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Authors/Writers' Corner > As A Writer Is Crossing Over Important to You?

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message 1: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Hi All,

I thought this would be an interesting question for the writers. How important is it for you that your work crossover different audiences?

Crossing over is very important to me especially since I write such diverse books. I believe all books should be universal and writers should aim to reach an audience of all types of races, cultures, etc. So it is extremely important to me and I strive to get my work in front of all types of people.

So personally is crossing over something you strive to do with your work or does it not even come into play?

Best Wishes!

message 2: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I'm all about crossing over. I love stories that bust genres. I like to keep things exciting and read books that are novel and approach different genres in an interesting way. I think the only issue is when you compromise your artistic integrity just to get more readers and to make money.

message 3: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments I used to care about crossing over, but after several discussions with white readers and their disdain for any book with black women in it I realized what a chimera that is. Thus, I've focused on my core audience and expanding it as much as possible. I do want my books to be readable to all black women regardless of whether they prefer IR or MR books, that's been a bit of a disappointment for me as IR readers get upset when I write black male heroes and MR readers won't read IR books. It makes things quite difficult, but all I can do is write the stories as they come to me, and hope for the best.

message 4: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Nov 04, 2011 11:10AM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Danielle, I agree! Wonderful vision.

Rosylyn, now that you mentioned IR readers, it disheartens me that a lot of them don't seem to care for my genre. I write mystery, suspense and crime fiction with interracial subplots and it seems to me a lot of IR readers don't support that genre as a whole. I find it great to be unique though and I have had readers from all across the board. I gave up on trying to please audiences a long time ago. I realize no matter what you do, you can't for various reasons so you should just write what you want. I write what I like and what makes me happy.

I love putting IR couples in genres you often don't see them in because I love diversity. But I gotta be honest I find a lot of the cold shoulder coming from IR readers because my books aren't straight romance or erotica. I think IR audiences should embrace us all and be glad you got writers writing interracial couples and stuff in different genres.

I love being different and I write outside the box but there is a little downside to that because you don't easily fit into an audience so you just gotta go with the readers who support you one by one.We can't waste time trying to please everyone because it can't be done. I'm gonna be true to myself and what I love to write regardless.

I'd say my biggest supporters are black women who read general fiction and who don't stick with a specific genre. It also has to do with an author's individual publisher too because I've found when people buy books from a certain pub and like those books they tend to buy books from most of the authors in that pub. Especially if the pub is a small press. A lot of readers try out books because they might enjoy a particular publisher so that comes into play too.

Bottom line whoever likes my books and read them, I am happy about it no matter their color. But I do let it be known that I don't write books for a person of a certain race, etc. I write for anyone who loves to read.

The thing about my work is crime and mystery first THEN the romance. Not the other way around and I find that most IR readers only wanna read romance or books heavy on it. Not all IR readers, but a lot seem to be that way.

Best Wishes!

message 5: by Chicki (new)

Chicki Brown (chicki663) | 130 comments Stacy, I just replied to Roz's post and talked about marketing to a wide audience. Thank God there is no e-ghetto ...


message 6: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
Stacy, a lot of readers in general don't read mystery and crime fiction books.

I'm not a fan of PNR books. I have challenged myself to read PNR books and I still don't care for them. They have IR PNR books, but if I am not into a genre, I will not read it, although I like reading IR stories.

I like suspense romance books. I know that a lot of suspense books aren't heavy on romance, which I wish they were at least 45% or 50% romance. I want a HEA.

message 7: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments Stacy-Deanne, it sounds like you write suspense novels with romantic elements. Have you ever promoted to suspense readers? I know I like to write action-adventure stories. Other than historicals it's my fave, however, they don't sell well to my IR audience and neither does paranorm which I like to delve into from time-to-time. I think in the future I might write those under a different name and possibly write them with white heroines. I'm not sure yet. My next book is an action adventure, but it's a sequel to my first book and a lot of people have asked for it, so it might be okay. We'll just have to see.

