Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I Don't Read Those Types of Books

"I don't read those types of books"

Last Saturday, that was the comment that was haphazardly tossed my way at my first book signing in over two years at a Border's bookstore.

Welcome to the world of the crude and insensitive. Let me dig around in my bag for my thick skin and put it back on.


I simply smiled, gave her the 100-watt version, tossed it back in the African American woman's direction and said, "Okay, thank you. Have a nice day."

As she made her way to the discount bin and non African-American sections of the store, in my mind, I was thinking, "Exactly what kind of books do you not read and since you haven't picked up mine, haven't come within 20 feet, how can you positively classify, Diary of a Stalker, in that category.

Don't get me wrong and misconstrue my message, I wasn't upset. . . wouldn't waste my precious energy on such trivia nonsense, but I was curious as to how she could make such a broad, all-encompassing statement without any information whatsoever on which to base it.

After hurt feelings (Pisces trait) many years ago, I accepted the fact that everyone wasn't going to love or even like what I penned and that's cool. . . I respect that. Believe me when I say, my world doesn't come tumbling down. However, on the flip side, I have many adoring fans that embrace my novels; I write for them.

I pen drama filled, fast paced, racy, relationship-based stories with underlying messages that appeal to women overall. I graciously accept the title as a women's fiction author. However, I am not who or what I write and I make no excuses for my storylines. I simply know I am a writer. I do what writers do; I create intriguing storylines that stem from my vivid imagination. . . and then I release them to the world. There is always a choice for the reader and always for the writer, an audience that may or may not embrace their body of work.

Y'all know I share the good, the bad and the ugly side of the literary industry. So here are my thoughts:

Basically, I found it ignorant for an African American female, or anyone for that matter, to classify all AA books in one category based upon glancing for three seconds, across the room, at a book cover. She wasn't aware of the storyline, the message, how well written or any details to back up her condescending statement or attitude.

Simply: I don't read those types of books

Yet this is the same African American consumer who will stroll two aisles down, pick up a Stephen King or Jackie Collins novel and support them wholeheartedly with her consumer dollars. Again, I know that is her prerogative. But I'm just saying. . .

Lesson: We all have choices, but lets have the facts first.

Side note: Within an hour and a half, I went on to sell out all copies of Diary of a Stalker in the store. Somebody reads those types of books:)

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Blogger Chick Lit Gurrl said...

Not surprised by this. Hell, even I--to a certain degree--have played the role of that consumer. When I see what's counted as the creme de la creme of AA fiction sometimes, it makes me want to veer away from it all. I have to consciously keep telling myself, "It's not all bad. It's not all the same thing." And III know better as someone who's been in the industry and who edits a lot of these books. And I still get that way. So I can only imagine what our typical reader, with no interest in the industry outside of reading, would say or think.

And you think about the long-term training of brains to see a King or a Collins as "better" than AA fiction. It didn't happen overnight.

And then add the adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Well, true, but we all know we all do it. Especially in our industry - which is why cover design and even the title of a work is important. There are certain words that when I see them in a title, I'm like, "Lord, I don't even WANT to know what that book's about" because I've seen that type of title 50 million times on books that weren't that good.

Sorry to have written a book here, but you wrote on a good topic!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010  
Anonymous Shelia G said...

I've seen the same thing happen at conferences. It's happened to me. Don't know what the resolution is. To anyone like that I would say do not always judge a book by its cover. People have passed up gems because they assume the wrong thing. I can understand if someone reads the back cover and then tells me the book doesn't sound like something they want to read--but not because of assumptions because I'm Black.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010  
Anonymous Abbieoftheville said...

Well, I read those types of books. I also read the other types too. I would never box myself in by limiting my reading experience. And for the record, I just finished reading "Diary of a Stalker" and it is FABULOUS. So, the person who doesn't read "those types of books" has missed out on an excellent literary experience.

Friday, February 05, 2010  

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