Monday, November 07, 2005

Book Survey

The talk of current AA blogs is about separating AA books. SORMAG would like to know what’s your opinion on this issue?

Should the AA books have their own section in the bookstores? why

Should they have their own section in the review magazines? why

Should they have their own awards? why

Tell us what you think.


Tempie said...

Hi LaShaunda,
I realize the conference is over and I really enjoyed it!!!
I just happened to see this post and you know me...wanted to comment...

In as much as I'm a proud individual and unapologetically black, I feel very strongly on this issue and especially now. Especially after the death of my father a couple of years ago who was very strong in democratic politics and also because of the recent death of Rosa Parks.

Maybe because of my just turning 51 years old and raised at a time when blacks had to fight to be known. Maybe because I grew up when blacks had to go to a predominately black school to read about the accomplishments of our black leaders and heritage; and because we had to be in separate sections to be represented (if any?)

Maybe because I remember when there were separate sections for coloreds and whites in everything including water fountains, buses, and libraries,etc.

Maybe it is because of all of the above that as much as I believe we must have and support our own in our accomplishments. I feel given every opportunity we have we need to be represented in and amongst any and every thing.

For example I feel as in bookstores such as Barnes & Noble,etc - I feel all AA books should be spread and mixed in with mainstream America to avoid having any kind of stigmatism. Why should it matter whether you are AA or Polish or Asian any culture if you have the skills of what ever it is you have done.

I personally don't feel we as AA should be limited to be put in one section. I feel very strong about this in regard to any and everything we do including magazines, awards, etc.

*I feel only when we are able to diffuse and be amongst all of Americans will be really be able to make a strong difference and representation.

* Instead of having our own AA section, I feel we as AA should be allowed and are represented in each and every section of everything.
Thanks Tempie

Pat Byrdsong said...

Some bookstores put AA books in both the AA section and in the subject/genre specific section. I think the books should be in both. As Nora Roberts books can be found in both fiction and romance sections, so should AA boks.

Frankly, that's why books are placed in certain section. Mystery readers want to find a mystery, so they create a section where those readers can find those books.

Unfortunately, AA boks rarely get good promotion. And it's easier for me to find a book that I may want to read in an AA section.

The industry didn't really look at AA novels until Terry McMillian's Waiting to Exhale. And after the success of that book, AA books are still not often marketed to audiences that are not AA.

And, it's easy to miss an AA novel in a romance section where you often only see the spine of the book. Unless I know the author or the imprint of the publisher, I can't tell.

We wouldn't have been privilege to have Essence, Ebony and Black Enterprise as part of our world if there weren't AA sections and audiences. I realize that those magazines were published because AA needs were not being met in other publications, but the same is true for AA rromance and other genre novels. And then we wouldn't have great books by Donna Hill or Brenda Jackson or Angela Benson, and so many other great novelists. The untold hours of pleasure by those and so many other AA novelists would probably not have occured if there weren't books targeted to AA audiences.

Just like Black Music Awards are still necessary and important, so should awards that embrace the diversity of specialness of AA novels.

So, I await the day when a nonAA writer is referred to as the White Brenda Jackson.

And even then, we'll still need AA section and awards for AA books and AA bookstores.

Robin Bayne said...

I agree with Tempie-- put them all together. Romance is romance.

Cindy Appel said...

I go along with Robin and Tempie--romance is romance. Why continue to promote these "artificial divisions" in our culture? Human beings love human beings... We shouldn't allow ourselves or our books to be reduced to being labeled like crayons.

After all, the rainbow displays more than one color in it. Let the bookshelves reflect a rainbow and not some outdated segregationalist idea.

Cindy (who is of Scotch-Irish, German, Blackfoot and Cree ancestries)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I agree with Tempie, robin and cindy! Put them all together!

Shelia said...

I think there's no problem with them being listed in both sections. The key is to make it easy for the buyer to find and also to hopefully attract new fans of the author's works.

Delores said...

i think that the AA section is great, I totally understand the stigma issue and all but many times I don't know some of the black authors and if they're not together I would never discover new AA authors. I think having them in both places would be great.I was talking to a friend while standing in front of the AA section and I was telling her someone said it was illegal to do this. She said if the books weren't together she wouldn't know where to look, cause she doesn't know all the great AA authors out there, so this was a big help to her.

wrdply said...

I prefer a separate AA section. I personally feel if we are combined with others genre our AA authors may get looked over by the majority of book readers in the market including those outside our own skin tone. Standing alone gives us the attention needed in most major book stores such as Barnes & Noble- along with the same promotions of other books.

Connie "zcque" said...

I think they should be with the other books also. Plus when they put the new releases on the front shelf I think they should be there too!

There are plenty of AA writers just as talented as there counterparts and should be recognized as such. Unfortunately, until they are treated the same (their books on the shelves without being special ordered, their talent recognized, etc.) we still need Shades of Romance and their own awards.

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