My hottest IR books are straight romance, and it helps if there's a bit of rescue fantasy in there. I do enjoy writing those, but sometimes I like to verge out, and it might well be that a different persona for those books is in order. One of my friends writes straight MR, but she'd like to include some paranorm but those haven't done well for her, so she's writing those under a pseudonym. I'll be very interested to see how it goes.

message 8: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Nov 04, 2011 08:36PM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Chicki, ROFL! I like the way you put that.

Arch, mystery and suspense is one of the biggest selling genres for mainstream readers. It might not be as huge as romance right now but it's a huge genre. I respect that a lot of people don't like my genre. I don't promote my work to romance audiences who expect happy ever endings. I focus on having satisfying endings that make sense for each story. Some of them are happy and some not but I don't write my work in a way to make it have a happy ending just to have one. So I don't write HEA books specifically.

Roslyn, yeah I promote to suspense audiences but then you run into folks who don't want ANY romance in the books or who find it weird that I have such diversity in them. Also, general suspense or mystery readers who are not black seem to shy away from a book with minority characters, etc. Sometimes it's like being caught between a rock and a hard place. So it's hard for me to put my work on a certain type of people so I just do the best I can to promote it. But I do find that most of my readers are black ladies who tend to read all types of fiction.

I am always gonna write what interests me and what I love. Writing mystery and crime comes from the heart and it's what I enjoy as well as interracial romance so I will just continue to write what I enjoy.

What gets me about some people though is that they claim they wish black writers would write in different genres but when you do, you don't find that support.

So that's one reason I really cherish and am thankful for everyone of my fans and readers. But I am very happy, love what I write and even if I am just writing for a few people who like my work, that's enough for me.

message 9: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
Yes Stacy, always write what interest you. A writer should always write for themselves. A writer's fan base doesn't have to be big.

message 10: by Tina (new)

Tina | 7 comments @Stacey-Deanne-

I have found for the most part in various discussions I've have with people they tend to be genre loyal. So a contemporary/women's fiction reader likes that, PNR readers like those, Historical and so forth.There may be some overlap, for people tend not to go out of their comfort zones too much. They like what they like.

Me, now, I read across all genres. if you peek at my shelves you'll see all sub-genre of romance (except Inspirational), mystery, science fiction, fantasy, suspense etc. you name it. But even when I do go out-side or romance I still like even a small romantic element to be in the book.

I have always wanted to read books with a cross-array of character types. And IR/MC interactions were icing on the cake. Romance, for the longest time, did not feed that need.

I actually found more diversity in crime fiction & mysteries than I did romance. Ed McBain's 87th Precinct Novels were great, they were episodic, had a wide array of characters and he threw in IR romances here and there. There are 57 of those suckers and I read 52 of them.

I also glommed Judith Smith-Levin whose Starletta DuVall mysteries are superbly written. David Handler's Mitry & Berger series is great, Frankie Bailey's Lizzie Stuart mysteries, Kyra Davis's Sophie Katz series, Julie Smith's New Orleans series...I could go on. So yeah, I go off genre quite a bit. I just discovered Angela Henry and picked up her The Paris Secret as well as Tangled Roots which is a mystery series featuring an AA hairdresser.

The funny thing is, regarding Angela Henry, she is brand-spanking new to me. I had never heard of her before. I stumbled across a review of The Paris Secret and did more research and found a great blog Mystnoir that highlight mysteries by black author or that feature black protagonists so I have been adding stuff based on that website alone.

In romance on my IR wish list is sci-fi or futuristic romance. I want there to book version of an Angela Bassett type like in Strange Days. I just bought The Felig Chronicles just recently knowing nothing about it except it a)features and bw/wm IR romance and b)it is sci-fi romance. It might be terrible, but I was willing to plunk to cash to give it a try.

message 11: by Tara (new)

Tara Neale (tara_neale) | 39 comments For me, I am always reluctant to label my books romance at all. Some of my biggest fans are men and I worry that they might be turned off by the term.

message 12: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments @Stacy-Deanne, yeah I can see it being a problem with suspense audiences not liking any romance. I think some paranormal authors get the same response from SF/Fantasy fans. I think all you can do is keep plugging away and you'll gradually grow a fan base. Romance has gotten such a bad label in some quarters, and it's unfortunate. One of my best friends has an insanely popular blog, most of her posts get dozens of responses. She asked one day how many romance readers there were and got absolutely no replies. It's disheartening. There is also the issue of black readers confusing street lit with romance. That's one I encounter almost weekly. And the one that drives me insane is the IR/MR divide, but hey, what can you? People like what they like.

