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Solutions for Greater Equality in the Romance Market or We Can...


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During the past couple of weeks, the Smart Bitches and Karen Scott’s blog hosted heated debates regarding the state of African American romance fiction. For the most part and with few exceptions, romance books written by African Americans are shelved with African American books. To some authors, this is a regressive trait in what we like to pretend is a post racial culture. There has been a request by some authors that readers take a stand since the majority of romance dollars are spent by white females. The problem is that there are several ways in which romance readers can address this issue but I don’t know which is the one we should take.

There was one commenter at the SB’s who said she needed an ally. I find that to be true. If an author or a group of authors stepped up and said this is the direction we would like you to go, then I would take up the standard and run with them. But right now, I am stalled at the starting line, wondering which fork in the road I should take.

CHALLENGE 1: African American authors are relegated to niche marketing through segregated shelving.

SOLUTIONS:

1. Eliminate niche marketing for all African American romance books.

PRO: Exposure to a larger audience. Reduce the possible stigma that books featuring African American couples or books penned by African American authors are somehow different and not appropriate for the mainstream audience.

CON: Not all AA authors want to eliminate niche marketing. With niche marketing, books get in front of a pool of interested buyers. There is also increased shelving space, possible longer shelf life and no competition with the 400 other romances that are released each month.

2. Allow authors to choose where they want to be shelved.

PRO: This would solve the problem of the issue of treating African American authors as one hive mind. There are clearly some authors and readers who appreciate the niche marketing. By having the authors designate where their books should be shelved places the onus and power with the author and not some corporate schlub.

CON: First, feasibility. Bookstores, generally, refuse to double shelf because of the limited shelf space, the logistics of double shelving. Second, equality. African Americans who want to be shelved in the romance section (versus the AA section) state that they want equal treatment. If African Americans authors were allowed to choose where they want to be shelved, would booksellers be forced to treat non African Americans the same way? This would create a logistical nightmare as authors would send in requests to be shelved in certain areas and I’m sure that there would some who would ask to be shelved in romance who aren’t writing romance books.

3. Require publishers to stop selling books as niche marketing. As I understand it, chain booksellers have buyers for different genres. The marketing arm of the publisher pitches the books to the particular buyer. Who buys determines where the book is shelved. If publishers would have their marketers pitch a romance book to the romance buyer, it is more likely to end up shelved in the romance section.

PRO: Requiring publishers to market romances as romances regardless of the race of the books’ characters and the books’ authors would eliminate the logistical and feasibility problems that arise in the bookseller in control scenario described above.

CON: Like the removal of segretated shelving described in Scenario 1, this treats all African American romance authors the same regardless if they prefer the niche marketing.

As I stated at the outset, I think some of the lack of response to the issues raised by African American authors is due to issue paralysis. We don’t know which issue to take up as our cause. One other area in which I think we need to work together to achieve is increased visibility for African Americans authors on romance blogs.

The main problem for us at Dear Author is that because of the volume of books that we receive, we tend not to read anything that is not sent to us via email or snail mail. Dear Author posted 40 reviews in the month of April. The number of reviewed books that the reviewers had purchased was 2 or 3.

I’m sure that Dear Author is not the only blog who feels overwhelmed by the number of books it has the very good fortune of being offered. Truly it is a blessing but it is a blessing that causes us to be absentminded about books that are published and not before our eyes

The best way for an author to increase her chances of being read, reviewed, and recommended is to send us an email with a blurb and link to an excerpt. If the excerpt or blurb is interesting enough, we’ll buy our own copy so we don’t require a free book. Janine bought Ginn Hale’s Wicked Gentleman and on recommendation by Teddy Pig, I bought, read and enjoyed Josh Lanyon’s Adrien Fletcher mysteries (review to come). Both of these purchases seeded other purchases. Janine bought another book from Hale’s small print publisher and I bought two more books by Lanyon.

So we at DearAuthor need help. We need authors and readers to send us recommendations of books by African American authors. I think we’ve proven that we’ll read anything so long as it is a good book regardless of race, sexual orientation, or sub genre. This is not something that we are asking only African American authors do. As I blogged about last week, there are some things people can do to increase the likelihood of the group here reading and reviewing a particular book.

What I am saying is that authors and bloggers can work together to achieve positive results, but the key here is working together. If all we do is hurl insults at each other or talk past each other or say the one side doesn’t understand the other, we will never move from our current position and in ten years, we’ll still be bemoaning the segregation of African American romance fiction.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

57 Comments

  1. Jayne
    May 20, 2008 @ 06:03:44

    Weeeeel, actually I purchased 5 of the books I reviewed in April.

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  2. Shiloh Walker
    May 20, 2008 @ 06:23:21

    1. Eliminate niche marketing for all African American romance books.

    PRO: Exposure to a larger audience. Reduce the possible stigma that books featuring African American couples or books penned by African American authors are somehow different and not appropriate for the mainstream audience.

    CON: Not all AA authors want to eliminate niche marketing. With niche marketing, books get in front of a pool of interested buyers. There is also increased shelving space, possible longer shelf life and no competition with the 400 other romances that are released each month.

    Jane, another con here, but if I’m remembering right (and I may not be, it’s early, my brain is lacking caffeine and I’m lacking sleep) but I think there are a number of black readers who don’t want to go looking through romance for their AA books. They want to read AA romance and they want them in the AA section.

    A part of me understands the convenience for that-they want to read specific niche books-AA romance in this case-and they want to know where to find them easily.

    But the larger part of me believes this practice just hurts their authors. It keeps black author in that ‘niche’. Yes, there are proven sales, but it limits their readership. What limits their readership also limits their overall sales -outside that niche market- and can limit their career. No reader wants that.

    A rec I can give-Kayla Perrin’s We’ll Never Tell. It’s more women’s fic with a romantic bent than romance. It’s a great read and it’s down for my June book of the month (reg contest I do thru my blog). *G* It’s also got an awesome cover.

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  3. Shiloh Walker
    May 20, 2008 @ 06:30:49

    What I am saying is that authors and bloggers can work together to achieve positive results, but the key here is working together. If all we do is hurl insults at each other or talk past each other or say the one side doesn't understand the other, we will never move from our current position and in ten years, we'll still be bemoaning the segregation of African American romance fiction.

    BTW, also meant to say…. YES, absolutely YES here.

