Thursday, June 29, 2006

Three's a Charm

I usually don't post three times in one day, but I lost a bet, and here's how the evil winner is making me pay up...
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Date: 2006-06-13, 4:43PM EDT

Publishers Weekly, the international news magazine of book publishing and bookselling, seeks book reviewers with expertise in the following categories of fiction:

Historical Romance
Romantic Suspense
African-American Commercial Fiction
Street Lit
Chick Lit
Family sagas

Please send a short e-mail query that states qualifications and any relevant publications. Please paste your resume at the bottom of the message. The e-mail address is:

pwreviewers@reedbusiness.com

Do not attach anything. Messages with attachments will be deleted. Thank you.
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By the way, please note that this was posted courteously and politely, without any smart-ass remarks from me like African-American what??? or excuse me, I have to go wash my blog out with soap now.
Thank you.

18 comments:

  1. I wonder who the person you lost the bet to is, PBW.

    I could really learn from this person. ROFL.

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  2. African-American Commercial Fiction? What's that? *blinks confused* Is there also African-American non-Commercial Fiction?

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  3. African American commercial fiction

    See! Ah tol' y'all so.

    Yep, yep, I believe I did.

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  4. i'm kinda confused about the commericial fiction part too...

    and uh... what's street lit?

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  5. African American commercial fiction is any commercial fiction written by a black author.

    White authors who write black characters, such as Michael Gruber or James Patterson do not have to reside in this category. Even if all their characters are black or most of them, they are still considered mainstream. For They Are White.

    Eric Jerome Dickey, Zane, any of those cartoon or garish colored trades, Kimberla Lawson Roby, E. Lynn Harris, Terry McMillan, Lolita Files and many more write AA commercial fiction.

    No high concept stuff, just drama and soap opera relationship angst mainly.

    Mystery and other genres by black authors are shoved in AA commerical fiction too (to be marketed ONLY to black readers), but they don't do as well since the audience is limited. Soap opera relationship books is the key to success here (gag).

    Street lit is books that take place in the hood. They are basically variation of the soap operas and are usually morality tales but with lots of cussin', sex and horrendous grammar. Guns, drugs, hoes, gangstas, and a ghetto setting are required. I don't see how a PW reviewer could write a street lit review without using the term muthafucka at least a few times.

    The best of the genre is The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah.

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  6. Thanks, Monica, for the description. From looking at the reviewers' shelf at the newspaper, I knew AA-comm fic existed, but couldn't explain it nearly as well as you did.

    Besides, I would hate to have missed this: "I don't see how a PW reviewer could write a street lit review without using the term muthafucka at least a few times."

    Very funny. And true.

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  7. thanks for the explanation, monica... I still dont undertand why they feel the need to slap commercial in there unless it's just solely to differentiate whether or not the author who wrote it was black.

    Seems the story/genre should be the deciding factor. Sheesh.

    You'd think they'd shelf mystery with mystery, romance with romance, suspense with suspense, regardless of the character's race, the author's race, etc...

    ugh. the publishing industry can make my head hurt.

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  8. Milady wrote: I could really learn from this person. ROFL.

    She's the inspiration for The Devil Wears Prada, I believe. And it is pretty funny, or will be, when I finish breaking out in hives. But one must never welsh on a bet, not matter how painful paying up is. :)

    Monica wrote: See! Ah tol' y'all so. Yep, yep, I believe I did.

    I'm surprised they didn't call it Fine Back of the Bus Fiction. Note to PW: That was not a suggestion.

    Thanks for your comments, Monica -- much appreciated.

    Bill wrote: Besides, I would hate to have missed this: "I don't see how a PW reviewer could write a street lit review without using the term muthafucka at least a few times."

    Yeah, I'm saving that one in the Gems file, too.

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  9. >African-American non-Commercial Fiction

    AA LITERARY fiction.

    If I were black, I'd never, ever let my publisher know... Otherwise, I'd likely get stuck writing about Black Issues the rest of my career and would always be judged in that context.

    Southern women are no longer stuck in the regionist/local color box, but black authors are still told often what they should be writing. And not always from white editors/publishing houses, either.

    That being said, I'm glad I wasn't subbing mss when Amy Tan was making a big splash. With my (real) last name, I'm sure someone would have asked me why I didn't write Asian-oriented books instead...

    Pffftth on all that.

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  10. >>I don't see how a PW reviewer could write a street lit review without using the term muthafucka at least a few times.

    *HOwling* I choked on my bread.

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  11. I hate the idea of an AA commercial niche reviewer because every frickin' thing gets thrown in there.