As for readers saying they want something new and then not supporting it, boy have I ever experienced that. I like writing new and interesting stories and yeah, they get absolutely no response from the readers. My best-selling books are always the straight contemporaries. It's funny, but that's the way it is. I think when all is said and done the folks who want something different are a small (but vocal) minority. So I'll continue to give them what they want while writing an occasional book just for myself.

message 13: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Nov 05, 2011 05:10PM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Tina,

I am so glad you posted. I enjoyed reading your insight. You are the type of reader who I find my biggest supporters, who love to read everything across the board. I am glad you chimed in!


As a woman who writes mystery and crime, I understand. Even though some of the biggest crime/mystery writers in the world are women it's still hard for women writers to get men to respect them in that genre. I know a lot of men who say outright they don't even read women authors and especially in that genre. Sad but hey, what can we do about that? I totally understand how it is to write in a genre that's geared mostly toward men while being a woman. When I am in the crime/mystery circles I too don't mention the romance in my books for fear of turning people off. Female crime readers might not mind but men dismiss anything with romance in it usually.


Exactly! A lot of writers are in this boat. For example I know several new writers who have been going from pub to pub and getting rejected on their characters alone, not the writing. One lady has been trying to sell a black SF novel (which she hoped would be a series) to agents and publishers for at least two years and she can't get ANY takers because they keep saying that her books would be too hard to find an audience for. She has even gone through black pubs and they just reject her claiming that they don't know how to market SF. She can't find any epublisher that fits to even submit to because her work isn't a romance at all. It's just a SF novel with black characters. I think it would be so interesting to read something like that but it's sad she might trunk it. I don't know if she would self-publish it or not but she says right now she is so disappointed in how people won't give different stories a chance.

Another friend of mine has written some type of political thriller with an IR romance. She's not getting any love from print publishers (no surprise) and she has been rejected by a few epublishers and one told her they would consider it if she upped the heat level in the romance. But that won't work. She has these people running for their lives for the entire book and it's very fast paced. She said the editor from one of the epubs suggested having a space where they slow down and have a sex scene but she said it wouldn't fit. They kiss a few times in the book but she doesn't focus on the romance much at all but you know these two have something going. She got really discouraged after that editor and decided not to submit to any epublishers because she say the few that don't want erotica don't seem to want a thriller with black folks even if the romance is primarily IR. Another rock and a hard place. I think she might self-publish though. It's a good story so I hope she doesn't let it die.

Then I have another friend who has written a black man and white woman romance and can't get any love even from the epublishers. She said it's obvious they aren't interested in these types of pairings. One epublisher "suggested" she change it to white man black woman but if that's not the vision she has, she shouldn't have to do that. So she doesn't know what she'll do but she's convinced no publisher would want her book because she's gotten the cold shoulder from all she's submitted to.

message 14: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Nov 05, 2011 05:12PM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Roslyn,

Loved what you said at the end! I too will just continue to satisfy my supporters while being true to myself. As long as someone likes our work and we enjoy writing it that's what matters!

message 15: by Dahlia (last edited Nov 06, 2011 04:45AM) (new)

Dahlia DeWinters (dahliadewinters) | 56 comments As a writer and a reader, I write what's fun for me to write, fun for me to read and perhaps is marketable. I never really thought too much about who my audience would be - I suppose would make marketing it a little easier ;).

By the way, I did love the 87th precinct series - I re read them often!