    When it dissolves into name-calling, some of the lurkers that don’t discuss but do follow are going to end up feeling insulted – on both sides of the issue. Even if a comment was directed at one person, more than just that one person are probably going to feel the sting of the insult. Tempers get heated, objectivity is lost and nothing gets accomplished.

    The law of motion-an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. It’s like rolling a ball into a wall. Without the wall, the ball could keep rolling.

    These discussions are the ball-as long as it doesn’t dissolve into name-calling and accusations-even if some feel these are warranted. All this does is form a wall-and any forward momentum that was gained is lost.

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  4. Mrs Giggles
    May 20, 2008 @ 06:33:26

    Here are a few of my favorite authors.

    Leslie Esdaile (you may have already read her books that are written as LA Banks). Gotta warn you guys, though, her characters speak “urban” very heavily. I have to check out Urban Dictionary once in a while when I am reading her books.

    Janice Sims. She writes nice family-themed romances. Sensible heroines, gentlemanly heroes. Sometimes her story can lack conflict, heh. Oddly enough, I believe one of my favorite story of hers is her sole romantic suspense.

    Elaine Overton. Smart, sensible, kick-ass heroes and heroines. Always a plus to me, although so far her mystery plots are on the weak side.

    Beverly Jenkins. She’s been around a long time, for a good reason. Always a good author to start with.

    I’m recently starting to catch up on works by authors I haven’t read in a while but whose last works that I read I enjoyed – Deborah Fletcher Mello, Niobia Bryant, Angie Daniels, Melanie Schuster, Monica Jackson, Donna Hill, and Adrienne Byrd.

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  5. Kaz Augustin
    May 20, 2008 @ 07:02:26

    For the most part and with few exceptions, romance books written by African Americans are shelved with African American books.

    Pedantic, I know, but I’d like to add “in the United States”. In the rest of the world (Asia-Pacific/Oceania in my case, but I’m sure it holds true for Europe as well), we really don’t care.

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  6. Nora Roberts
    May 20, 2008 @ 07:03:03

    I have to think that the only way to equality is equality. Romances should be sheleved in Romance, regardless of the skin color of the characters or the author.

    If AA Romance authors–or any Romance authors–are given the choice of where the books are shelved this, again, separates them out. And, for me, that’s not equality.

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  7. Kimber An
    May 20, 2008 @ 07:10:13

    4) All of the Above.

    I don’t understand why books by African American authors can’t be shelved with everyone else AND on a shelf alone.

    For that matter, why can’t Science Fiction Romance be shelved in Science Fiction AND Romance?

    Why do we have to be one or the other? Why can’t we be all together like in the real world?

    Since African American authors are segregated most of the time everywhere else, I try to promote them alongside everyone else at my book review blog, Enduring Romance, without comment on the race of the author or the characters.

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  8. Kay Sisk
    May 20, 2008 @ 07:29:06

    Victoria Christopher Murray. Christian AA.

    Eva Rutland’s No Crystal Stair.

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  9. Kristie(J)
    May 20, 2008 @ 07:58:32

    Here in Canada where I live, the AA romance are in with all the other romance, which has it’s own section as does mystery, fantasy etc.
    I dunno – to me that’s the way it should be.

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  10. Shiloh Walker
    May 20, 2008 @ 08:07:34

    For that matter, why can't Science Fiction Romance be shelved in Science Fiction AND Romance?

    Why do we have to be one or the other? Why can't we be all together like in the real world?

    Money & convenience.

    Money…Bookstores generally aren’t going to double-shelf things. They want it in the area where they think it will sell the best-which means if it’s tagged romance, it will go in romance, SF in SF. Bookstores are suffering economically along with the rest of the country.

    They order in the books they think will sell and they want them to get to eye of those most likely to buy. That means putting genre titles within their genre.

    Those who are looking for it will likely look where it’s ‘labeled’ and those that are browsing in the SF looking for standard SF aren’t going to want icky romance there. They buy something expecting SF and they get SF romance, good chance the book will be returned.

    Convenience-genre labeling isn’t a bad thing. That SF romance is still mostly romance and the occasional romance buyer isn’t going to think to go looking elsewhere so it needs to be in the best place to for the reader to find it. And that AA romance? Still a romance. Needs to be in the best place for the readers to find it.

    Personally, when I’m looking for a traditional SF, I want traditional SF. I don’t mind a romance intervwoven into the story, but I don’t want the standard SF romance, because most of the books labelled SF romance don’t work for me.

    The issue of money is going to prevent all books being shelved together, as does the issue of convenience. A lot of readers go to a bookstore to browse, but a lot go with the intention of buying one certain kind of book-they are in the mood for a romance, or they wanted an urban fantasy.

    Having to wade through a billion titles looking for the few select that they want is an inconvenience and it’s one that would cost the bookstore sales. Especially if the readers do what I do, squeeze that trip to the bookstore in between haircuts and buying shoes and a million other daily life things.

    In an ideal world where we had plenty of time to spend browsing, putting everything (SF, romance, urban whatever) together might work for some. But we live in a world that’s far from ideal.

    Genre labeling works. But separating a title out just because the author that wrote it is black doesn’t work, IMO. The AA romance is still a romance. It needs to be where romance readers are most likely to look.

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  11. Shiloh Walker
    May 20, 2008 @ 08:13:45

    Daggne it. I think my post got eaten or I deleted it somehow and now I’m going to have to get…son’s play at school.

    But quickly…

    I don't understand why books by African American authors can't be shelved with everyone else AND on a shelf alone.

    For that matter, why can't Science Fiction Romance be shelved in Science Fiction AND Romance?

    Why do we have to be one or the other? Why can't we be all together like in the real world?

    The answer to why SF isn’t with romance…money and convenience. Readers don’t always have time to wade through the title looking for what they are in the mood for. Bookstores are going to shelve things where they are most likely to be sold.

    AA books need to be in whatever genre the book fits…romance with romance, SF with SF-the AA niche labeling doesn’t work. But genre labeling…SF, romance, fantasy-that does work.

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  12. BevQB
    May 20, 2008 @ 08:20:09

    Shelly Laurenston, Shelly Laurenston, Shelly Laurenston.

    I didn’t know she was an AA author until after I had already starting reading her wonderful paranormal romancess. She brings a sense of play to the bedroom that is very much needed in romance stories.

    Besides recommending her, my point is that it did not matter one iota to me what color skin the author of these wonderful stories has. And my gut reaction is to shoot rainbows and butterflies into the air by adding “And in a perfect world, isn’t that how it should be?”

