So we’ve all heard the latest brouhaha about the whitewashing of a book cover. According to the powers that be in publishing brown folks don’t sell on book covers. Of course, these are the same PTB who said black folks don’t read, so you might want to take their opinions with more than a few dashes of salt. But hey, I’m no marketing guru, so let’s assume they’re right. That leaves a very important question begging: If they know that Negroes on the cover of a book mean fewer sales why do they insist that black writers writing about black people put black folk on the cover? I think it’s fascinating that they can’t risk having a white woman deal with the consequences of writing about people of color, but they’ve tried to force at least one black author to write black characters only.
I’ve mentioned before that I wanted the cover of Rock Star to be fairly similar to the photo above. Or the iconic rock star silhouette with the guitar slung across his back and an upraised arm. Or, just a simple mantitty cover of the type that were becoming popular at the time. I was shot down on all three suggestions. Why? Having a white man by himself on the cover of an interracial book would result in customer returns. Apparently, they feared people buying it “by accident,” then having some type of myocardial infarction upon discovering that it contained Negro sex. No, I don’t understand this. I’ve been reading since I was three years old and cannot recall EVER returning a book for any reason. But hey, apparently I’m an anomaly.
I try not to think about these things, because when I do they depress me so badly I can’t write. But I’m not exactly stupid or lacking in humanity and yeah, this shit hurts my feelings, not to mention my wallet. I know nobody cares, and I wasted way too much time trying to discuss these issues on blogs where folks get defensive about my “tone.” (Yeah, I know that’s out of the deflection handbook.) Every now and then though, it rises up in my throat to the point that I either have to talk about it or shank someone, and the year is awfully young for me to be this close to my annual quota. So please bear with me while I try to work this bit of bile out of my system.