And, yes, as long as we enjoy what we're writing, that's what counts the most.

message 16: by Chaeya (new)

Chaeya | 454 comments I write multi-cultural fantasy, sci-fi, so it's important for me to cross over. Embarking on the journey to become a published writer is as much psychological as it is technical. I've taken my time simply because of the psychological issue. I already deal with confidence and self-esteem issues as it is. I've already faced the fact that a traditional publisher won't touch my story, I spent much of this year submitting. I've already faced the issue that not a lot of black readers enjoy sci-fi or fantasy, which spills over to black women romance readers (I believe we talked about this before on this forum). On another forum which talks about black sci-fi, I've had the issue of forever having to explain my black characters (why does your heroine have to be half-white or light skinned, why didn't you put a dark woman on the cover (that's the next book - why couldn't have been the first), why does the guy have to be white or purple and not a black man). Geez. I don't want to deal with that either. I don't want RACE to be a the only discussion point, and the contents of my story gets overlooked. The multi-cultural race issue is there because it's been my life. I've always been around a rainbow of people of different colors, nationalities and religions. I want open-minded readers anyway.

So I must market to a wider audience, and I've been spending a great deal of my time this year simply researching self-publishing and promotion. One thing I have learned about self-publishing is you have to believe "your readership" is out there. Of course, everyone would like to be the popular kid in the school, but that isn't going to happen for everyone. Some of us will poke along with a tiny little fan group. It's important to focus on finding "your people," those oddballs who will like your genre. I agree with the above that you must be true to yourself and what you enjoy writing. I'm ready to have fun with it and nothing more. I'm already working on the second book, so when the first finally does get published, they won't have to wait so long for the second installment.

Writing has been a journey for me, a journey that has been more important than actually putting the books out there and publishing them. Getting my feet wet has been about as easy as it is for one who is deathly afraid of the water.

message 17: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Chaeya,

I agree with marketing to a wide audience but unfortunately for writers who write in cross-genres or anything that's outside the box it's tough. The truth is that mainstream audiences don't read books with minority characters. That's what's so sad and it's especially hard for black characters. I know a lot of white people who said they don't think they could relate to a black character. Hmm. Yet minorities have been raised in this world for generations reading white characters in everything yet we never once said we couldn't relate. We didn't have a choice. It saddens me when someone says they can't relate to a character (they haven't even read yet) simply because of their skin. Black characters are not very welcomed outside of black audiences. So while I think it's important for all authors to crossover, realistically I don't think it's possible. Most of the mainstream wouldn't read anything with minority characters.

So it can get you down at times but I still just market my work. I focus on the genre and not the race. I have all types of races in my books and I still market to genres even though some folks only concentrate on the race of the characters. Can't control that.

Still, I'd rather write what I enjoy than to just write something for an audience or just write in a genre that's popular. I know writers who do that, thinking they would get easy sales and it backfired. They tried to write in genres only because they felt they were popular than came to find out it's not always easy doing that either.

I couldn't write something I don't enjoy just for sales. To me that's like pimping myself and selling out. That's like saying I only write for the money and I am NOT one of those people who write just to brag about how many folks read my book or for money, etc. No. I write because its a part of me and I love it. If I didn't enjoy it I would've quit a long time ago. I've sacrificed a lot and I've put more into writing than it's ever given me back and still sticking with it so that proves I love it. It's a part of me.

As for audiences, there are definitely folks that love to read different types of things it just takes longer to find them but they are out there even if it might not be as many of them as others.

It might be hard to always be positive but I try to be. It's how I get by. LOL!

message 18: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Chaeya,

You made another great point. A lot of black readers don't wanna read different genres either so even if you have black characters but they are in a genre black audiences don't like, well you're stuck. I've always been in that position too. A lot of blacks don't read interracial stuff and on top of that, they don't read mystery and crime. They read mostly erotica, street books, AA romance and Christian Fiction. If you write anything else outside that for black audiences it can be tough.

So yep, it ain't easy. That's why I take the readers that come to me and I appreciate those that support me.

message 19: by Chaeya (new)

Chaeya | 454 comments Oh I agree with you whole-heartedly, Stacy-Deanne, and if you dare come out and state the obvious, you get accused of "whining," of "having a chip on your shoulder," or the eye-rolling with "here we go with the race card again." And my absolute favorite proverbial response: "It's not about race!"