    But Jane, you and Shiloh have raised some interesting points to consider. There doesn’t seem to be an answer that will please every author OR every reader, does there?

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  13. francois
    May 20, 2008 @ 08:21:21

    Hmmm, I’m undecided about this. If you’re a niche market you’re a niche market. I’d like the supermarket to put the tins of baby sweetcorn on a higher shelf in the tinned vegetable section, but obviously they’re not as widely popular as the tins of tomatoes higher up, and most people expect to find them in the Oriental food section. The placing of baby sweetcorn could be seen as segregation, but its more likely economics.

    Kimber An said “Why do we have to be one or the other? Why can't we be all together like in the real world?”

    Nice dream! Grouping for segregation, comfort or economic reasons seems very like how people live in the real world to me.

    On the other hand, shop online. No problem filing a book under multiple headings there. Unless we have something against online shops?

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  14. Janie Harrison
    May 20, 2008 @ 08:22:31

    Hmmm. I would hate to make this decision for AA writers. What we are discussing here is the way in which niche marketing works. The idea that authors could ever choose where their books are shelved, well, I don’t believe that is relatable. Authors do not have this choice. Niche marketing gives AA authors slots and buyer-friendliness.

    If we are discussing more than niche marketing, we are dealing with issues beyond the writing and selling of books.

    I haven’t read the discussions online, but if I had to guess this discussion was really about racial equality and acceptance by readers, then I would urge patience. There is no easy solution. Equality would mean being shelved under romance without any special regard and fighting for readers.

    It would nice, and I’d certainly welcome it, where we could go into a bookstore and find authors who are writing YA and Adult fiction simply by last name. But I am a writer, too. I see beyond markets. Most readers don’t.

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  15. Sherry Thomas
    May 20, 2008 @ 08:23:08

    Farrah Rochon

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  16. Emmy
    May 20, 2008 @ 08:48:29

    Well, why have a sci-fi section, or a mystery section, or a romance section? Can’t books be separated by fiction or non-fiction, and shelved in alphabetical order? Some books meet more than one criteria. Why put romantic suspenses under romance and not suspense?

    Actually, why even have fiction and non fiction, since alot of what’s marketed as non-fiction has turned out to be mostly fiction lately (ie Million Little Pieces)?

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  17. Tracy
    May 20, 2008 @ 09:09:04

    For the most part and with few exceptions, romance books written by African Americans are shelved with African American books.

    After reading the posts at Smart Bitches and Karen’s blog, I visited my local Barnes and Noble and the AA section was all non-fiction. The AA romances were in with the rest of the Romance books~with a few cover out! I was impressed. I’m in the midwest, not a big city either.

    I like that because when I shop for romance I just hit the romance section. I don’t have time to wander the bookstore and try to figure out where else they may have stuck a few romance books.

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  18. Bev Stephans
    May 20, 2008 @ 09:09:58

    I shop online for all of my books, so niche marketing doesn’t come into play for me. When I used to haunt bookstores, I would go to the section I was in the mood to read. If that was romance, I always assumed all of the romance novels were shelved together. Now I find out that this isn’t true. I think a lot of AA authors are losing out by having their romances shelved with AA literature.

    I too love Shelley Laurenston. I too did not know she was AA. It just goes to show you that you can’t tell an author by it’s cover and that’s a good thing!

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  19. Imogen Howson
    May 20, 2008 @ 09:10:44

    Hmmm, I'm undecided about this. If you're a niche market you're a niche market.

    I think I would argue that AA romance should not be a niche market. And it only becomes a niche market when it’s segregated. If it were shelved with romance then romance readers could find it with all the other romance. And if, for some reason, they didn’t want AA romance, they could put it down again and pick up the next book along.

    Although I (white and from England) do feel a little uneasy about saying what I think should happen to AA authors. And I have no recommendations, so I fail on that count too.

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  20. heather (errantdreams)
    May 20, 2008 @ 09:41:12

    As a reader & reviewer, all I care about is whether I enjoy the story, and that isn’t likely to be affected by the skin color of the author or characters. But if I want to read a romance, I’m looking on the romance shelves, not on the AA shelves. The arguments for the different possibilities you describe all have a certain amount of merit. One thing I think is important is online booksellers taking advantage of the fact that a book can be ‘shelved’ under more than one genre thanks to the miracle of database-backed websites. That way it doesn’t matter if you look under AA or romance—you find the book you’re looking for. Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve anything when it comes to physical bookstores and their limited shelf space, of course. But I admit that these days I buy most of my books online.

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  21. Carolyn Jewel
    May 20, 2008 @ 09:50:02

    4) Shelve the books in both (or more) locations.

    Pro: The books can be found in the niche area by readers who are looking specifically for AA books and they can also be found in the straight genre section by anyone looking for a good romance.

    Con: Either area will probably have fewer copies of the book.

    This is not necessarily an either/or situation.

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  22. bam
    May 20, 2008 @ 09:56:53

    Jane, you post the best cat pictures!

    oh, and the romance world should be racially transcendent.

    That is all. kthxbai.

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  23. Isis
    May 20, 2008 @ 09:59:26

    Segregation is segregation period. You can argue for it and justify it anyway you want. But it’s still wrong.

    Isis

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  24. KCfla
    May 20, 2008 @ 10:34:35

    I’m in the same situation as Tracy @17-
    My B&N has only Non-Fiction in the AA section. The rest of the books must be placed according to genre ( I did see some of the author’s mentioned above in the Romance section- but I had 3 kids with me, and no time to research further!)
    One thing I did notice in my *travels* this past weekend- Wal-mart in my area has an AA section- and that included the Romance/SF/alltherestof the books.

    And no- I’m in a very “non-tourist”, regular community that’s pretty diverse really. And I’ll buy a GOOD book. I could give a hoot what color the author/characters are.

    YMMV though…….

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  25. Kimber An
    May 20, 2008 @ 10:42:26

    Case Study: SEDUCING THE MERCENARY by Loreth Anne White (November 2007). The author is white, the Hero is black, and I’m not sure what the Heroine is. My fellow reviewer at Enduring Romance, Robyn, reviewed this one last Thursday, May 15th. enduringromance.blogspot.com To its credit, Harliquin/Sillouette stocks this in with regular Romantic Suspense with no mention of race that I could tell. Would they have done that if the author was black? If the answer is not ‘yes’ right now, maybe if it sells well the answer will be ‘yes’ soon. In any case, I applaud the publisher because it exposes the readership to broader horizons.