    White people get to have their books separated according to content and sent to reviewers who have knowledge and expertise in that particular genre.

    All an AA commercial reviewer needs is a tolerance for reading books written by Negros. Horror, thrillers, lit fic, historical romance, hard boiled detective mystery, chick lit inspirational romance, erotica, they get to review it.

    Hate romances? Who cares? Don't relate to inspirational? Tough. Mysteries scare you? What's the difference?

    A Negro wrote all this crap. So it's all the same. Review it!

    Romantic Times does the same things within the romance genre. White writers get reviewers who prefer that genre and are familiar with it. The majority of black authors, unless they accidentally slip through to another category such as suspense, get the Negro Tolerant Reviewers--they get reviewed without regard to content.

    Nobody complains though. Most blacks folks will start mumbling about negativity if you mention it.

    I think it's a vestige of slave mentality. If you complained in public, even to your fellow slaves, the Massa might whip you, sell you or your kids. So we suck it up.

    But I don't care. I think it's UNFAIR and RACIST that so-called commercial fiction doesn't get reviewed by content, but rather by the color of the author's skin.

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  12. >>But I don't care. I think it's UNFAIR and RACIST that so-called commercial fiction doesn't get reviewed by content, but rather by the color of the author's skin.

    I think it's ridiculous, too. I have wondered, though... How do the publishers know WHAT race the author is (minus giveaway names), unless they guess when 90% of the characters are of a minority group? I mean, it's not like you send in your photo or anything... Do authors willingly submit to racially-differentiated lines? Do they write in their queries, "I have a black/latino/whatever book"? If so, well, WHY? (Not trying to incite the wrath of Monica, here! I really am genuinely curious.)

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  13. The wrath of Monica. I like that. Proper respect there. Heh.

    A novel with black protags will be handled as an AA novel (check out S&S or the other big pubs for their special sections for their black authored novels. It's really important when submitting a book that it's labeled correctly. When you write a mystery, you say it's a mystery. You don't say it's anything else if you're interested in selling it.


    If a novel is submitted with black characters by a white author, don't they make Damn sure everybody knows that THEY are white not black, and thus don't belong with those books?

    Doesn't a white author take pains to say why they wrote this book with blacks in it, yada, yada. Then it automatically goes into the mainstream section. White authors don't go into the AA section.

    An author will be assumed black if they write black characters, unless they or their agent specifies upfront how Not Black they are.

    And they do.

    I think people know at some level, even an unconscious one, the ramifications of being considered black in this society.

    How did Sue Monk Kidd get considered Not Black? Just curious.

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  14. Oh, and the BET Arabesque line that Harlequin just bought (black romance is a strictly segregated genre), doesn't allow white authors to write for them, (unless they lie about it, I suppose). It used to be in the guidelines. (I haven't looked at their new ones).

    What's funny is that when whites read black romances, they usually are aghast that they are no different from the white romances, given the pains taken to segregate them.

    If I wanted to write a book with white characters and ensure I get treated as well as a white author (not asked to change my character's race or marginalized). I'd have to sidestep the fact I'm black--in other words, make sure the editor/publisher thinks I'm white.

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  15. Am I the only person who thought "hmm, that would be a great job!"?

    I hope this isn't a joke, PBW, because I just sent them my resume.

    I agree with all the commentary about marginalizing black writers, it's unfair. But maybe someone (me!) can fix it from the inside.

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  16. Ugh. Then I think I'd definitely have to maintain a 50% not-black ratio for my first book, so it wouldn't get marginalized...

    And I remember the furor between you and LLB on her review of one of your books! I originally thought "multicultural romance" meant cross-racial relationships. You know, MULTIcultural. What a strange euphemism...

    I grew up in a heavily Hispanic town, and I was really active in the Spanish club and Hispanic Youth Promoting Education (got funny looks when we went of field trips!) and volunteered with ESL classes and so forth. When I wrote a piece of Hispanic-oriented lit fic with a non-Hispanic last name, I got a lot of raised eyebrow from the literary magazines--I was telling the story of some of my friends and neighbors growing up, but you know, I just didn't have the right because I wasn't Hispanic enough. But heck, for all they know, I could be Argentinian! *rolls eyes* I wonder what the reaction wold have been if the piece were, oh, Jewish or Greek-oriented or something like that instead.

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  17. Cinday wrote: I hope this isn't a joke, PBW, because I just sent them my resume.

    It's 100% real deal. I might joke about reviewers, but I would never post fake stuff about writing jobs. I promise.

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