For some this is a touchy subject so I will try to approach it with the passion I feel for the topic without sounding preachy. I love this industry and consider it a blessing to have a gift and a pleasure and great responsibility to bring great stories to readers as well as offer services I provide to authors and publishers in the industry.
In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons African American literature is not taken seriously is not because there isn’t a market, it is the un-professionalism of the people publishing books. Self publishing a book is a big responsibility. It is also an investment on your mark in this industry. It is very IMPERATIVE that you invest in a professional team of like-minded individuals to make your dream come true. If this is something you truly want to make a career or even a legacy for your family to take the torch, shouldn’t you want the best?
Bookstores are already trying to make us believe the urban market isn’t lucrative. They are closing doors left and right because of the readers no longer visiting stores but are instead one clicking books from mobile devices. These quick sales have turned into somewhat of a gamble because the price is often parallel with the low quality work. Representing product that is lack luster due to poor editing, armature style cover art, and all around poor print eminence handicaps the genre as a whole and gives mainstream one more reason to turn a blind eye to what many may consider the greatest and most vast genre in literature.
With the way the industry has changed, now more than ever there are lots of talented authors hitting the market everyday. Some have more experience than others in the business aspect but make no doubt about it, this is a business. We owe it to ourselves to conduct ourselves as such. That means reading and honoring the contracts we sign, showing up for all engagements (offline and online), and presenting a professional image at all times.
Engaging in a public beef or disparaging other authors or companies online and during radio interviews, not only damages the other party’s image but yours as well. If you do have a legitimate claim or complaint with an author, or service provider, I would contact them directly and then follow up with what can be done with the third party in which the person was paid. Ultimately one must go through the property channels.
With the age of social media we live in now you would think there would be cross promotion, partnerships being formed, alliances being built to further the thing that is your dream. Instead of effective networking and solid marketing, I’ve seen an amazing amount of cyber bullying, online high school cliques, and a major case of crabs in a barrel syndrome. If we can’t take each other seriously and represent ourselves as professionals why would anybody out side of this take us seriously?
Conduct yourself online like a professional and ultimately you will be treated like one. People know who they can say certain things to. Social media is indeed a gift and a curse but at the end of the day you are the one solely responsible for what goes on with your accounts. If you want to be successful you must surround yourself around other successful people. In conclusion all African American authors play a contributing factor to getting our books out there and while it is a great accomplishment to become a published author and see that dream become a reality, but the old saying still holds true. United we stand divided we all fall.
Kisha Green is no stranger to the literary world. She is the well-informed, knowledgeable publisher of DivaBooksInc.(www.divabooksinconline.com). Green is a senior writer and founder of the Writer’s Vibe (www.writers-vibe.com) a literary site to help promote artists.
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