    By the way, it really is an excellent suspense novel and I don’t even read Romantic Suspense!

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  26. Maya
    May 20, 2008 @ 11:11:23

    I live near Toronto (home of the fabulous Kayla Perrin), and I’ve never noticed segregation in the shelving here. But I wonder: does this occur in other genres too (AA mystery authors shelved separately from nonAA mystery authors, etc.) or is it only in romance? Because somehow, if it’s only in romance, my question would be: why? What makes such distinction ‘necessary’ (in the minds of some) in this particular genre compared to others? Is it because of the element of couples uniting? And if so – why would that matter?

    Perhaps this is a mystery to me because Toronto was at one point declared the most ethnically diverse city in the world by the United Nations, meaning that couples of different backgrounds are extremely common.

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  27. Karen Templeton
    May 20, 2008 @ 11:32:09

    Kimber — Harlequin/Silhouette doesn’t segregate the series books by race. Nor do the distributors or booksellers. IOW, all SRS or SSE or Desires are shelved together with the rest of the line, no matter the race of the characters or the author. The AA Kimani imprint is another matter — but how those are shelved is a bookseller, not a publisher, decision.

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  28. Janine
    May 20, 2008 @ 11:50:51

    Janine bought Ginn Hale's Wicked Gentleman and on recommendation by Teddy Pig

    Was it Teddy Pig who recommended Wicked Gentlemen for the DA BWAHA tournament? I had thought it was someone else, because I didn’t see Wicked Gentlemen reviewed on Teddy’s blog.

    I actually bought the book after K.Z. Snow pointed me toward the amazing excerpt. And after Ann Somerville pointed me to some other books, I bought another M/M romance after reading a wonderful excerpt.

    I am sure I could be introduced to great AA romances the same way. I remember how I fell in love with Their Eyes Were Watching God from the opening line, “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.”

    Keep in mind though that I am a picky reader and not likely to love or even read everything that is recommended to me. If I see an excerpt with great prose and intriguing characterization, that is the surest way to win me over. But I long to be won over in just such a way. I want to know about terrific books! So please do let me know.

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  29. Kimber An
    May 20, 2008 @ 11:52:45

    Thanks, Karen. That’s awesome.
    ;)

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  30. Ami S
    May 20, 2008 @ 12:01:49

    This book was written by an African American and I swear (even though upon closer inspection, the cover kind of gave it away) I had NO idea that the author was non-caucasian until I got near the end of the book. That is when I checked out the back where her bio was and then looked closely at the cover. Didn’t matter to me, the book was too funny and some of the stuff was classic!

    The Broke Diaries : The Completely True and Hilarious Misadventures of a Good Girl Gone Broke :: Angela Nissel

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  31. rlynn
    May 20, 2008 @ 12:15:45

    I’ve seen this particular discussion come up every so often and I was curious about the geography.

    After the last online discussion I was part of, I went to all my local bookstores, roughly 5ish, and all the AA romance novels were shelved with the romances. Even in my local UBS store they’re all shelved together. But I live in a big, diverse area so I thought I wasn’t representative. But from the comments, it looks like other readers in smaller cities did the same and also found the AA romances shelved with the romances.

    So I’m curious. Where is this separated shelving happening? Which bookstores in which cities?

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  32. Robin
    May 20, 2008 @ 12:19:43

    The AA Kimani imprint is another matter -’ but how those are shelved is a bookseller, not a publisher, decision.

    True, although the AA imprint itself is a publisher decision. You know, I wrote Harlequin an email after the Christmas giveaway asking why they didn’t offer a Kimani book and pleading the case for integrated Romance, and the best I got back was a form note indicating that my email had been forwarded to the appropriate person (even though I had addressed it to the person who I thought was appropriate, I got a standard customer care agent responding to me).

    Anyway, I’m not trying to call Harlequin out here; I only wanted to say that I think the segregation issue is both publisher and bookseller driven, and the excuse given if often that it’s what *the reader* wants. And I’m sure there are both white and AA and other readers of color who want Romance to be segregated, just as there are readers who don’t. So ultimately I think it’s a money decision, and if publishers think that they can make more money segregating Romance, that’s what they’re going to want to do, especially if readers don’t express a different preference.

    If AA Romance authors-or any Romance authors-are given the choice of where the books are shelved this, again, separates them out. And, for me, that's not equality.

    Jane and I talk about these issues A LOT, and we keep hitting the same place: that the race issue in Romance isn’t like every other shelving/labeling issue, because even if there is no animus in the segregation, if it appears to be rooted exclusively in race it creates the appearance of discrimination (and we know that a number of AA authors feel this keenly), even if there is no intent to racially discriminate or segregate. You just don’t have that added element in a discussion about shelving women’s fiction in the Romance section, for example.

    Normally I would argue vehemently that readers don’t have any obligation to meet the requests or demands of authors — that it is not our place to be taking direction from authors. But because this issue IMO goes beyond standard author/publisher/reader roles, I don’t feel like I can apply the same rules. So this is a case where I’m willing to take on a more proactive role as a reader than I normally would, and I’m willing to pay attention to author complaints than I normally would. And that holds across different lines of difference (AA, Latino/Chicano, Asian, GBLT, etc.).

    As for what goes on between authors and publishers, I tend to see that as a matter of contract. If an author can work out with a publisher that her books will be shelved in Romance instead of AA studies or whatever, I think that’s fair, especially if the separate shelving is a function of the author’s race, and even if it’s not “equal” in the strictest terms of “normal” book shelving practices. But the one thing about racial integration of any kind is that you have to be REALLY race conscious at first in order to eventually be race neutral. How one judges the equality of that depends, I guess, on how one sees the equality of the initial situation.

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  33. Dariel
    May 20, 2008 @ 13:04:20

    I usually lurk, but thought I would jump in on this discussion. In the Washington, DC area Borders shelves AA romance separately (this includes Maryland and Virginia). Barnes & Noble on the other hand shelves AA with all the other romance books.

    Most of the time I forget to check the AA section for romance, and with it mixed in with non-fiction, it’s too troublesome to figure out what is what. It makes more sense to me to have all romance together. I don’t always have the time to wander all over the bookstore looking for the AA section, just to get confused.