But I've yet to see any of them admit that they can't take me as serious as a conservative white woman in her 40s who wrote a book. There were times I've told people I've written a book, and I've seen the same type of smile as if one of their kids just told them they'd written one. You can hear the thoughts that it must be about the ghetto, chocked full of ebonics. And who can really blame them when that's what everyone's been taught, even black people? Whenever you do get famous black writers or directors, that's what they give you: "black issues." If you dare to crack that nut, like Oprah did, then you cease to be black and just simply, Oprah, who can then do anything, well not entirely, you'd be forced to follow a generic, cookie-cutter format that includes everyone. Ugh, I'm gonna be sick.

We see it in music. Where are all the black singers besides Beyonce or Rhianna? Now that white girls have learned how to sound like old black women, who needs them? R&B has ceased to be a genre anymore. Black men? Ha! When you get one, the clock starts ticking as to when they'll dig up some dirt to discredit him. Blues is 95% white now, and now I get white men talking to me like they're the expert on blues -- are you kidding me? I grew up in an era where white people didn't dare listen to Soul, R&B or Blues. Thirty years ago, you wouldn't have caught white people in a juke joint where I grew up. You see black people now and you automatically just think about Rap, it's been impressed upon you via movies that whenever black people show up, the hip hop music blares in the background. And Rap and Hip Hop has been just as infiltrated. I get to drive home next to white boys drowning out my heartbeat with their booming stereos and their pants hanging down to their knees, giving me a stare down, and white girls who neck roll and rump shake. They've mastered the art of "y'all" and "dog" and "my nigga" (when black people aren't present, that is). And that argument has happened also on a thread where it's been "decided by the powers that be" that anyone (ANYONE) who raps gets a free pass to say the N word. Then you have the ones who turn several shades of red whenever they hear the word because it makes them just "sooo angry." I tell them: "I didn't know you left your notebook in English class and when you went back to get it, found that someone had written the N word in big bold letters on every blank page throughout it. Funny, the N word doesn't make me as angry as you are. They say, they're angry FOR me. Well, good luck with that. And if you dare state the obvious, refer to the beginning of my post, that's what you'll get. It's easy to not want to hear any complaints when you dominate everything. I've even gotten people who flat out told me that it's about "survival of the fittest" and "we lost, get over it." Ha ha, can you imagine that?

Maybe there's some truth to that. I tell my daughters that life is like driving, it's rare to find those gems who will let you in front of them, but mostly, you'll either have to putt-putt your way at the back of the line or bulldoze your way through any way you can without getting into an accident. The majority will not let you in.

On the one hand, it is downright depressing, and in a sense, you're dealing with a situation where you must suffer in silence, lest you open your mouth, and people see you as a fool and you've accomplished nothing, even if you are making sense. I see it as another form of apartheid. But one you can't fight. People like to claim that racism isn't as bad as it was years ago, but all I have to do is go to work or look at the cover of a Maxim or Vanity Fair. At least in the 70s, black people had a presence and more community, but there are no more Ebony Magazines, Jets, R&B, Soul, we've been told that "it's not about race" and that we don't want to segregate ourselves from the general populace. That we're not a "color" we're a "people." Maybe to ourselves, we're people, but to most people, we're black. Want to get reminded, try participating in an argument in politics and people see your avatar and tell you they're tired of supporting people like you and all your kids, and that you should get a job and off welfare. This was from someone I found out had been unemployed for three years.

I remember the Donald Goins' book "Whoreson" who was half-white. One of his friends told him: "You're part of two races - one that don't want you and the other who won't have you." That's the dilemma black artists face whenever they attempt to do something outside of the box, where they'll need worldwide support, because the majority of the black community can't get into what they're doing. And if you dare say anything about it, refer to the beginning of my post . . . again.

On the other hand, there is a beauty in being the misfit. In daring to do your own thing. No, we don't have a big fan group, nor are we the popular kids at the school. However, we have absolute freedom in not having to cater to anyone, but ourselves and our truth. Here, I call up my Buddhist teachings where you simply release the "desire" or the "need" to have a specific outcome. That has been my biggest trial. It isn't that I want a bunch of people to tell me how great my books are. For me, I simply like the fact that I had a story to tell, I put my all into it, I finished it and it's out there for whoever wants to dive in. You tell a story and it's great to have someone read it and go: "hey, I GOT you." It doesn't mean they have to agree, in fact, I enjoy book discussions, but they understood me, nonetheless. Does that make sense?

