I have a giveaway going on over at my blog trying to draw attention to books with black main characters or with black characters on the cover. I feel they don't get the support they need. They often don't even get recognized or published by the big companies. The prime example I think is the book Liar by Justine Larabelestier. She wrote a book about a black girl who was a compulsive liar, but when Bloomsbury published it, they put a black girl on the cover believing that books with blacks on the cover do not sell. If it is true that black books don't sell, it is because they do not get the marketing that other books do. I think a white book that isn't marketed properly will sell just as poorly.
Anyway, stop by my blog and enter to win $50 in books from Amazon. If you have a blog, you can join the hop and offer up a book for the giveaway. I currently only have 6 blogs signed up and I'd like to get more people involved. Even if you have no interest, feel free to leave me suggestions for books to add to my list.
Did you mean Bloomsbury put a white girl on the cover intially? That was my recollection and the backlash was far and wide but I don't recall them admitting to any wrong doing. The story was about a black girl. I do believe a lot of good books with black themes or characters are passed over unless the reading public has been made aware that a white author has written it. Unfortunately, the majority of readers pass over books written by black writers. I have also heard black writers say that they have been at conferences such BEA or RWA and black readers pass right by them without so much as hello; in fact act as if they are invisible and go coco for Coco Puffs over the white author next to them. Such is the self-hate that exists in some of our race.
On the subject of book covers though. I cannot count how many times I have had the conversation wiht my book club, my online book group, other authors and black readers about the appearance of some our book covers. I haven't see it lately in the large bookstores like B&N that I go to, but up until aobut two years ago, I got squeamish when I walked into one of these store and was greeted front and center with covers of half-naked catoonish characters or staged photos of a gun-toting man or woman decked out in bling bling. I thought, now this is what is being represented as black literature. Those covers are a definite turnoff. Who knows, I might be overlooking some decent Street/Urban Lit but for the covers? But they evidently sell to the right audience it is intended for. I have heard people say they either take the cover off or put a cover over it because they are embarrassed to be seen in public reading them. I did get a couple of those for review but I didn't carry them with me. LOL
I went to Jacqueline Luckett's reading last week for Passing Love (great book) and thee is a woman on the cover with top half of body cut off. It is deliberate that you cannot tell the race by her arm. Her publisher is seeing to it she doesn't miss out on any sales by leaving you guessing. Jackie had crossover appeal with her first novel and they are trying to keep the momentum going. A friend of mine who self-publishes heroine's ethnicty on the cover is questionable. Some black authors want to have a scene or inanimate object on the cover but most who are published by traditional publishers don't have much say. And then there are those like Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley who I saw at an event three weeks ago who have black characters on their books who say they write for black readers and if others want to read fine, but they are not holding their breaths waiting for white readers to validate them because we, as black authors and readers, read white writers regularly.
I so agree with you. And yes, Bloomsbury eventually changed the cover of Liar, but even the initial gall of them to put a white girl on the cover is ridiculous.
This whole thing is so sad and should be a nonissue. I regularly read white books but it doesn't go the other way around. And since the majority of book buyers are white, publishers are going to target where the money is. I totally understand putting inanimate objects and such on book covers so that it gets crossover appeal. It's just sad that we have to do that. I try to put a black and a white person on all of my covers and try to appeal to as many people as possible.