Black [Romance] Writers Matter

First things first! Thank you to the 499 Goodreads readers who entered to win one of the 100 copies of my e-book giveaway. I ask you to read, review, and recommend to friends and family.

Black [Romance] Writers Matter

I wrote an article titled, Hello White Privilege, It's Me, A Black Romance Writer  in which I discuss the difficulties of breaking into the traditional literary industry for writers of color. I mentioned my article because it appears in our post George Floyd era; all industries are under scrutiny for the systemic practices of racism and how those practices have kept Black people from being successful in their chosen fields.

Of course, I had to look and see if the publishing industry had come under the all-seeing eye of Twitter. And guess what? Twitter is always watching and of course, there's already a trending hashtag.

I found a tweet that pretty much sums up what Black writers have know forever, but it's only now that Black Lives [&Writers] Matter--to those who have greatly benefited from the privilege of being white--feel #ashamed and want things to improve, that the industries are taking notice of their discriminatory practices.

I'm Not Bitter... Really.

I saw this tweet under #PublishingPaidMe and it spoke to the heart of the problem most writers of color experience when attempting to become a part of the traditional literary machine; the broken cog. Especially Black romance writers who refuse to do the whole interracial/biracial/Asian/anything other than Black male lead characters.
The first time I decided to query literary agents, I made sure all my Ts were crossed and my Is were dotted. I knew my manuscript was amazing and would resonate with any audience regardless of race, sexual orientation, pronoun, or level of kink. 😈 However, after the tenth rejection letter saying everything from; 'I don't think your writing style is a fit for our agency.' to 'I don't know that many readers can connect with your characters.'.

It became painfully clear to me that I was either going to have to make my leading man a mulatto or make him white and possibly turn my heroine into some racially ambiguous woman if I was going to get an agent to read and connect with my work.

But I was like, fuck that! If the literary agents couldn't connect with my characters it's because they can't get pass the ebony color of their skin. My writing style is decidedly upmarket with a dark, erotic mystique just for shits and giggles.

Then something else dawned on me. Really, it felt like an entire building had fallen on my head. SPLAT!

It's not that the agents couldn't connect with my characters or their story; it's that they can't see a Black man loving a Black woman the way Jonathan R. Ellis loves Vivian A. Ellis. They can't connect with the story of Black Love and the crazy inexplicable Magic that can only be created between a Black man and Black woman.

There are not enough images of powerful Black Love to make the truth of its existence a reality for white people. They are willing to accept a Black man with a white or racially ambiguous woman and fall in love with their love story. Why? Kanye and Kim... am I right? White American women are used to seeing Black men treat every other race of women like queens except for Black women. 

How aer Black romance writers who write for the sole purpose of exploring Black-Love-Magic supposed to get a foot in the door if literary agents and editors in publishing houses don't believe that Black-Love-Magic [B-L-M] exists?

Let me be clear. I write with the intention of educating those who don't understand the beauty and necessity of B-L-M to the survival and cultural sustainability of Black people. I'm not targeting Black readers, although I love when anyone reads my work and connects with it; however, I want that targeted demographic for romance novels to read my books for three important reasons.

  1. They will finally see the Black man as a whole, complex individual and not a caricature shaped and molded by centuries of oppressive systemic racism.
  2. They will raise their children with the knowledge that Black men are more than athletes, rappers, and drug dealers. They will tell their husbands that their jokes aren't funny and won't be tolerated.
  3. They will talk with their friends and tell them all about my books and how it opened their eyes to how full and dynamic Black men really are and insist that there's more to appreciate about them than their large🍆s
If anything comes out of this  kum-ba-yah moment in America, I hope the tears of white women will motivate the publishing industry to get their heads out of their asses and truly become the inclusive, equitable, powerhouses they claim to be. I hope literary agents stop being so subjective in their decisions to work with writers of color, particularly in the genre of romance. Your vague reason of no connection is bullshit and you know it. Finally, I hope that all those women who claim to love romance will start reading more diverse books with more diverse lead characters; let's catapult a Black romance writer who can actually write into the soccer-mommy-porn-stratosphere! 

Remember, writing is a journey, we all have to take our own path to get to where we're going. You can only live one enchanted moment at a time. Until next time; be brave, be beautiful, and stay enchanting.


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