Back on June 4, I posted about How You as a Reader Can Help: Read Black Authors. But I wanted to reprise that topic, because this week, publisher Amistad Press initiated a campaign to encourage readers to purchase books by Black authors. The state purpose of the hashtag campaign, featuring the hashtages #BlackoutBestsellerList and #BlackPublishingPower, is “To demonstrate our power and clout in the publishing industry, June 14 – June 20, we encourage you to purchase any two books by Black Writers. Our goal is to Blackout Bestseller lists with Black Voices.”
If you haven’t read any Black authors before now (or don’t think you have), there are tons of good lists out there; just Google “Black fantasy authors” or “Black fiction authors” or whatever your favorite genre is. Or you can check out my previous post, where I pulled together a starter set of names and some links to other lists as well.
I humbly offer two suggestions. First, for this campaign, it would be really helpful to purchase books by living authors. Increasing their sales also increases the likelihood that their next book will get published — and that they will receive a fair advance on it. (Racial disparities in advances are shockingly high, and it’s difficult to see that as anything but racism within the publishing industry.) Second, if you are able, please consider ordering from a Black-owned bookstore. All indie bookstores are struggling due to the pandemic shutdown, of course, but historically, it has often been harder for Black-owned businesses to get loans.
This isn’t about me. I am simply trying to amplify Black voices, something I should have been doing all along. Therefore, I’m not going to post about what I am doing personally, except to say that yes, I am practicing what I preach.