Support Black Authors (reprise)

June 17, 2020 Uncategorized 5

Black Publishing Power (text graphic)

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.

5 Responses to “Support Black Authors (reprise)”

  1. Nicole @ BookWyrmKnits

    I’ve seen this going around, and have been trying to do my part as well. I’ll be curious to see your thoughts on the books you’ve bought for this. I’ll be posting about some of mine shortly, too. I figure I have a book blog, so I can amplify Black authors’ voices that way, too.
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    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Yes, exactly. I look forward to seeing what you bought, too, and your thoughts on the books as you read them. Even before the protests started, I was trying to diversify my reading and purchasing, but I realized that I really hadn’t been doing as well on that front as I want to do, so… I intend to be more intentional about it in the future. (You’ll be able to see some of what I bought this week on my upcoming Sunday Post.)

      • Nicole @ BookWyrmKnits

        (I did see some of what you bought, nice haul. I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to do a post on the books I bought as a result of these protests. I think I will, but it will be a little while from now after I’ve decided how to frame it / have read some of the books and can provide mini-reviews.)

        I have been trying to diversify my reading and book purchasing too, but my focus earlier this year was on Asian authors. It felt like a good way to connect with that side of my heritage, so I at least had a reason for it. However, the #BlackoutBestsellerList hashtag made me realize that even among POC, Black authors have a hard time of it, so my recent purchases have been more heavily weighted in that direction.
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  2. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    I really hope this works. I didn’t have much money to spend on books during this timeframe but I did order three books from black-owned bookstores in the Virginia/D.C. area.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      That’s great, Suzanne! I ordered several books from a bookstore in a small Virginia town, well south of me. It’s a relatively new store with a young owner; I figured they would have less local support than some of the stores in the DC area. I plan to order from them again in a month or so, because while I really support the #blackoutbestsellerlist initiative, I know bookstores can’t live on a one-time boost in sales.