Tuesday, November 24, 2009

African-American Authors Need Help

I'm reposting this letter because of all the niche genres in African-American fiction that are struggling, Christian Fiction is the hardest hit. I and my peers love writing these stories, but if they aren't purchased, if people share books rather than buy them, or at least ask their local libraries to stock them, our voices will be silenced. I know people who can't get books deals. People I've blogged about and authors you love. I trust God. I know that He is my source in all things, but I do ask you to pray, because He has told us to share our concerns with Him. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey (From Virginia DeBerry)

Dear Oprah:

We don't sing karaoke or dance with the stars. We have been contributing to the cultural landscape long before Jon & Kate, Britney,Rhianna and Chris or Stephanie Meyer and most of America, including you have probably never even heard of us.

We have railed against Kanye's proud pronouncement upon the publication of his 52 page book: Thank You and You're Welcome, that "I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph." Huh?

We are writers and we are in trouble. Big trouble.

I would never have imagined myself writing this with the hundreds of thousands of emails and letters the show receives, I know the chances of this one actually getting through are somewhere between slim and non-existent. But one of the mantras my best friend/business partner and I lived by in the early days, was “It’s only postage.” Now it’s not even that. So I could not find a reason not to write and hit ‘send’. Like I said--we are in trouble.

Everyone knows that Oprah is a champion of reading, that books are one of her favorite things and it is precisely because of that passion that I send this note. I’m sure you are aware that publishing, like so many industries today—especially those centered around the arts, is struggling to keep up and figure their way through the maze of new media. What I’m not sure you know is how that struggle is affecting, or more accurately disaffecting an entire segment of writers--black novelists. Not the few who live in the rarefied literary echelons—Toni Morrison, Stephen Carter, Edwidge Dandicat etc. are doing fine—they enjoy the support of the media and the "wider" (whiter) population. These struggling authors also don’t include those who now make up the largest growing segment of Af-Am writers—urban/erotica authors whose books are acquired by publishers at little expense and sold at great profit. A quick look at the Af-Am displays in bookstores will make this trend abundantly clear. 

Click here to read more and please do pray about the state of quality African-American literature.

1 comment:

Sharon Ball said...

This predicament AA authors are in is beyond frustrating. I'm glad that Virginia wrote a letter to Oprah and I certainly hope it reaches her desk because help is most certainly needed.