All the display tables and shelving at the ends of aisles in places like Barnes and Noble and Chapters are hot property, and publishers pay handsomely to display their books there--bookstore placement is a big commodity.
... (snipped) However with social media, blogs, fb, twitter etc and the ability to self publish there is nothing stopping someone from publishing. Gone are the days you need an agent and are dependent on large publishing houses. Maybe if there is a large social presence gobbling these books up online they'll see a market, even if its a niche market and things will change.
So that means publishers then are willing to pay for a white author to display but not a PoC. That is a problem. However the publisher also wants to make money so I'm guessing they only put out books they figure will sell well but how do they know a PoC novel won't sell well if they don't give it a chance and promote it. I can see why this would be frustrating for authors who are in a minority group. However with social media, blogs, fb, twitter etc and the ability to self publish there is nothing stopping someone from publishing. Gone are the days you need an agent and are dependent on large publishing houses. Maybe if there is a large social presence gobbling these books up online they'll see a market, even if its a niche market and things will change.
Added: I know self-published POC writers who have fought to be noticed for years in the agency/Big Five system, and they're fuming over the new 'diversity' guidelines from both. Because they know it's largely a smokescreen, and even if it's well-meant, likely to change little. For every POC writer who wins mainstream awards and NYT articles, there are hundreds just quietly going self-pub.
I never wanted to self-publish, for various reasons, and I am resentful of the fact that I now feel I have no choice but to self-publish. It is frustrating.
Some PoC have done well with self-publishing, but I think many publishers just aren't paying attention.
I don't think self publishing should be seen as negative, there should be no stigma attached to it. I understand why someone might want an agent and go the traditional publishing route however if the only thing stopping them from self publishing because they think it's "lesser than" I think they should think again. The more I look at all the options out there the more I love the idea of self publishing(with paying out of pocket for a professional edit), I like the idea of having 100% control over my cover, title and retaining larger royalties, but I love the idea of having an agent and having someone going to bat for me. So think there are many pros to both.
“It felt very awkward to us to hand out lists of our authors, and they were only concentrated on people-of-color diversity, which we thought was limiting
I love that self-publishing exists, but I never wanted to do it myself because of the upfront costs (I have essentially no income right now) and because I think it could be disastrous for my mental health. However, I now feel that it is the only choice for the things I want to write.
It is unfortunate that many POC don't really have all the options available to them, even if they are good writers. They should have as many opportunities as white writers, but often they do not.
I don't think self publishing should be seen as negative, there should be no stigma attached to it.
I understand why someone might want an agent and go the traditional publishing route however if the only thing stopping them from self publishing because they think it's "lesser than"
I think there is less of a stigma than there once was, but it's still there. It's inevitable when there's no gatekeeper and a reader has to sift through shoddily written and published books to find the professional-quality ones. Many of us don't bother and stick with trade-published works, unless a self-published author comes highly recommended. Even so, there's a lot of chaff, but it's much easier to find these books.
I'm obviously clueless to Self Publishing. I didn't realize its expensive. I figured it would cost money for the cover and possibly a professional edit. Are there other costs I'm not aware of?
It can vary pretty dramatically, TBH. There was an article not long ago where a company figured out how much self-pubbed books cost, and I found their numbers to be astronomically high.
It really depends on how much of the legwork you do yourself, and who you hire for everything else. For me, the only costs are my editors, so anywhere from $200-3,000 depending on how big the book is and how much I want to invest.
Your labor and time have value too though.
Thanks so much for the tips. I never thought about creating my own cover....I'm very artistic so I would love to learn how to do that. I prefer very simple covers. I love Emily Giffins cover and she's super simple. I will have to look further into what I need to make my own cover. Is it a program I have to buy? So much to think about. But that's the exciting fun part, I can't imagine turning over control of my cover to a publisher, I would love to work WITH one but not lose that final say.
I don't want to derail too much, so PM or email me (username at gmail) if you want more info, but... I use PhotoShop for my covers and MS Word for my formatting (I would use Vellum but it's not available for PC). And I'm with you on simple covers -- clear, readable text, and images that aren't too busy/cluttered.