It can be disheartening to be on a self-publishing forum listening to people bragging about the multitude of sales they received and how well their books are doing, and you know in your heart that won't be your outcome. That no magical little book sale faerie godmother will come and make you into Cinderella.

But in being a misfit, I do know there are other misfits of all races out there. There are plenty of People who don't buy into the mainstream nonsense about races, that they believe in giving everyone a chance, they're happy to read about someone who isn't like them, they're just so happy to find someone who writes the type of stories you do. They're like those drivers who will let you in, they're few, but they're there. So, I keep plugging away with them in mind.

And as Forrest Gump says: "And that's all I got to say about that."

Keep on plugging.


message 20: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Nov 06, 2011 08:02PM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Chaeya,

I loved all you said. What always got me about the industry is why does the author's race have to matter? I don't understand why people think they can assume something about a writer because of our race. For example, it's like people assume you write a certain type of work just because of your race. Folks always ask me, "What makes me write white characters?" Most of the characters in my books are white. I always say, "Does it matter?" I mean, does my skin color have anything to do with my characters' skin? I write characters like I see them.

The truth is I have always fit more with white people and that's why I like white guys. It has nothing to do with the color (even though yes, I find white men super sexy)but mainly it's what I have in common, etc with a lot of whites. So me writing white characters comes naturally. In fact, I never wrote black characters until a few years after I started writing. It was actually weird to me to write a black character. I felt like the blacks I'd been around like my family and friends were not the blacks people expected to read about. I was right. Readers and publishers act like all blacks have to be ghetto or from the street life to become popular with black audiences.

When you write an intelligent black character that is not from the streets or who is educated or rich, people find that strange and that's very sad. It's like they always have to be thugs, prostitutes and drug dealers or "black folks can't relate". It made me sick to see that this is what publishers and even some readers expected to see when you write about blacks.

There is of course a time and place for writing blacks from the streets but every black character does not have to be like that. One of my author friends' editor with a black publisher told her that her black characters sound like white people and they tried to get her to change them to be "more black". She refused and I would've too. It's bad enough that mainstream pubs wanna promote this stereotype but it's worse that black publishers wanna keep portraying blacks as the same stereotype.

So in my books most of the characters are white and that's another thing I believe that doesn't fit well with black audiences as a whole because they act like a black author has to write black characters. Please. I will continue to write what I want and what I am comfortable with. I don't remember there ever being a rule that a black or white person has to only write black or white characters.

The author's race should not matter and I don't understand why it would. We just write the books, what does our race have to do with anything?

It's something else.

message 21: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
A writer should be able to write about any race they chose to write about. No one can tell me that I can't write about any other race, besides black.

message 22: by Dahlia (new)

Dahlia DeWinters (dahliadewinters) | 56 comments Stacy-Deanne wrote: One of my author friends' editor with a black publisher told her that her black characters sound like white people and they tried to get her to change them to be "more black". She refused and I would've too. It's bad enough that mainstream pubs wanna promote this"

I would really, truly, love to know how to make a character sound more black. Because of course, ALL black folks sound alike, right?

I am truly enjoying this discussion because it gives me some more confidence in my writing and what I want to write. Thank goodness I'm not the only black author out there with this point of view.

I think that's why I enjoy Octavia Butler so much and go back and re read her books. Her characters are of all races and it gets to the point where you're just reading and it doesn't make a difference who's white, black, etc. I remember reading one of her books and having to go back to check the race of a character because I had forgotten.

Just like TNT says, "Story matters". And we should write the stories that we enjoy reading.


message 23: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Dahlia,

Yep. All blacks sound alike to some people and it's very sad. I don't know if they really believe this or if they think this is what black audiences expect but it's sad when it's done by mainstream publishers but when we start doing this to ourselves, how are black writers ever gonna break down barriers? Some of the black editors and black pubs are more racist in their thinking than other people.

