Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where are my Black authors and publishers?


A quick note to my Black authors and Black publishers:

This past week I attended Winter Institute 5 (Wi5) in San Jose California. It was an industry get-together, meeting, pow-wow, schmooze session to talk about books, book selling, and issues affecting our industry. While I had a wonderful time and learned a lot from the staff of the ABA (American Bookselling Association), one thing was glaringly missing: Black authors and Black publishers. Why? I have no idea but I’m hoping you can help me with that. Opportunities like this would be perfect to get some much needed exposure for your craft and our business.
I don’t know the politics behind trade shows or book meetings, but if one publisher can get there then why not another? I seriously doubt that the ABA is in a habit of saying no to publishers and authors so why are we not represented? I KNOW Black authors are out there because I talk with you. I KNOW Black publishers are out there because YOU are the ones who print the work of the authors I talk to. I just think that trade shows like this can’t be missed and should be populated by everyone… including us. Especially us! Trust me, I know the economics play a huge factor in publishing, but even if you can’t make the “big” events you can certainly make the regional ones. The ABA has chapters and indie bookstores all over this country and they would love to have the participation of other publishing houses and authors.

We all go to the BEA, (well… not me anymore because morons in power are now keeping it in New York instead of sharing it with LA like they used to… but that’s another bellyache rant for later) but the BEA should be the frosting on the cake, not the entire cake. I’ve been to a number of industry meetings, mostly in LA, and we are so underrepresented I hurts! Please don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a rebuke. I just wanted to bring this to your attention as someone who loves books and works in the book industry. There is so much potential at conferences and mini-conferences for authors and publishers that it would be foolish to miss out. And in LA to boot!

I absolutely LOVE my Black authors and I LOVE your work and that is why I want more of it out there. I know you guys are working your collective asses off and we readers appreciate it. I just think that you guys should look into attending these conferences because I truly think the literary world misses out when your work isn’t showcased.

I love you guys.

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