It’s almost the end of the week, I was about to say the end of the workweek but so many people have jobs that span all seven days now. Anyway, so much stuff popped up in my surfing forays, RSS feeds, etc. that I have an abundance, so here’s a batch to get us started.
If you’re on Twitter you’ve probably already seen this first one, and I posted it on GR, but it’s worth posting over and over because it’s so good and so different from the tee-hee-romance-genre stories we tend to get.
The Guardian published longread on the state of diversity in the romance genre (just ignore the 50-shades headline, Guardian headline writers are the worst sometimes). The reporter talked to a lot of people and I appreciate that she went and talked to writers in state chapters, rather than just doing the usual email and phone interviews of the names we all see over and over again in stories about the industry. There are lots of fascinating and depressing nuggets of information, including this eye-opening one about Harlequin’s treatment of a Suzanne Brockmann novel:
Marketing black love stories to black women was one thing, but publishers remained sceptical about the idea that white readers would read those same stories. In the late 1990s, Suzanne Brockmann, a white author writing a sequence of Harlequin romances about sexy Navy Seals, decided that she wanted to make a black character the hero of her next book. It was, she admits now, something of a “white saviour” move. Brockmann’s thinking, she told me, was that Harlequin simply didn’t realise the commercial opportunity it was missing by not printing more black romances.
Harlequin published Brockmann’s book in 1998, but she was shocked by the way the company dealt with its publication. She recalled her publisher saying: “You will make half the money because we will print half the copies. We cannot send it to our subscription list.” It was the same argument Harlequin had made 14 years earlier: “We’ll get angry letters.” It wasn’t just black characters that Harlequin rejected, according to Brockmann. She said she was also told they would not publish a novel with an Asian American as the central character. (Brockmann later moved on to another publisher.)
And this paragraph made my stomach clench:Read the rest of this entry »