By concentrating only on Street Lit for African American teens.
the publishing industry is missing a big opportunity
In the 2004 article Street Lit is a breakout hit James Fugate the owner of Eso Won, a African American bookstore is quoted saying, he understands why major publishing houses are taking an interest.
“They are reaching an audience they didn’t know existed.”
In the article Terrry McMillian vs Ghetto Lit Shays writes “However, ghetto lit is growing for one major reason, which folks like myself with libertarian streaks will point out: the market reflects what black folks as a group – especially black folks under age 40 – want to read. There is a much, much wider market of black folks who want to read talkin-‘bout-the-hood, hip-hopesque tales of sex, violence, crime, and the like than who want to read about tales of bitter, upscale black women like what Ms. McMillan has written or the feats of the Tuskegee Airmen back in World War II like I or others would likely read.”
in the 2008 Publishers Weekly article Publishers are paying attention to African-American teens
But its hard to determine that this is indeed the case with books targeted toward AAT.’ In Felicia Pride and Calvin Reid article they challenge you to talk to a YA editor or take a stroll through that section at your local bookstore and it’s evident that there’s a growing number of books aimed at the young adult market—and those numbers include more titles geared specifically to African-American teens. As publishers are addressing the lack of material aimed at this market—many African-American teens have turned to popular adult authors because of this dearth—there has clearly been some improvement.
But not much, Street Lit s popular, because
1. The authors get it: good, bad or ugly, the writing is at least empowered, and there is no pandering to the reader
2. There is very little else to read: what other options are there for African American teens (AAT) read outside of scaled down versions of street lit? I’m amazed that the industry do not believe that AAT would be interested in a Black Twilight or Harry Potter of which, outside of Night Biters there are very few (click here for a list of fantasy books)
An audience they didn’t know existed in the early 90’s there was an explosion of books geared toward African American’s, Waiting to Exhale and other. To me the Publishing industry should have had the foresight to know that those readers would want books t that the lives of their children, and even grandchildren. I wrote Night Biters after going to a book store asking for a book from the Goosepumps series that feature an AAT
If the industry believes that AAT are only interested in Street Lit and are not interested in works like Twilight or Harry Potter, then will continue to be miss opportunities that can help rebound a sagging industry