The only way we can stop it is when we refuse to give into this thinking. Even if it means not getting a contract, at least the writer knows they did the right thing by combating this racist thinking.

message 24: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Nov 07, 2011 10:08AM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) I wish we could go back to the days when the industry allowed authors to be anonymous. Remember, authors used to be around for years and people didn't know their race or how they looked and didn't care. We just enjoyed their books. It made no difference how they looked or anything else.

When I was growing up, I never knew how an author I liked looked. Back then they weren't into putting author photos on books, etc. I was a child in the 80's and I grew up in the 90's. One of my favorite authors as a kid was Judy Blume. You think I cared what Judy looked like? NO! All I cared about was one of my favorite books was Freckle Juice. LOL! Even now that is one of my favorite kid's stories. I never once even thought of Judy outside of being the author or wondered what she looked like. The same with other writers. I didn't care about the author's looks or race. It never came into play with me. I just read the books, enjoyed them and that was enough. A few authors might have had their photos on their books sometimes but it definitely wasn't the norm then. Now the industry has changed to where they want to focus on the author personally and getting away from focusing on their writing. They are too busy trying to create superstars that people can recognize by a face instead of recognize by talent alone.

Stephen King was around twenty years before he started showing his pic. LOL! The first time I saw how Stephen looked was on Creepshow. You guys remember, he was on that movie. He played that farmer if you guys remember. LOL! But heck I didn't care what King looked like! I just liked reading some of his stuff and that goes for all authors I've liked.

I admit sometimes I'd get curious about how an author looked but did it matter to me? No. If I am reading a book and someone is a certain race or doesn't look like I pictured, you think it would make a difference? No. I could not care less. I care about the author's work. I don't worry about anything else about them. These days the first thing publishers ask you for when you get a contract is an author photo. They used to never ask for that. Now if you don't have one they want you to go take one. Goodness.

There have been a lot of blacks and whites who wrote different characters in literature but it wasn't always known. Just like women wrote as men, visa versa. It didn't matter about the author back then and I liked it that way. I think if it was still this way writers would not be expected to stay in a box or stay in a certain "corner" just because someone assumes they should be writing a certain thing.

The author can be green, red or blue. Does it matter at all when it comes to their characters or their writing? NO! I can't see why some think the person behind the book is so important when it's the story they need to be wondering about and interested in, not the writer or their personal life.

message 25: by Dahlia (new)

Dahlia DeWinters (dahliadewinters) | 56 comments Stacy-Deanne wrote: "Dahlia,

Yep. All blacks sound alike to some people and it's very sad. I don't know if they really believe this or if they think this is what black audiences expect but it's sad when it's done by..."


I suppose that's why writers write their own books, because in part they are not finding what htey want to read in the marketplace.

And I do agree with the comment that sometimes the "black" epubs are worse in that aspect. Right now I am debating on whether to submit my book to a website that is for the "African american reader" (their words not mine). In scanning the books on their site, it doesn't seem like there are many books like mine on there.

However, no matter how hard the journey, we should continue to write the books we want to read.


message 26: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
Why do publishers require an author's picture anyway? Back in the day, they use to only give a little information about an author. I use to read Judy Blume, when I was younger too.

message 27: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Arch, because publishers don't promote like they use to. Back in the day pubs promoted their authors much more and the bulk fell on them. Now 95% falls on the authors shoulders. It doesn't matter if you're with a big pub or not. So with that came the attitude that pubs want authors to be "out there" more. Not all require a photo but a lot of them prefer you have one. Promotion now consists of the author doing their own online promo or through social networking on their own. That's it for the majority of authors. Only a small percentage gets a huge push from the publisher.

Another thing, now publishers are asking authors for promotional and marketing plans before they even hand over a contract. With pubs like this you know they aren't gonna be promoting you and you're on your own.

So they want photos now because they want authors to be seen and out there in the open like actors and singers so they can focus on making you a celebrity when they need to be focusing on helping you sell books.

message 28: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) I was just reading in one of the writing groups I lurk on about a woman saying she was turned down for her paranormal romance because the editor said it wasn't unique enough and wouldn't stand out.

