Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Obama Effect in Publishing

I've noticed all around the blogosphere that literary folks are starting to ask the question: Will there be an Obama effect in publishing? Meaning, will Barack Obama's historic presidency make the mainstream publishing industry more interested in Black people's stories? I know many African-American authors are hoping this to be true. (And you can count me in as one of those authors.)

What's interesting is that the same question is being bounced around the Mixed Race literati as well. They too are hoping that, considering Obama's mixed heritage, the publishing industry will be only too eager to hear their stories. "Now is our time," I read on one author's site who claims Black and White ancestry.

What do you think? Will Obama's star shine all the way to the publishing industry? Will the American public demand more stories about colored folks now that there will be a whole family of them living in the White House? Will it be only a call for non-fiction titles that dissect that Black and/or Mixed experience in America or dare we hope that even more fiction titles with colorful characters will be requested by a public more used to seeing a colorful man as the leader of their nation.

Let's keep our fingers crossed, because after all, it is a new day!



Ananda said...

I am hoping that there will be more stories made available. We need them. We are hungry to share and learn.

MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner said...

As an author and a writer, this is most certainly my hope. We've been stuck in the muck and mire--forced for far too long to endure an industry intent on either showing the worst of us, or ignoring us all together. I hate that The Obamas have to serve as the pin-up models for stable, solid African American life, but it is what it is. If they force the industry to open their eyes and really SEE black folks beyond the stereotypes and actually acknowledge that we have great stories to tell, and the advertisers realize that we have money to spend, and WE speak up and demand that we be heard and respected, then maybe, just maybe, it'll get better for all of us--not just black folks, but Americans who have a genuine interest in getting to know their fellow Americans for real, for real.

Hana Njau-Okolo said...

Great post. I believe the Obama effect will impact publishing most significantly in the area of education. Obama has made it cool to be smart.

With regard to selling books, I believe a good story that evokes emotions across the board, without trying to fill a racial gap, will succeed. As MBB founder put it so well - beyond stereotypes.

Obama did not run his campaign based on race. I believe his administration and the new dawn in America will demand from the creative arts, perhaps not to the same level of Obama's eloquent erudition, but a higher standard all the same.

It will happen kidogo, kidogo (Kiswahili for bit by bit).

a passive observer said...

Hi, Ive been trying to add you on Facebook lately. I dont mean to be annoying- i know I friend requested you like 3 times. Just wanted to let you know it was a fellow blooger doing that. The name was Jessica S.

Love your blog.

Oh, and quick story. Im in a drawing foundations class and last week we had to self portriats. While doing an in-class exercise a classmate had to draw me. When it came to doing my hair she began to get excited. She giggled "Its like drawing Cauliflower." I laughed and she looked embarrassed. It wasnt a big deal even though I wanted to tell her that hers was like spaghetti, lol. Broccoli, cauliflower, spaghetti; who knew we were so edible!