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Black Lives Matter

BookEnds stands in solidarity with the Black community against systemic racism and injustice. 

We are committed to raising up Black authors, illustrators, and publishing professionals — now and always. Black stories matter. 

Category: Blog

17 comments

  1. I think shared stories, whether in a book or across a table, are the ONLY thing that can start to fix this at the root.

      1. Oh, Jessica. I’m sorry. I did not imply that I suffered the equal prejudice as a black person may. What I meant (and again I apologize for my mis-wording and for offending you) is that because of the prejudice I have experienced I unite with all people that suffer prejudice. I’m a huge advocate against hatred, of any kind.

    1. Thank you for this. I’ve always tried to have a diversity of characters in my stories. We don’t live in a monochromatic world, and I don’t want to write one. At some point, people have to stop looking at color and realize we are all one race — the human race. Our diversity is what makes us strong.

  2. When I was starting up the art academy in my multicultural district, I had to fight so hard to get auditions during school hours where EVERYONE had equal opportunity to get in, also including non traditional art forms. It was so sad how many well intentioned individuals did not get how their attitudes were racial. Eventually I was able to when them over!!!!

  3. The sentiments and efforts are appreciated but I always wonder action plan accompanies this great intentions of support for Black writers. Is this something your agency or the industry overall measures with goals and improvement plans? The momentum is here now but where will the efforts be 1 month or 1 year from now? How can we take this important topic and put a face to it? How can literary agencies and publishers make it actionable for collective Black writing body? Don’t get me wrong a lot of this falls at the feet of us Black writers…whether it is to help or to ask for help.

    1. Charles: You are absolutely right to question this and I appreciate that you are. BookEnds has made an effort over the past few years to find and seek publication for Black authors. We can always do more, we can always speak out more. We are constantly discussing that and how we can do that. Including, speaking up in the publishing community when we feel Black voices are being silenced. I don’t have any easy answers, but I will keep looking for them by listening better. It’s not your responsibility, but if there’s anything I can do to help Black authors please let me know.

      1. I believe there is more that can be done. I have been rejected by many literary agents because they were unable to relate to the experiences that we as African Americans have gone through. I’ve gotten responses such as “I’m not sure how I could market this”, “very touching; however, it’s just not a good fit. You may want to reach out to another agency that’s better at representing a more urban audience” etc.. Therefore, I self-published my 1st Novel. I am now making a new attempt to seek representation for my Memoir”. My memoir is not so “urban” it’s simply my life. Jessica, I believe you are heading in the right direction as it relates to understanding the challenges we face dealing with systematic racism and prejudice and/or the lack thereof in understanding diverse cultures.

        1. Melanie,

          I’m sorry this was your experience and I appreciate your kind words. We are working to make the changes needed in publishing and I do hope you’ll see the benefits of that with your own writing.

  4. Jessica,
    Thank you for your quick and sincere response. I would formalize the process of seeking opportunities for black authors as well as identifying new black authors as clients. One thought is to develop goals for the previously mentioned and then measure your success on a quarterly and annually basis. I hope this helped.

    1. Thank you. Some of this we definitely do, but you had me thinking about our goals. Each year the agents of BookEnds express a desire to add more Black authors to our lists, but I do not think we measure our successes and failures in that area enough. It’s something I will implement. Thank you again for your feedback and conversation. It is really appreciated.

    1. Great comment! That is what leaves our voices out. The lack of representation in the “BOARD ROOM” or the decision making processes. Not to suggest predominately white agents cannot be advocates for be culturally inclusive – but history suggest – diverse voices in those bring about more inclusive decision. I’m happy to find this site – as I am looking for an opportunity to write about African American legacy history – that is not currently portrayed anywhere that I read, see or hear about. There are those in the culture, that did not grow up “fearing the police,” experiencing the welfare system, not first generation college educated, non-urban, yet – politically aware & active for generations in society. I don’t hear our voices out there and I would like to contribute that history to our stories .

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