I don't understand editors at all. On one hand they say they want unique and different then you give them that and they say, "we don't know how to market this" or "this won't appeal to the mainstream". Then you give them something that's similar to what's out there and selling and they go, "Could you add some different elements to this to make this stand out?"

I...don' LOL!

You can't please everyone so just please yourself.

Let me say this, I extremely happy with the publisher I am with now for the simple fact that authors are allowed to create our own stories the way we want. I feel truly blessed and I love being with a smaller press. This is why I wanted to go with smaller houses and no more big houses because at least small presses are more lenient toward things. It's a small press out there that seems to fit anything so that's a good thing.

For big publishers or agents, if you don't write mainstream or something that's super popular don't even submit to them. They only want things they figure will be definite hits. Small presses will take a chance on more things.

message 29: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
Stacy-Deanne wrote: "Arch, because publishers don't promote like they use to. Back in the day pubs promoted their authors much more and the bulk fell on them. Now 95% falls on the authors shoulders. It doesn't matter i..."

Thanks Stacy. I don't care about an author's race. I care about the story. If a story is a catcher to me, I will read it. Back in the day, if an author caught a reader's attention, the reader wanted more stories from that name.

I wouldn't mind having old school again.

message 30: by Chicki (new)

Chicki Brown (chicki663) | 130 comments My whole point in posting about my sales was to prove that a change in marketing can give a change in sales - for a black author with a book featuring black characters. I wasn't bragging, just giving my experience.

You know that old saying, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always had." There are fantastic things happening in the e-pub world, and not just for white authors. The new publishing world demands new ways of marketing and promotion. But if, as you said, you know in your heart that won't be your outcome, it won't. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."

message 31: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
Chicki wrote: "My whole point in posting about my sales was to prove that a change in marketing can give a change in sales - for a black author with a book featuring black characters. I wasn't bragging, just givi..."

I feel you Chicki. I don't desire to be published, but if I did, I wouldn't want my stories to be listed as interracial. If I wrote a suspense story that's what I would want it to be label as. Although, I write interracial stories, my stories aren't about interracial pairing. It's about two people falling in love.

message 32: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Nov 07, 2011 08:52PM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) The thing is about labeling is often books are labeled wrong and authors have no choice in the matter. For example all my books are labeled as African-American in bookstores, libaries, online, etc. Even Everlasting which is a LATINO love story and doesn't have not one black person in it. Because it was published by a black house, it was automatically put in the black section. This is what black authors have complained about for years, our books being stuck away in the black section of stores instead of shelved by their genres.

The same thing happened with all my books. All of my books have been marketed as contemporary, mystery and crime coming from the publisher and myself but when they get to bookstores, etc, they are put in the AA category automatically. So authors don't have control over that. Some places even have my books as ROMANCE. Just general Romance and that in no way fits. Booksellers will classify books the way they want. When you are with a black publisher or are a black author I guess they assume the book is AA so they stick it in that section. Some black authors dislike the idea of the AA section because they feel it makes it hard for them to crossover while some black authors like it because they feel it leads to easier sales. I want my books placed by genre, not by race.

As for how I categorize my books, when asked I name all the genres they fit. I like doing that because everyone knows ahead of time what they will get. I am proud to be a writer of interracial fiction, multicultural fiction, etc because it shows folks that my work shows characters from different backgrounds and races. I don't mind being labeled an IR author at all, just label my stuff right and I am fine. LOL! Don't put my books in the AA section and I might have one or no black characters in my book. That's not right. The thing is an author can categorize their books what they want but we have no control of what anyone else does from that point.

Anyway, I am happy with what I write and love it. I am just glad to be with a pub where I can write what I want. I am blessed and I love the pub I am with now. It is a great little press and they work very hard for their authors. What makes me happy is that I can write what I want and don't have to worry about someone trying to dictate my stories.

I feel for the new writers coming out that have to deal with a lot of mess these days but they have to remain positive and make choices about their work that they are content with.

As long as you're happy with writing then nothing else matters. And I'm loving it!

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