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  34. Seressia
    May 20, 2008 @ 15:10:44

    Great discussion! I just wanted to comment on a couple of things:

    1. Paranormal is a niche. So are rom-suspense, historical or inspirational romance. These are mixed in together in the romance section. AA romance is not a niche. The argument is further rendered invalid given that books by non-black authors but featuring AA characters are shelved in with regular romance.

    2. Erotic romance seems to eliminate this shelving issue, so kudos to these publishers with print books. Bookstores shelve them all together at the end of the romance row.

    3. If a publisher is ID’d as a black romance publisher, they won’t get far with the romance buyer–they’ll be referred to the AA fiction buyer. Same with a line ID’d as black romance. Some houses do not have these lines, but the bookseller may see the cover and ignore the romance tag and shelve it in the black section if such a section exists in their store.

    4. Online shoppers: how do you search for new romance books? Amazon has black romance coded as African-American, so I would wonder how long you’d have to scroll through the list of new historical releases before you found Beverly Jenkins. Does Amazon’s vaunted referral software recommend LA Banks if you bought a JR Ward, for example? Are you recommended a Deidre Savoy suspense after purchasing an Allison Brennan?

    Let’s go ahead and state that it’s mainly Borders and chain omni-stores like Wal-Mart and Target that separate the books out. B&N for the most part does not. To me, it is an equality issue, but then I read romance for the romance, not the skin color. And I’m tired of having to browse multiple sections for it.

    PS: I was a black reader long before I was a black author. No one ever asked me where I wanted books shelved–and I used to work part time for Borders / Waldenbooks back in the day.

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  35. Seressia
    May 20, 2008 @ 15:22:49

    BTW: The ladies who are considered among the “greats” in black romance are Brenda Jackson, Rochelle Alers, Beverly Jenkins, Gwynne Forster, Kayla Perrin and Francis Ray (I’m forgetting some and will be shot). Kimberly Kaye Terry writes erotic romance. Bridget Midway writes BDSM from an IR perspective. Jacquelin Thomas writes inspirational. LA Banks writes urban fantasy and paranormal and has some contemporaries out under Leslie Esdaile Banks.

    Romances featuring black characters are a varied landscape of themes, tones, and subgenres. Further proof, I think, that it is not a niche.

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  36. B
    May 20, 2008 @ 15:24:35

    Does Amazon's vaunted referral software recommend LA Banks if you bought a JR Ward, for example?

    I did find LA Banks through either an Amazon referral or someone’s listmania (whatever the user created lists on Amazon are called) while shopping for Kelly Armstrong, Kim Harrison, LKH, etc… JR Ward wasn’t out at the time, plus LA Banks’ books (the ones I’ve read) aren’t pure romance, so it seems more of a fit.

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  37. Throwmearope
    May 20, 2008 @ 16:19:55

    In lily white suburbia in Colorado, the BN shelves AA Romance in both places, AA and romance. (Oddly, Shiloh, they put what I consider paranormal romance in the SF section–people like Krinnard and Keri Allen? (Arthur?)–like you I don’t read that, so I’m not sure. The biggies like Feehan wind up in romance.) The Walmart which is across the street and a block and a half away, segregates all AA of any type, with no intermingling.

    Too bad sales comparisons wouldn’t be helpful, because of the different reasons one shops Walmart vs BN. My Walmart buys are all impulse, I haven’t tried her yet, and jeez it’s only $4.99. I go to BN on the release date for my autobuy authors.

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  38. Tracy
    May 20, 2008 @ 18:04:22

    My Wal-Mart does not have a big enough section for too much segregating. It has a romance section, a Inspirational section, a non-fiction section, and every other fiction is the last section.

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  39. Monica
    May 20, 2008 @ 22:41:38

    The problem with asking for book recommendations for AA romance (which has been done often) is the voracious readers of black romance who really know the deal aren’t hanging around Romanceland blogs and sites. Not at all. You’d do better to ask on RAWSISTAZ or other black reader sites.

    A solution would be to take someone such as Beverly Jenkins and review her books as you would review a white romance author of the same stature. For example, Jo Beverly isn’t going to put a book out without the romance sites taking notice and reviewing it…well known and popular romance author’s books aren’t going to be ignored.

    I think it would be easier for romance sites such as this one to pick a few (well known, respected, prolific, popular) black romance authors and treat them the same as any other well known (nonblack) romance authors and review their current releases consistently too!

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  40. Robin
    May 20, 2008 @ 23:03:09

    A solution would be to take someone such as Beverly Jenkins and review her books as you would review a white romance author of the same stature.

    Dear Author has been doing this since its inception. I think Jane is saying that she’s willing to do more, and she’s asking for concrete assistance, whether that consists of authors sending DA blurbs or books for review, or something else. I think, in other words, she’s trying to create a collective, a network of allies that more actively shares strategies for change.

    I think it would be easier for romance sites such as this one to pick a few (well known, respected, prolific, popular) black romance authors and treat them the same as any other well known (nonblack) romance authors and review their current releases consistently too!

    The way this gets done here, for other authors, is most often the consequence of authors or their publishers sending review queries or review copies. I know that I have gotten to the point where I am simply trying to catch up on an ever-growing list of books I have to review, books that have been sent to us that I have committed to review (I often let Jane just assign books to me for review). I do purchase a lot of books, too, many of them after I review a book I love, but some I purchase, read, and then review (I do this with Shelly Laurenston’s books, by the way). Yet I still barely have time to read the books that have been sent to me, let alone figure out who is releasing what book when (especially for authors little known or unknown to me). Which is why, I think, Jane asked for some help from AA authors who want their books reviewed (i.e. please send them to us or at least send us a query).

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  41. Laura Vivanco
    May 21, 2008 @ 04:04:35

    A solution would be to take someone such as Beverly Jenkins and review her books as you would review a white romance author of the same stature.

    Dear Author has been doing this since its inception.

    I suspect I’m misunderstanding you and taking you too literally, but I couldn’t find any reviews here of Beverly Jenkins’s novels. Is that a problem with the search facility or are they just not there?

    Or if you’re meaning this in a non-specific way, are there any AA authors whose books the DA reviewers would automatically have (mentally) tagged as “someone whose books must be reviewed”? I think that’s what Monica’s thinking you might do for some “big name” authors, but I’m not sure you do this for anyone on the basis that they’re a “big name”. Maybe my memory’s bad, but I’m thinking that you don’t automatically review every single novel that Nora Roberts, Eloisa James, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn etc write.

