Black authors are usually only marketed to Black readers. This is an injustice to the artist and the art lover. Literature is art that should be shared, loved and appreciated by all those that deem it beautiful. Unfortunately, many Black authors don't get a chance to reach as many people as they can. Yes, I know this happens to all authors though if you walk into any bookstores and look at the display there is no denying that this impacts Black authors more.
I've been following author Carleen Brice's blog White Readers Meet Black Authors since the beginning (2008). Brice did a fun video called Welcome White Folks. Its an introduction to the African American section in the bookstore. I don't remember a time when African American literature hasn't been separate from literature written by author of other ethnicity's.
When I was in high school I like it. I always knew the books I wanted to read could be found in the back of the bookstore. Now, I am not a fan. I realize that there are a lot of really talented authors with a limited audience thanks to this separate but not equal separation. Also many Black readers are being cheated as well. I love Black authors but would hate to only read Black authors or limit myself to one section in a bookstore.
Today, I wanted a book to read while I ran a few errands. I decided to pick up Trading Dreams at Midnight by Diane Mckinney- Whetstone. I've already read and loved it and decided to revisit it. Mckinney-Whetstone inspired this post, she is a very skilled writer. Her novel Tumbling is one of my all time favorites. Though, Trading Dreams at Midnight is McKinney- Whetstone's fifth book, I know many people reading this have never heard of her. That makes me so sad.
To read everything or everyone is impossible. I haven't nor to do I plan to read every African, Asian, Indian, Latino author I hear about. But thanks to single focus promotion many aren't given the opportunity to hear about Black authors and decide for themselves if they want to read their stories.
I used to not recommend Black authors to White readers, I suppose I was feeding into the whole separation and I wondered/ worried what customers would think about the recommendation. That all changed when I started following White Readers Meet Black Authors.
Now I am like you loved Wally Lamb's I know This Much True, you should read 72 Hour Hold by Bebe Moore Campbell. Or you like Janet Evanovich's- Stephanie Plum series you should try Kyra Davis's - Sophie Katz's series.
It feels good to suggest stories I love without hesitation. To be fair to my customers, I don't think I was giving them enough credit. Many readers just what a good story. (surprise) I still get a few blank stares but happens with many book suggestions no matter the race of the author.
Enjoy the video
Before I started blogging my reading selection was not as diverse as it could be. Now reading novels by author of so many different backgrounds is one of the best things that came out of blogging.