Let me just begin by saying that I started this year with absolutely zero intentions of creating this blog. I did, however, begin this year with a strong desire to do better than I had in previous years when it came to my reading choices. The more I began to want to read stories by black authors featuring black main characters, the more I realized I had better put my money where my mouth was.
How could I expect my local bookstore to carry books that I was not certain that I would buy? How is it possible to be outraged that the New York Times has a history of systemically shutting black authors out of the opportunity to be featured in reviews when I am, myself, not reviewing the work of black authors exclusively? I could not make it make sense.
Until I put my dollars and common sense behind changing myself. To give myself some wiggle room I decided that I didn’t have to only buy black crime fiction- any genre would do as long as it was by a black author with a black main character.
Needless to say it was worth a shot! It did not mean I would not be able to read books by non-black authors; it simply meant that I would obtain those books from my Library. As things unfolded with a racially charged news cycle, particularly the worldwide coverage of the horrific abuse inflicted upon Black Americans, I came to realize that I had made the best decision.
You see, the tiny bit of financial support I have offered to black authors by paying for their books may not go a long way (or even a short way for what it’s worth) but if more people collectively committed to supporting black writers financially then it would actually make a difference in their lives. If we do not exist in art then in many ways we will not exist in history. Black writers need our support and major publishers need to have their feet held to the fire.
And I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting them this year 🙂
I have never felt bored. I have never felt as if I was missing out. I have never actually considered quitting the challenge that I made to myself. This is a decision that I will never regret.
This summer black authors watched as major publishers released statements supporting Black Lives Matter and petitioned black authors to submit their manuscripts without agents. This can, and will, become a thing of the past. A distant memory in the constant news cycle with no action behind it in order to ensure that black writers are paid what they are worth.
Do not let it happen. Please purchase black books whenever and however you can.
I certainly will.