has to say, she did get things rolling in my brain. I appreciate Lynn and all the authors who have agreed to participate in Karen’s series of interviews and I will be reading and actively listening to what they have to say.
    And I have slowly begun purchasing books by AA authors myself, not many yet, but I’ve started.
    I think change can happen. It may seen just a pebble now and then, but pebbles create ripples and hopefully things can go from there. I think the internet and the romance community can make a difference – it has with me.

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  • Anonymous
    March 12
    4:08 pm

    It takes an angry person to get people to think sometimes.

    A lot were angry when they were fighting tooth and nail for civil rights–and things changed for once.

    I’m not really comparing this situation except in a tiny, shadowy way, but remember that MLK didn’t put our feelings foremost. For many, the things he said were very hard to hear.

    Now that he’s lauded, we forget how many whites vilified and hated him for speaking out back then. His name was a bad word in many households, including my parents. They thought he was a bad N-word, and nothing but an angry rabble-raiser causing trouble.

    He paid a high price (remember all the federal investigations against him and how often he was jailed?) But that’s what it took.

    Few want to pay the price now, and that’s why I think change is hard coming.

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  • Ann Christopher
    March 12
    5:11 pm

    Hi, Karen and Lynn–

    First time commenter here. 🙂

    Great interview dealing with a complex and difficult topic.

    I don’t like the separate shelving system in some bookstores. To me, a romance book should be in the romance section, and a biography should be in with the biographies. Why put a mystery and a biography on the shelf together just because they were both written by black authors? That seems illogical to me.

    There was a discussion about this issue over at ROMANCE BUY THE BLOG the other week. Some of the commenters raised the issue of dialogue/dialect/feeling like they don’t belong to some club when they read AA books. But of course a given AA romance may not be for everyone any more than a given non-AA romance is for everyone.

    And not all AA books have characters that speak in “slang” any more than all non-AA books have characters that speak in Scottish brogues.

    I’m a member of the Borders Rewards program, and the other day they sent me this extensive e-mail survey dealing with AA books/issues. I have no idea why they sent it to me (maybe they sent it to everyone) but I encourage people to look for it and answer it if it comes…

    There’s a lot to think/talk about with this topic, definitely.

    Ann

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  • Rosie
    March 12
    7:10 pm

    This is not even conscious, it’s just so ingrained that most whites didn’t even notice the lack of AA people in romance books, or any other fiction, or movies, or television. See, this is “normal” for them.

    I didn’t realize…and I’m an avid reader. Thank God for the internet because I’ve gotten aware of issues like this and I think it’s important for everyone particularly someone who loves books.

    All I ask from a book is that it be good. Most readers, I think, just want a good book to read. Of course, what constitutes good is subjective, but I want as many books and choices out there as possible.

    I do know that both my local B&N and Borders shelve AA books with all the other books by genre until this started about a year or so ago I could never find an AA book even when I read a review and was intrigued. That left either the UBS (who hardly ever gets them in trade) or ordering on line which is okay when you know for sure you want the book.

    Some of the commenters raised the issue of dialogue/dialect/feeling like they don’t belong to some club when they read AA books. But of course a given AA romance may not be for everyone any more than a given non-AA romance is for everyone.

    This reasoning escapes me. We (white readers) read western dialects, southern dialects, Scottish dialects, we read about places and times we have no way of knowing what they were “really” like. I think it’s fear of the unknown and not fitting into a world that exists RIGHT NOW. Whites are afraid that we don’t “get” black people or their separate culture or that we will be thought of as racist. It’s all about fear.

    I find myself surprised over and over again about my own need for enlightenment, like this one. My ignorance is unintentional and all I can do is try to learn more and broaden my horizons. I think it’s okay to say I’m uninformed about some stuff and am grateful for someone (anyone)turning on the lights and helping me out.

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  • Eva Gale
    March 13
    12:50 am

    I have to thank Monica for bringing the whole shelving thing to my attention. I never realized it because I don’t shop in big stores (Amazon) and my local indie has everything together by genre. I purchase by who I’ve been turned onto. LA Banks did a workshop at Romace Divas. I bought her books. I bought Kayla’s by a word of mouth review.

    I am sorry that publishing treats you this way. I truly am.

    I have to say though, that I’m in complete confusion over the whole name/race thing. I once worked in a severe disabilities hospital where the Ethopian’s constantly fought with the Dominicans over who was black. Then the African Americans got in it, and hallelujah the rukus when some of them married white girls. Then I hear Monica ,and other black women saying that hair straightening is wanting to be white. Then the women who chose to straighten have to defend themselves. Barack isn’t an African American, he’s not a black man. All that is completely headspinning.

    I think Shiloh hit it for me, it’s confusing from so many viewpoints.

    Now, I’m not so good with labels. I’ve been filling in the Caucasian box so long, I didn’t realize I should have been filling in the Latino one. But I have African heritage too-and Irish and German. Mostly Latino though.

    One of my best friends is what you would historically call an Octoroon. She’s blond haired and blue eyed. She married a part Cherokee, but her kids look like they’re Nordic. I think they fill in the white box too.

    Anyway, do I buy books by black authors? Yes. And I want you shelved in the romance section where you beliong. But I don’t think it’s what your readers want. Other than that, I’m confused.

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  • Lynn
    March 13
    2:18 am

    Thanks for all the great comments. About labels- African-American, Black, etc.- I equate us blacks in America with kids who were adopted and continously search to find out just who they are, if that makes sense. First we were forcibly kept from our culture (in slavery this was to prevent rebellions), then made to feel ashamed of being from Africa (stereotypes about African culture- think Tarzan movies), so we blacks in America are much like adoptees who have no hope of tracing our lineage. Thus we grab onto what scant pieces we can find- also as a way to defy white culture and not let someone else make us ashamed of being of African lineage (if that long-winded comment makes sense).

    I appreciate all who said they are giving blacks authors a try. Which is really all I want (speaking only for myself).

    Dialect- Rosie said it best. If white romance readers can read about Vikings, Regency romance, vampires and all the other books so far from their experience then the “Black slang” thing doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either. Are we blacks more “alien” than some shape-shifting Regency duke who time travels back to Viking days? Okay that’s being a smart-ass, but you know what I mean.

    Again, thanks for the discussion on race in romance world- to Karen for opening it up on her blog and to Monica for being brave and tough enough to hang with it so long.

    Heritage- LMAO at the comment from Eve Gale about being confused. Hey, I’m of Latin, African, Choctaw Indian, Caucasian heritage (none but the Choctaw can be documented), but culturally I’m that unique black American- which African being added does make sense if you listen to our gospel music which is so like African call and response, not to mention delta blues and jazz. Or our dance. So to me African-American doesn’t seem outdated just yet.

    Okay, this is the most I’ve ever commented on a blog and now I’m drained LOL Thanks again to all for intelligent conversation.

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