Author and co-founder of The Brown Bookshelf, Paula Chase-Hyman, moderates a virtual roundtable discussion between other members of The Brown Bookshelf. Panelists include co-founder Varian Johnson, Kelly Starling Lyons, Carla Sarratt, and myself, Don Tate. Check out the discussion over at Blogging In Black, where we discuss children’s literature as it pertains to African-American authors today, and in the future.
Here's my answer to one of the questions:
Q: Of 5,000 children’s books published in ‘06, only about 100 were by African Americans. But of that 100, most people can name maybe three. Why are the rest going virtually unnoticed?
Don: This is strictly a guess, but I’d say, in general, publishers aren’t investing much in promoting authors period — any authors, regardless of race. More often, authors are expected to promote their own books. Your work is not done once a contract is signed. A book sale represents a new beginning. The next phase is promoting/marketing, and for a new or not-so-well-known author, that responsibility may fall mostly on their shoulders.
All that said, publishers do promote some authors — celebrities, well knowns with a proven track record, those who have won prestigious, bankable, awards. The problem is, the black, not-too-well-known, author is at the bottom of the marketing totem pole, probably far behind the unknown white author.
Check out the rest of the discussion at Blogging In Black!
Also, over at The Brown Bookshelf, I'm giving away one of my signed copies of Jerry Pinkney's Little Red Riding Hood. All you gotta do is post a comment to any one of our blog posts this week, before Monday, November 11. Pass the word!