    From what Jane’s saying in her post, it sounds as though the decisions about what to review are affected by (a) what takes a reviewer’s fancy, so if there’s an author that many of you like, there are likely to be multiple reviews of their books, but if none of you are so keen on the book, it may get no reviews at all and (b) because you’re sent review copies for free, you’re all more likely to review those than to seek out books you have to pay for, although this may vary from one DA reviewer to another.

    So I’m inferring that publishers of AA romances don’t tend to send you copies of their books. Would that be correct? Is it normally publishers or authors who send you copies of books? I could be getting totally the wrong impression here, but I’d got the impression that it’s a combination of the two.

    So, do the publishers who already send you books ever send you books by their AA authors? If not, why not? It’s just that it occurred to me that maybe the segregation doesn’t just exist on the level of labelling of lines and shelving of books, but perhaps also affects which review copies are sent where. Maybe publishers are assuming that non-AA review sites won’t be interested in reviewing AA romances.

    Do you think they would they send you some if you asked them to? For example, if Harlequin ever send you any books would they be open to the idea of sending you some Kimani ones? Avon publishes Beverly Jenkins. Do they send you other authors’ books but not hers? If that’s the case, maybe you could ask them why/request that they send you some of the books they publish by AA authors? And does Kensington ever send you review copies? Because if they do, maybe you could ask them to send you some romances from their Dafina line. As I’m already speculating wildly about what publishers might send out for review, I’ll stop there.

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  42. Angela
    May 21, 2008 @ 04:31:35

    Laura, you’ve raised very excellent points. If publishers are sending DA (the SBs and the GBU crew) books for review yet are ignoring their black authors, addressing this oversight is a major step in the right direction.

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  43. Anne Douglas
    May 21, 2008 @ 10:22:58

    A solution would be to take someone such as Beverly Jenkins and review her books as you would review a white romance author of the same stature. For example, Jo Beverly isn't going to put a book out without the romance sites taking notice and reviewing it…well known and popular romance author's books aren't going to be ignored.

    I think it would be easier for romance sites such as this one to pick a few (well known, respected, prolific, popular) black romance authors and treat them the same as any other well known (nonblack) romance authors and review their current releases consistently too!

    As per the discussion I had with Monica on her blog, I furthered the offer Ciar Cullen had made to review any AA author books they cared to let me know about/were happy to send me an ARC for (I AM a poor author, and I’m not on the publisher ARC lists :) the library is my friend ).

    I don’t run an official review site (although I might set up a sep blog if I can figure out a name), I really can’t guarantee any sort of exposure, I don’t guarantee rave reviews (although if I dislike a book I’ll endeavor to coherently say why), and I’m sure my reviews will no doubt sound a bit fumbling as I figure out what I’m doing. But I have made a start.

    No, It’s not solving the problem, nor finding a solution to any of the issues. But it’s offering support in the best, most positive way I can at this point. And hey, if one of the bigger review sites wants to pick them up, I’m all ears.

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  44. Robin
    May 21, 2008 @ 11:35:30

    I suspect I'm misunderstanding you and taking you too literally, but I couldn't find any reviews here of Beverly Jenkins's novels. Is that a problem with the search facility or are they just not there?

    Sorry, Laura; what I meant was that DA has been reviewing AA-authored Romance just like white (or other ethnicity)-authored Romance since the blog’s inception (and FWIW, I’m reading Jenkins’s new one right now for review). I read Monica’s comment with an emphasis on “someone” and Beverly Jenkins as an example.

    Is it normally publishers or authors who send you copies of books?

    It’s both, actually. As Jane said, we get far more books and requests to review than are humanly possible to complete, and the factors that go into whether or not to review a book are neither fixed nor one dimensional (nor the same for every reviewer). But the first cut, so to speak, occurs at the level of what books and queries are sent to us, because those books or requests are right there in front of us, getting our attention. And we do get some AA-authored books (some we purchase; the majority of the AA-authored books I’ve read I have purchased — all but the Jenkins, in fact).

    Outside of a few long-time favorite authors whose books I still keep track of, I try to review some different books, books I might not otherwise pick up on my own, books that Jane sends to me, and books that strike me as interesting for one reason or another. But the collection of possible review books, even at that level, is way beyond what I can do, so actually seeking out books I don’t know about is very difficult these days. Which is why I think Jane put out the word to authors who might want a new release reviewed.

    However, your point about publishers making an effort to send their AA-authored books more routinely is a good one. What I don’t know if how readily any particular books are sent out for review, because not all books published are sent out by the publisher, and some ARCs are the responsibility of the author to send, etc. This is another layer of inequity in the publishing world, one that tracks across different lines, but can be at least partially countered by authors who can send out a blurb and a link to an excerpt, for example. We are all HUGE book buyers here, so it’s far less about the book being gratis than it is about simply knowing a book exists and that a request for review has been submitted. Sometimes authors just don’t have the copies to send, and that’s completely understandable. But if we don’t know a book is being published at any given time, only a heads up is going to put that book into contention for review.

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  45. Jane
    May 21, 2008 @ 13:07:14

    I think that's what Monica's thinking you might do for some “big name” authors, but I'm not sure you do this for anyone on the basis that they're a “big name”. Maybe my memory's bad, but I'm thinking that you don't automatically review every single novel that Nora Roberts, Eloisa James, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn etc write.//

    I can’t remember reviewing every single release of any author. I think we have reviewed nearly every new release of Kresley Cole and maybe a couple of other authors but Cole sends us her books months in advance of the release date. I think Kathleen O’Reilly has done that. Similarly, I read Ann Christopher’s latest release because she sent it to me and I will be reading and reviewing Devon Archer’s June 2008 Kimani Press release because it was sent to me.

    From what Jane's saying in her post, it sounds as though the decisions about what to review are affected by (a) what takes a reviewer's fancy, so if there's an author that many of you like, there are likely to be multiple reviews of their books, but if none of you are so keen on the book, it may get no reviews at all and (b) because you're sent review copies for free, you're all more likely to review those than to seek out books you have to pay for, although this may vary from one DA reviewer to another.//

    This is also correct. The tickling the reader’s fancy is the goal of excerpts and blurbs. I’m not willing to buy books just because. I want to buy books I think I am going to like and excerpts and blurbs can help whittle that decision down. As Robin said, because of the volume of free books that we receive, we are more likely to read a book that is in front of us than one we have to specially order from a small print publishing house (I’d be twice as likely to buy a book if it was in eform as well). Jayne probably reads more books she purchases than anyone else on the blog. I feel compelled to read the books that I get sent for free because it costs money to send them to me and I want to make sure I am sensitive to that. I actually feel guilty sometimes reading books that I have purchased, personally, given the stacks of free books that we have.

