Love diverse fiction as much as me? Great here’s a group of authors to check out. All free to read on Kindle Unlimited too. Bad-boys, billionaires, detectives, fantasy men! Every hero you can think of who are men of colour or multicultural. Click the link here: https://storyoriginapp.com/to/kZd27XJ
Taking a writing prompt of my own from 365 Days of Writing Prompts for Romance Writers, this is exactly what’s on my mind right now. Over the last few weeks I’ve been writing a lot about the current state of affairs, when it comes to men of colour, their position in society and police brutality. As I reflected it kind of got me thinking about their ‘position’ in my own industry as a writer. So I decided that on #BlackOutDay2020 which I wrote about here a few weeks back, a day of solidarity I’d do a day where I do nothing but promote male authors of colour, regardless of his descent be it Asian-Indian Chinese, black or anything else. I had such an overwhelming response, while looking for authors from this demographic on Facebook! From women nominating men, and men putting themselves forward. So, instead a group of us will do promo for this demographic of authors all month from the 1st-31st July.
Why am I doing this?
Frankly, I’ve not been happy for a long time with how men of colour are treated generally within society at times, I will not say sorry for saying this either. I’m a mother of a black boy, I want the world to a better place for him when I’m gone. I also have black men I love and care for in my life, and hate hearing about the hardship, racism, and profiling they experience on a day to day basis. As a writer, I feel that this demographic of authors don’t often get their voices heard, and are placed into a box of ‘urban’, as if that’s all they write. I wish to give something back in the best way I can, from behind the laptop. I can’t protest #blacklivesmatter or #blacklivesmatteruk due to having people with delicate health at home, and myself also falling into this category. The risk of non-social distancing could mean life or death put bluntly, but if we never had Covid-19 happening right now, I’d be on the streets! Protesting the hell out of it, after seeing George Floyd and Rayshard Brook’s deaths this year, as well as the countless cases I’ve followed in every corner of the world over the years, I’m fed up with the police’s brutality and racist behaviour generally from society. I can’t protest in person, so I’ll write about as a writer at Aspiring Authors Magazine to bring attention where needed, support the community and keep the movement going.
When you look at these men what do you see? Drug dealers, bums, aggressive men do they trigger you?? I hope not. Some are husbands, fathers, grandfathers, uncles etc. They are human and beautiful! Most importantly, they are all well respected and hard-working authors, with published books worth checking out. Or at least getting to know a bit about them, before they are prejudged. They deserve readership, sales, and gaining fans like all authors do. From next week in all genres from romance, poetry, non-fiction and of course urban fiction you’ll learn a little bit about each one. Myself and a handful of other women will be celebrating men of colour in the literary world! Stay tuned.
I am so proud to join forces with more than thirty five female romance authors of colour around the world, between November 2019 and January 2020 to show case our work to bring some #blackgirlmagic and #browngirlmagic to the world of fiction. Women in general have had it hard historically, and sometimes we still do have to fight hard for our voice to be heard.
In the literary world the female voice of colour is underrepresented in books, as characters, and also as published authors by the big publishing houses. No one can dispute that. It’s a fact when it comes to finding agents and approaching publishers ninety percent of the time women of colour are pitching characters that reflect what we would would like to read more about, for example crafting leads with darker skin, and females reflecting what we see in the mirror, or just our experience as people of colour to people who many find it hard to really understand or even try to understand a different point of view, as they are from a different background and it’s not ‘normal’ to have a lead hero or heroine with skin darker than their own. So therefore the agent and publisher loves to feedback that they ‘can’t connect’ with the characters or stories. There is also a serious case of a lack of agents of colour to open the doors to diversity for us. Therefore what chance do women of colour stand when our work is rejected left, right and centre because 1. the ‘gatekeepers’ don’t reflect us 2. or wish to try and take a ‘risk’ by understanding something different 3. we are seen as just ‘urban/street lit writers’ like we can’t write different mainstream genres with no drug dealers, gangsters and baby momma drama.
