That question probably raised a few eyebrows–if so, it did what it was intended to do. This is a short blog here. I happened to be on a publisher’s website, and I was browsing through the categories, and overall, there were about 16 categories on the side, and there was one: AFRICAN AMERICAN. In general, most AA books fell under the AA category. Many of these books fall into the other categories, but because of the author’s color or because of the main characters’ colors, or a combination of both, or a combination of both and other factors, the books are separate and not equal.

This is definitely not to point a finger at this one publishing house because all houses do it and most bookstores do it, too. As a black writer who is trying to market her work to the masses, it’s disheartening to see that we need this label because ultimately, whether people will say it or not, by placing these books within one category, we are saying that they only fit THIS category and that, overall, only these people, in this case African Americans, will read the works. There are, of course, exceptions. Other races do read AA fiction; however, this pigeonholing into a section seems to hurt writers and their sales more than help them.

If you have a thought…leave it. I’ll pick it up and return it to you. 🙂

2 comments

  1. my initial books were read by white readers and in the beginning it felt strange. I even got a call once from an AA bookclub and she said your book was so good, but we usually only support black writers. (That was news to me since I thought i was black, LOL and the book had an black woman and a Hispanic man.)

    In any case, when they started to heavily promote the AA series for publishers I now feel strange even trying to submit my work for that because I’ve crossed over.

    I know from all the reviews I receive that my work can be read by whatever race and be very much enjoyed.

    You’re right, it does hinder sales.

  2. Great post, and great question.

    I, myself, have never had a problem with the “African-American Fiction” classification. It’s the classification by author race, as opposed to book content, that presents the disparate opportunities.

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