how to help

Over at my other blog, Fledgling, I’ve been collaborating with other bloggers to compile a list of 2010 books by black authors.  So we made our list; we now know that about 50 MG/YA novels by black authors were published in the US this year.  Here’s what I’d like you to do NEXT:

  1. READ THESE BOOKS!  I had a lot of help putting together this list and there were many titles I’d never heard of, which is precisely the problem:  publishers don’t put much marketing money behind books by writers of color.  So now that we know about these books, we need to give them a chance—and if you find a title you like, recommend it!  See what else that author may have written.  Shine some light on books that are too often left in the dark…
  2. Go through the list of MG/YA titles and see how many of these are available at your local and/or school library.  If these titles aren’t in the system, consider asking your library to acquire them.
  3. Take the list to your local bookseller—indie or big chain—and see how many of these titles are (or were ever) in stock.  Many books by black authors don’t sell well because they never even make it onto the shelf…
  4. Print out the list and visit your ten favorite book blogs.  Scan the archives and see how many MG/YA novels by black authors were featured, mentioned, or reviewed on your favorite blogs.  Another challenge black authors face is invisibility in the blogosphere; consider asking your favorite book blogger to add (more) writers of color to their review list.
  5. The next time you attend a book festival or reading at your local library/bookstore, check to see how many authors of color are included.  In 2010, it’s not acceptable for a literary event to exclude authors of color—especially when the exposure could help sales, which would then strip publishers of their excuse that “black books don’t sell.”  If you’re a parent, make sure your child’s teachers use a diverse selection of books in the classroom (and not only during various heritage months).

If you have other suggestions, please share them by leaving a comment or taking up this issue on your own blog.  Maybe we need our own designated week/month…what I’d really like to see is sustained support for MARGINALIZED WRITERS!

Ok, I’m 300 words shy of the 50K mark, so I gotta get back to my novel-in-progress…

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~ by elliottzetta on September 30, 2010.

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