Many talented and bestselling female authors of colour have spoken out about the unfairness with getting our voices heard by the bigger publishers. Such as New York Times Bestselling Author Ms. Alyssa Cole. A woman of colour herself who has managed to kick down the door to the big five publishers, as a romance and Sci-Fi author and make a real name for herself as a successful author with characters outside of the norm, and has vocalised her experiences loudly.
Let’s not forget women of colour who are writers don’t just write about characters that reflect us, we can and do include characters from ALL backgrounds if we want. We can cross over. So in order to spread the word, love, diversity, and #blackgirlmagic and #browngirlmagic between November 2019 and January 2020 I am heavily invested in supporting my fellow female romance authors of colour around the world in this group. I urge you to test drive a new author, a female author of colour she could be Black, Hispanic, Latino, of mixed heritage, Indian, Asian Chinese or something else magical with free books up for grabs on the below link. You’ll be transported to StoryOrigin and see a wonderful array of books to grab. What are you waiting for? Take a peek…
When I first started to write it did cross my mind that being a British author, not everyone may connect. It never bothered me and it still doesn’t now. I feel this way as there is a reader out there for every writer, no matter what you write be it dark stuff or light comedy. I’ve come to feel really strongly that writers should not, and can not write to people please. Why? You’ll lose yourself , who you are and what you want to write. I write it how I like it end of.
Over the last twenty four hours I’ve really been thinking about diversity within fiction, this is mainly due to the writing prompt I did on the Ideal Romance Hero, and the guest author post I done with Author Jane Ridson. I was asked ( in the guest post) how I go about using diverse characters, and what advice I would give to those that shy away from it. To me, diversity is a given, where I’m from in London it’s a melting pot of different cultures we love diversity this side of the water pretty much, well in London anyway. So it comes natural that I write reflecting what’s around me, and my diverse friends I have. It would be really hard not to.
Last night, I reflected on this point about diversity a little further, when I woke up this morning and read a few other writer’s POV on the Ideal Romance Hero it occurred to me that my take on Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome and the ideal romance hero is quite different, which is fine. I don’t mind standing out! One ( supportive) comment led me to feel that diversity really does need to be embraced, I also had a response to my Beta Reader call from someone who is keen to be a Beta Reader for me as I’m a different race and gender to them and I’m on the other side of the world. This is cool really cool. 🙂 But … are we there yet? Do we still have a little work to do with diversity in fiction? There’s a blogger I love his name is Jason Cushman or Opinionated Man to you and I. I’ve said it before he is rather funny, frank, and to the point. He is also rather raw in his take on diversity. Jason is of Asian descent and embraces it from what I read, but he does highlight ” the struggle” he’s over in the USA.I thought about Jason, some of his posts I’ve read and his struggles. You should check him out.
I then went to Facebook in search of marketing groups or companies who actually work with writers who feature diverse characters. I’d like to put my Romance Set in Paradise series in front of some readers who may love and seek a bit of diversity. Also my future work also, as you know I’ll never quit creating diverse characters. Do you know I found none, not one, like not even a choice! I am really surprised. This led me to set up my own group called Black, Asian and Minority Readers and Writers this is not about segregation it’s more about celebration! Of authors who feature diverse character line ups, and can maybe help support other authors branch into this ( if they want to) without the fear of stereotypes, or stereotyping those they feature, find readers who want to find diversity in their fiction, a chance for all writers regardless of their own race who love, support and read diverse fiction to come together. This includes the gay community also. I have nothing against same sex relationships at all, live and let live is my motto. I feel like I want to do something from this side of the Atlantic as there are so many in the USA ( FB groups) with this focus on African American writers /fiction, but I see little with a welcome for all minority groups for anyone who would say they are a minority or of some mixed background. Or am I just not looking hard enough?
So, if you’re an author of an ethnic background, or an author who writes with diversity regardless of your background, or you’d like to try it! Join the group, the link is above. I hope to build a community of support. And readers, marketers and lovers of our diverse work. Because variety is the spice of life.
Tell me, what’s your views on diversity in general?