Reading and supporting Black authors and voices will expand your personal library and diversify the books you’re reading. Many readers will make book-related goals at the start of a new year with the intention of reading more diversely, but can fall short of fulfilling that goal. In order to keep these self-assigned goals, readers need to consume the content, but they may not know where to start. There are a lot of Black authors who may not be popping up in online searches or while scrolling through social media.
Readers have the power to maintain a high level of diversity within the books they consume. Being on social media platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, offers unlimited access to Black authors and voices who promote books that have representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) characters and storylines. Black authors will self-promote and market their upcoming releases on social media. BIPOC book content creators and/or reviewers will provide their detailed thoughts, opinions, and ratings of books. By following, liking, commenting, and sharing the profiles and posts of these Black authors and content creators, readers can remain informed about upcoming projects and books they might have not otherwise known about. Interacting with and actively seeking out Black authors and book content creators assists your chosen platform’s algorithm in adapting to what you want to see.
The publishing industry is dominated by white people which makes it harder for Black authors to have their manuscripts be traditionally published. Many BIPOC authors will go through the process of independently or self-publishing. Once their book is published, the number of sales may sway a traditional publishing company into offering an author a publishing contract because they have proven to be successful. Those offers may take a long time and the author may not want to sign on with a traditional publisher. It’s important to make space in the book and publishing world for Black authors to share their ideas and lived experiences through their writing.
Don’t know where to go from here? Do you need help getting started? Below are a few book recommendations across varying genres to aid in diversifying reading.
Romance Recommendations (18+): Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan, The New Haven series by J. L. Seegars, Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
Science Fiction/Fantasy Recommendations: Legendborn and Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn, Skin of the Sea and Soul of the Deep by Natasha Bowen, Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James, and The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin.
New Adult Recommendations: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
You can find these recommendations and many others through Ooligan Press’s Bookshop link.