Monday, October 30, 2006

Shame on Genesis Press

Back in September, Publishers Weekly did a story about Genesis Press and their authors. They aren't paying them, not even providing them with royalty statements. The writers began to spread the word and complain, and now this underhanded joke of a publishing house is suing them for slander/libel! Outrageous. I heard about this via Monica Jackson.

I think the writers should countersue. Their suit is unfounded. It's not slander if it's the truth. Shame on Genesis Press. It's also a shame the players in this scandal aren't "mainstream" enough to warrant the outrage of all in the literary set.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Authors Like Me

There's an excellent essay up over at Romancing the Blog. Go over and check it out. It's important that everyone joins in the discussion and starts one of their own.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Wicked Witch of Publishing

I had to chime in with Monica Jackson's views.

This is the face of every day white racism. Well, it's the perfect representative.

Lynne W. Scanlon calls herself a witch, and for good reason. I've been following the mini-whirlwind of comments on her post about the "nigger treatment" of AA authors in publishing practices. What an outrage! Ms. Scanlon feels that Millenia Black should be scolded for taking umbrage about the bookstore incident, and further, for some "unspoken" reason, she's VERY, VERY, VERY skeptical of Millenia's claim to be taking her publisher to court. Why the immediate skepticism? Why on Earth would an author make the claims Millenia's made just to call attention to herself? If attention was her MO, there's at least a hundred different ways she could've attempted it WITHOUT pissing off her publisher......or didn't Ms. Scanlon (who's wont has always been questionable anyway) and her posse of skeptics bother to reason that far? If Millenia's side of the story is indeed true, didn't discrimination on the basis of race take place?? And isn't that WRONG in the US? Should we ALL be against that?

So again, the knee-jerk skepticism? Racial put downs at their best. Would this groundless disbelief---and need to prove her to be an attention-hungry liar of some sort---be there if Millenia were a white Jew and this were a case of a Jewish writer's claims?

I seriously doubt that it would.

I seriously doubt that Scanlon, or anyone else, would be stringing up the oak tree, preparing for a good old-fashioned lynching. Doggedly determined to prove this "uppidy nigger" as nothing more than a trouble maker, trying to make white folks look bad!

Once people refuse to part with their sense of entitlement to superiority, it's hopeless to make them see reason. They are unwilling to place themselves in the other person's skin. Even worse, and as Scanlon has illustrated, they will go to great lengths to maintain their position. Like moderate blog comments for the purpose of self-serving censorship. Or intentionally manipulating, distorting, and ignoring certain facts. Sure, some transparent attempts at appearing objective are made,

Things like this sicken me. Can you tell? I live this shit everyday. With my own editors, publishers, publicists, copyeditors, marketing consultants, you name it. Practically everybody in the business. This is exactly what black writers are up against. Publishing suits---and their cuff links---who believe it's justifiable to take a book about one subject and niche it in a completely unrelated one with nothing to support it being place there except the race of the author.

Where is Scanlon's broom? Someone should trek over to East Hampton and beat her over the head with it. Hard.

Monday, October 09, 2006

From the Publishing House To the Court House

The Millenia Black saga is apparently anything but over. The latest turn of events? She's suing her publisher, which for those who may not know, is Penguin/NAL.

Of course, this lawsuit is no real surprise. We all know the rules and we've all played by them until now so no black author's ever sued their publisher for being treated like a "black author"......but wouldn't it be nice to have the freedom to write without that goddamn race monkey on your back? Wouldn't it be wonderful if an author was just an author?

I know this has been a very divisive topic. I've seen the comments and statements. A lot of black writers resent Millenia for not representing the so-called "black experience" in her work, but the bottom line is this: your skin color doesn't automatically mean you'll have a certain outlook on life. It doesn't automatically mean you will share the same "experience" as everyone else of that race.

Every writer should have the right to their own artistic expressions. If Millenia decides that she wants her work to be free of racial barriers so it can be commercially marketable, that decision should be supported, because too much has been lost in the name of attaining that type of freedom. Who are we to try and take it from her? To condemn her, openly or not, for her artistic choices? That makes us just as guilty as the publishers who see no problem with keeping black writers suppressed because we're AA, boxed into writing and selling to other AA's, and not good for much else.

I'll be following this very closely. Now that the horse is out of the gate, we all know the importance of this action. If Millenia wins, it just may mean that authors get to be authors; seen as the actual genre they write, not their race. But if she loses......well, let's just say that publishers will then likely have the legal right to force all black authors to write only for a black audience forever and ever.

I, for one, pray she doesn't lose.

Update 10/10/06: Monica Jackson has an excellent view. All authors should openly support Millenia's effort. She is clearly sacrificing a lot to take this stand, very likely giving up any chance at a successful career as an author. She's doing it for the benefit of all non-white authors, so we can all have the right to write in any genre we want, without fear of it being labeled by our race.

I disagree with Monica on one point. I don't think if she wins it could prompt publishers to abandon the niche. Why would they do that? This is about mis-classifying manuscripts, not getting rid of the books that truly belong there.

To those who don't support this effort, think of what it means......should all of Tess Gerritsen's work be classified as Asian-American Fiction and dressed up with Asian-looking models?