Books,  Bounce,  my view,  writing life

And the nominees are… (wait, that’s all you’ve got?)

So a lot has been said these past few days about the USA TODAY Top Books of 2013 list (Big congrats to all that made the list. Good for you. There are some great books there).

Also sidebar to me and giving myself a back pat for BOUNCE having gotten a mention on the USA TODAY HEA blog. Huge thanks to Michelle Monkou for the lovely review. It was called a “great book club pick”. Loving that! You can check out the full review here.

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But back to matters at hand. So much has been said about the fact that there are no self-pubs on the USA TODAY list this year, which is huge, but I do think in many ways speaks to the power of having a backer and big marking behind you (and the possibility of a TODAY show appearance doesn’t hurt a thing). But this hybrid woman writer of color is asking another question: where are the fiction writers of color on the list?

In this big global writing world, why are the  top spots in publishing as rare as getting an Academy Award nomination? What are your thoughts? Why are so many writers of color turning to self-publishing? How can there be more visibility for these writers? Also who do you think, writer or publishing house, is getting it right? I’m sure there are some.

This is a day of celebration so things have to start looking up. I’m all about the positive. Have at it.



All the best,




  • Holley Trent

    Oh, that’s a complicated issue.

    Right now, I think authors going the self-publishing route are profiting more because they’re pricing their books competitively and shelving them where they can actually be seen by the audience hungry for them…but are mainstream readers taking a chance on them? Not without referrals from people whose opinions they trust.

    Certain publishing houses are going the so-called “progressive” route and not labeling books as multi-cultural or whatever they are, but the problem with that is, they’re still books about brown people, and the people who would want to find books like those can’t FIND them. So, they’re not hitting any major lists.

    I think what needs to happen is that publishers need to promote these books with POC characters differently than they’re doing with their other mainstream books. They have to be marketed more aggressively–not just to the books’ built-in/niche audiences–but to the readers who need to be convinced that these books are worth reading.

    After all, it’s the publishing industry’s fault for ghettoizing them in the first place. They need to lead the charge in making these books more visible, and if it means those books get shelved in multiple places.

    (I’ll just wait here holding my breath for that to happen.)

    • kwana

      Great points, Holly about active marketing and in multiple places. I think that could go a long way. Now putting the money where the stories are and paying for the marketing. That’s another issue.

  • Reese Ryan

    The absence of both self-pub authors and POC authors is disturbing, but for different reasons. I was recently part of a roundtable (prompted by your Twitter conversations) where we discussed the difficulties facing POC authors and proposed solutions:

    Yet, like you Kwana, I’m not holding my breath expecting publishers to make the needed moves. POC authors need to work together to find our own solutions.

    • kwana

      You’re right, Reese it is difficult and I think it’s going to take some major breakouts in order to see some change. And by breakouts I mean more mainstream breakouts like what we saw with 50 Shades and what we saw in the past with Terry McMillan and what’s happening now in Hollywood with Shonda Rhimes with Scandal. There needs to be some big bang or three in in the book world. Some sort of buzz. Hopefully it will come soon. I have faith that it’s out there. I know the talent is there.