Want to enact change within the publishing industry? Here are some simple things that you can do as a reader to help change the system and the sales numbers of BIPOC writers
- Pre-order books from artists’ publishers BEFORE their publishing date, either directly from the publisher or from an independent bookstore. This will encourage the bookstore to make displays, hand-sell more books, and encourage the publisher to invest more in further promotions.
- Pay full price for the book. Don’t buy wait to buy it secondhand, don’t wait until it comes out in paperback, don’t order it from Amazon who trims cover prices. By paying the full cover price to an independent bookstore, you will guarantee that the author, the publisher and the bookseller all receive full value for their book. By buying local, you continue to support the whole publishing eco-system.
- Notice who the book is published by. Are they publishing diverse authors? No? Why not spend some time exploring small presses who do publish and support diverse writing.
- Gift books by BIPOC authors to everyone you know, particularly your white friends.
- Call up your local library or literary festival and nominate an author that you love to give a talk.
- Get your book club together and agree to all buy multiple copies of the book and read it together. Invite the author to visit your book club virtually, and pay them an honorarium for their appearance.
- Provide the author positive reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and take an excellent Shelfie with the book
- Follow the author on social media.
- Write the author a thank you note for their work. Tell them how their words impacted you. Look forward to the next thing they write. Tell everyone you know that you are waiting for their next book.
- Be thankful for their work, but don’t overstep. Recognize that authors need fans to have boundaries and that their work, lives, and personal boundaries may keep them unable to engage the way that you expect them to. They don’t owe you anything.
- Seek out diverse forms of writing such as poetry, short fiction, stage plays, comics and novels by Black writers. Find literature that celebrates Black hopes, dreams, and futures.
- Attend book readings (virtual or in person, when possible). Invite friends to attend with you.
- Support bookstores owned by BIPOC owners. (United States | Canada)
- Apply these principles to BIPOC artists, musicians, dancers and other creatives.
What tips have I missed? Please share your ideas in the comments below.