Yesterday, Amistad Books posted a graphic on Instagram with the hashtags #Blackpublishingpower and #BlackoutBestsellerlist.
“To demonstrate our power and clout in the publishing industry Saturday June 13 – Saturday June 20,” the post read, “we encourage you to purchase any two books by Black writers. Our goal is to Blackout bestseller lists with Black voices.”
The recent Black Lives Matter protests have sparked conversations about white privilege and racism not just within the police force, but within numerous industries. This includes the publishing industry.
Earlier this month, Lee & Low Books published statistics for Black representation in the publishing industry. Only 8% of authors, 4% of literary agents, and 1% of editorial were Black. Last week, the hashtag #PublishingPaidMe also circulated on Twitter, prompting discussions around the disparities of advances.
An article on Medium titled “We need to talk about the list” also circulated Twitter earlier this week, breaking down the NYT bestsellers list and the lack of Black authors appearing on it. It revealed, among other things, that “Since 12/31/17, no Latinx, Afro-Latinx, or Indigenous debut authors have made it onto the list. No Black debut authors have made it onto the list since Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, over two years ago.”
The #BlackoutBestsellerList is hoping to change that.
The goal is to get books by Black authors onto the NYT Bestsellers List with the goal to blackout the list. Since being posted, the graphic has been circulated by authors across the industry.
If you’re able to, now’s a great time to support Black authors by buying their books. As readers and consumers, we drive the publishing market. By supporting Black stories, we can pressure the industry to acquire a more diverse range of voices.
The goal is to purchase TWO books by any Black authors between now and Saturday, June 20th. If you’re unsure what to get, check out some of our recs:
1. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
A YA fantasy debut featuring a grieving princess and a desperate prince on a collision course to kill each other.
2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this book follows Starr Carter as she witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.
3. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Liz Lighty competes for the prom queen crown in order to get a scholarship she can use to attend her dream school of Pennington.
4. A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
This modern fantasy features Black mermaids, a siren murder trial, and the friendship between Tavia and Effie.
5. Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
This middle-grade fantasy follows Tristan Strong in a world of African American folk heroes and West African gods.
For more book recs, check out the #BlackPublishingPower hashtag on Twitter. If you do participate, be sure to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes&Noble, as this is one of the best ways (besides buying the book!) to support an author.