    So I'm inferring that publishers of AA romances don't tend to send you copies of their books. Would that be correct? Is it normally publishers or authors who send you copies of books? //

    We mostly get books from the publishers and I actually prefer it that way. If an author sends me her book, I feel more obligated to read/review it.

    So, do the publishers who already send you books ever send you books by their AA authors? If not, why not? //

    Every month Avon publishes one or two AA books (at least AA by the characters on the cover). I’ve also received AA books (again looking at the cover) from Penguin which appear to be marketed to the general public. Speciality print publishers ordinarily don’t send us ARCs except for a couple and they generally send us e-arcs but almost only when we request them. We don’t get any books from the Dafina line from Kensington and would have to purchase those in order to read them.

    Harlequin does not send out ARCs of its category/series books.

    I don’t know if that answers the questions that you have but I think that if more AA authors would send us an email saying with the back cover blurb and a link to an excerpt, we would likely increase our coverage of AA authors. Part of the reason some authors get more play here on the blog than others is because these authors make themselves known to us. They send us the books. Sometimes we get reminders of the publication date (which I actually appreciate).

    Reviewing is something all of us do in our spare time in addition to our real jobs so going out and searching new books isn’t something that I spend a lot of time doing when I’ve got 100+ books each month that arrive on my doorstep and in my mailbox.

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  46. Jayne
    May 21, 2008 @ 15:38:51

    This is also correct. The tickling the reader’s fancy is the goal of excerpts and blurbs. I’m not willing to buy books just because. I want to buy books I think I am going to like and excerpts and blurbs can help whittle that decision down. As Robin said, because of the volume of free books that we receive, we are more likely to read a book that is in front of us than one we have to specially order from a small print publishing house (I’d be twice as likely to buy a book if it was in eform as well). Jayne probably reads more books she purchases than anyone else on the blog. I feel compelled to read the books that I get sent for free because it costs money to send them to me and I want to make sure I am sensitive to that. I actually feel guilty sometimes reading books that I have purchased, personally, given the stacks of free books that we have.

    If a book’s plot doesn’t interest me, I won’t read it no matter if someone sends me a print copy, e-copy, whatever. And unlike Jane, I feel absolutely no guilt in not reading a book even if it’s already been sent to us. I already have so many – heaps many – tons many – a houseful many of books – that even if I didn’t buy another one or was not given another one, I still have decades worth of books (no, I’m not kidding) to read. If I’m not interested, I’m not reading it.

    As Jane says, we do this in our spare time and I want to enjoy what I’m reading. First it must interest me. Then it has to keep my attention. I do finish most of the books I start but I’ve ended up abandoning a few this year – some I bought and some that were sent to us by authors or publishers. I don’t like doing that but I’m not going to make myself miserable by continuing to read something I hate. And also as Jane says, I do buy a lot of books each month so I want to read them too.

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  47. Monica
    May 21, 2008 @ 16:07:24

    Jane, I actually understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t know what the solution is if it’s not practical for the romance sites to read and find at least a few black romance authors they like.

    That’s what I was thinking when I said treat some black authors as if they weren’t black–the difference between nonblack and black romance authors is the reader buzz for nonblack authors because of the fact that the nonblack authors are read. Without being read by readers of the romance community, there is no chance for buzz in the romance community. Also, to be honest, black romance authors aren’t really a part of the genre as presented on most romance sites, but something different, outside the genre. It’s a Catch-22. We don’t need any sort of book affirmative action, we simply need the same chance to be read. But it’s difficult to figure out how.

    Once reason for the difficulty is as far as black authors sending ARCS….it’s a dilemma. There’s a limited number of books we get. We might spend our own money and postage for these books. I’ve heard some authors complaining about taking effort to send out books to romance sites only to be told that nobody wanted to review them. Most authors have lists for mailing that don’t include romance sites where our readers don’t frequent or our books are rarely reviewed. It’s smarter to send them to sites where they will be appreciated by the reader, and more likely to be reviewed.

    I can see some authors gladly making the extra effort if a book is requested for review…but that puts the onus on you to review it.

    As things stand, I don’t see the situation changing anytime soon unless the romance sites make the effort to read a lot more black romance–and as you wrote, you have plenty romance to read already…or a lot more black authors make the effort to send ARCs in advance–and it’s not as if we don’t have places to send ARC’s. Although more readers are welcome, getting white readers on board has proved to be a tough nut to crack time and time again. Some have concluded it’s not worth the trouble and use their promo effort and dollars with care, targeting their likely readers.

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  48. Janine
    May 21, 2008 @ 16:34:39

    4. Online shoppers: how do you search for new romance books?

    Since I am admittedly a finicky reader, I usually rely on excerpts and recommendations from trusted readers whose tastes are similar to mine in the sense that they place a high value on good prose and characterization. Writing styles are a huge factor in my enjoyment of a book, so if an excerpt isn’t available and Amazon doesn’t offer a “look inside” the book, I won’t purchase. Period.

    Books usually get on my radar based an email from the author or publisher or word of mouth from other readers. I also have favorite authors I make an effort to keep up with because I enjoy their books. I think I have actually reviewed all of Anne Stuart’s Ice series, but this has less to do with her being a “big name” author, and more to do with my love for Black Ice, a book I’ve probably read six or seven times since it came out in 2005. Before Black Ice was published, I was not reading Stuart regularly, and I was not yet a reviewer here, either. I was on the fence about whether to buy Black Ice, but a spoiler about the hero that was mentioned in a column on AAR intrigued me, and I already knew that Stuart’s writing style had some appeal to me, so I took a chance on it.

    It’s interesting to hear Jane and Jayne’s feelings about books that are sent to us vs. books we buy. I don’t generally feel guilty about not reviewing free books if I did not request to have them sent to me. If I do request them, I make an effort to review them. But I do notice that where my guilt kicks in is if I want to read an older book. I feel as if the newer books are the ones clamoring for attention, the ones readers most want to know about. I read an older book occasionally, but it feels like self-indulgence. So for me, there is always this race to get to the newer books while they are still new.

