A lot of publishers don’t know how to market to Black readers, and it shows.
What I mean by this: publishers don’t know where to place ads, who to reach out to for articles, excerpts, or interviews, where to focus media coverage on a local, regional, or national level. How to talk to those readers, how to pique and maintain their interests.
They don’t know what events matter to those readers, what cultural touchstones to take it vantage of, how fandom behaves when rooted in Blackness and Black culture. They can’t be bothered to learn, and then won’t hire anyone who could provide that insight.
And the kicker—besides the racism and anti-Blackness—is the fact that Black women and girls are the largest reading demographic, and we have been for some time. I mention this often because publishing likes to tell (lie to) itself that they make the decisions they do because of
“marketing,” but if that was the case and not the aforementioned racism, they’d been working overtime to court the largest reading demographic, and things would look MUCH different. Just saying.
So, this goes to show how racism itself can often times win out over making money. Imagine seeing the potential for millions of not billions in profit then saying nah, because Black people.
Side note, this is why you will often see a lot of Black authors with sales bumps via their own marketing or online presence, because of that insight thing I was talking about. I need publishers to start listening to and working with Black authors more in things that are
considered outside of the traditional marketing norms. You’re publishing books outside of your usual scope, just by the racist nature of the beast. You really think the same old same old will work? We know what to do. Listen to us. This goes for Black editors and other pros, too.
Listen to them. Don’t just have them in the meetings only to talk over them.
And it should go without saying that I’m talking about ALL Black books, since y’all have an obsession with books about Black pain and have NO trouble marketing those. But let me not.