Dear Romance Community,
Recently some painful truths have come out about the publishing industry’s perception of our value and how that continues to hinder access and visibility for authors of color who write Romance. This is a time for introspection, and it seems very clear, some changes need to be made.
We are here, and we are a legion. The stories we have to tell matter and will make Romance a better genre and more vibrant community. We have devised some actionable steps for those in the community who would like to join us in making more space in Romance for authors of color. Here they are:
Readers: You hold power with your hard earned dollars and fuel what drives the market. Take a chance on us. We are not only authors but readers as well. A lot of us began our writing careers after being long-time Romance fans. We could not find what we wanted in between the pages, so we set pen to paper with the intention of turning our dreams into reality. Like you, we dearly love this genre, and we would love to share our stories with you. We will try our best not to disappoint.
Established Authors: We ask that you consider supporting aspiring and mid-list PoC authors by offering to critique one manuscript every quarter, invite us to participate in anthologies, invite us to book signings, invite us to join you on panels at cons, or if time does not allow then signal boost us!
We’d love to let you know what we’re working on to share with your newsletter and blog subscribers. Even a retweet on Twitter or share on Facebook can be valuable from an author with a more prominent platform. Keep us looped in and challenge your readers to explore our stuff too! Show your readers that you’re invested in us. If they see you introducing someone new to them, they’ll likely become intrigued and want to learn more.
Bloggers: We ask that you actively seek out and request to review books by authors of color. Make sure that when you do thematic weeks or create favorites lists that you include recommendations by authors of color. Many readers look to you for guidance when it comes to selecting their next read. Show them you're invested in discovering authors who may fly under the radar in Romancelandia.
Publishers, Editors and Agents: Be mindful that although non-PoC authors writing multicultural stories is a solid step in the right direction, it is not enough. We will never be proven as storytellers who “can sell” if the publishing industry continues to handle our stories as “risky” or “not marketable.” Other genres, like Young Adult, have proven that Own Voices not only sells but can have a huge impact. We believe this is true for romance too. When compiling your MSWL, actively seek submissions that highlight Own Voices storytelling.
Finally, we’d like to point you to this link where you will find a database of PoC authors who are creating diverse and authentic stories. We commit to keeping this list updated so that anyone who wants to read more queer Romance by PoC knows precisely where to find us.
Thank you for reading, and we hope you can support our endeavor in making Romance a more inclusive and equitable genre for all.
PoC Queer Romance Authors Community