    Right now for example, I have a bunch of ARCs that Jane sent me. Three are May releases, but I don’t know if I’ll get to them in May. At the moment I’m reading Emily Giffin’s Love the One You’re With, a book I bought in hardcover with my own $$ becasue I loved Giffin’s Something Blue. Since I usually only review at the rate of a book every week at best (and often less frequently than that), I’m confused about what to read next — one of the May ARCs, or some June books since it will probably be June by the time the review of the book I read next posts.

    I am also dying to read the new Loretta Chase before it comes out, but unless my opinion is radically different from Jane, Robin and Jayne’s, I doubt I’ll review it. Still, I really want to read it, since I loved her Carsington books. But if I do, I’m pretty sure I will feel guilty about that, since that reading time will come at the expense of reading a book I could review. It’s the curse of being a slow reader.

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  49. Laura Vivanco
    May 21, 2008 @ 16:39:45

    Jane wrote: I think that if more AA authors would send us an email saying with the back cover blurb and a link to an excerpt, we would likely increase our coverage of AA authors.

    Monica wrote: as far as black authors sending ARCS….it's a dilemma. There's a limited number of books we get. We might spend our own money and postage for these books. I've heard some authors complaining about taking effort to send out books to romance sites only to be told that nobody wanted to review them.

    I don’t know how many AA romance authors would have read this, but the sending an email with a blurb and excerpt would be an option that wouldn’t be expensive for authors. Is there some way of contacting lots of AA authors to share the request with them? Maybe Monica knows how to spread the word that you (i.e. the Dear Author reviewers) would be interested in being sent blurbs of AA romances and links to excerpts?

    One other possibility as far as the Kimani books go, is that each month, at the beginning of the month, all the Kimani books will go up on the eHarlequin website. There are all the blurbs and excerpts there. It would perhaps be a bit more effort for you to go to that website rather than getting individual emails from authors, but it would still be a relatively easy way to find blurbs and excerpts.

    I'd be twice as likely to buy a book if it was in eform as well

    I don’t think the ebook part of the Harlequin site gives the excerpts, unfortunately, it only has the blurbs, but the Kimani books are available as ebooks.

    I don’t think Parker Publishing or Genesis Press offer excerpts, and I didn’t notice them selling their books as ebooks.

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  50. Janine
    May 21, 2008 @ 16:44:54

    Once reason for the difficulty is as far as black authors sending ARCS….it's a dilemma. There's a limited number of books we get. We might spend our own money and postage for these books. I've heard some authors complaining about taking effort to send out books to romance sites only to be told that nobody wanted to review them. Most authors have lists for mailing that don't include romance sites where our readers don't frequent or our books are rarely reviewed. It's smarter to send them to sites where they will be appreciated by the reader, and more likely to be reviewed.

    What about e-ARCs? Some authors send us their books in PDF file form. We never share these with anyone who is not a reviewer for DA, and most of us actually prefer them to print ARCs. I don’t know if it is feasible for AA authors to send us PDFs or even Word docs but if it is, maybe that’s one solution.

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  51. Monica
    May 21, 2008 @ 16:58:02

    Janine, That’s a good idea and what I do…but I don’t know how many black authors have this site and many other romance sites on their radar.

    I dunno. Not to be irreverent, but I’m thinking maybe they have a point. Romance is romance, but a lot of romance readers are into historical and the likes of Loretta Chase and Lisa Kleypas. That fantasy is whoo-big different from relating to a contemp with a black chick. How can you go from making the jump from aristocratic inevitably wealthy English rake kicking hordes of bad dark native ass (hey, the only Chase I finished was Mr. Impossible) to some regular U.S black dude? I can kinda see your pain.

    But I think more black authors are attempting to reach out over to the romance aisle and sending ARCs to this site and others such as AAR. It’s a good thing.

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  52. Shiloh Walker
    May 21, 2008 @ 19:55:08

    Not to be irreverent, but I'm thinking maybe they have a point. Romance is romance, but a lot of romance readers are into historical and the likes of Loretta Chase and Lisa Kleypas.

    Actually, Monica, I think the call for contemp is getting pretty loud. I’m seeing more and more readers comment about how they want just a straight, normal contemp, more romantic suspense, etc. I’m big on an urban fantasy kick right now, but when I’m reading romance lately, I’m wanting contemp & suspense, too.

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  53. Meriam
    May 21, 2008 @ 19:56:57

    How can you go from making the jump from aristocratic inevitably wealthy English rake kicking hordes of bad dark native ass (hey, the only Chase I finished was Mr. Impossible) to some regular U.S black dude?

    Heh, I hated Mr Impossible, pretty much for that reason. I think Reader I Married HIm is going to do an analysis of that, As you Desire and The Duke of Shadows re: romance and colonialism. I’m very much looking forward to it.

    (Sorry, off-topic.)

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  54. roslynholcomb
    May 21, 2008 @ 20:24:23

    Sorry I missed this discussion. Just moved. Had two closings in four days and have been unplugged since the 8th. (Which is probably a good thing, considering that I’m absolutely exhausted.)

    Other people have more or less said what I would say. Not to mention I don’t have much to add after my long diatribe at SB. I really don’t have a solution to this dilemma. I’m such a promotions whore I’ll send my book to anyone and, attend the opening of an envelope.

    Which reminds me, Loose-Id just bought my most recent manuscript, Try A Little Tenderness. With any luck, it’ll be out in August.

    I respect and understand the views of many authors and readers who wish to be niched. After so many decades of wandering in the ‘black people don’t read’ desert, I understand why they’d be leery of taking such a leap.

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  55. Phyl
    May 21, 2008 @ 20:41:18

    a lot of romance readers are into historical and the likes of Loretta Chase and Lisa Kleypas. That fantasy is whoo-big different from relating to a contemp with a black chick.

    Maybe so, but they’re both outside my own experience and so I never expect to relate to them. I find that both historicals and contemporaries have the ability to expand my world. Or they simply entertain me. It’s all good.

    Most of what I choose to read is the direct result of someone on a site like this mentioning an author or title they liked. I’ve read Beverly Jenkins and Adrianne Byrd thanks to online recs. And now, because of recent discussions, I have several new books by other AA authors in my TBR pile.

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  56. Seressia Glass: Blog Me » Blog Archive » The Next Thing
    May 22, 2008 @ 02:05:37

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