"The Cooperative Children’s Book Center keeps annual statistics that show that authors of color wrote less than 5 percent of U.S. books published for children in recent years. You are a prolific, award-winning author–but could you name five other black LGBTQ authors of children’s literature?That's from the condensed version that made it onto Ms Mag's blog. The full interview is on Zetta's blog as well as her Youtube channel.
Um…I couldn’t. I probably could name two, but I don’t know if people are just not out. I think there are people who are still very closeted. You’re dealing with a society that automatically associates pedophilia with anybody who’s interested in children in any way, and a lot of people who still think that queerness is some pathology.
I haven’t come across a lot of young black writers who are new but I feel like, if the book is finished and it’s halfway decent, there’s a home for it. I don’t know if that’s me just being out there and not knowing enough about publishing. I mean, I think of Coe Booth, Brenda Woods, the woman who did Fly Girl [Sherri L. Smith]. You’re one of the new writers coming up: I think you’re one of the people who’s potentially going to change the world of speculative fiction. But I think in terms of publishers trying to figure out where it belongs, that’s kind of a slower movement—especially with the business of books changing so quickly.
Do you feel optimistic about the future of publishing?
I feel optimistic but I think people can’t expect it to be the old way of doing things. I mean, my first book was published in 1989. I think if I was starting to write today, I would be self-publishing."
Here's an excerpt from an interview Lori Devoti did with me about turning to indie publishing:
"Q: What route would you suggest for an author who hasn’t been published before? Should they still follow the old route of agent/publisher or do you think going straight to self-publishing is a good option?And here's an excerpt from an interview with our fave goth megastar, Le R. on critiquing and editing others' work:
A. I would urge them to think about what they truly want from being published. If it is the recognition of being accepted by the publishing establishment (which is a totally okay goal), then I would say press on along the traditional publishing route. If, however, an author wants only to get her/his work out there, under the eyes of readers who might devour it, connect with it, change their lives because of it, then I would say explore the wonderful world of indie publishing. But I would highly recommend doing a lot of research. Read the stories of people who’ve self-published, check out blogs, pick up books that have been self-published and are highly recommended by trusted sources. Ask a lot of questions!"
"Is there one specific thing that you gravitate toward while critiquing?
Le R: It sounds sort of corny, but I think I gravitate toward the writer. I read so, so many query letters and manuscripts when I worked in publishing, and I read so much unpolished work now as a freelancer, and you develop--or at least I have developed, I don't know if this is always true, not everyone used to be a social worker--this weird ability to see the person producing the work. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they frame a story. I don't mean that in a sinister way--just that I try to think in terms of what would be most useful to that particular person. I don't have to worry at all any more about whether something is "good" or "publishable" or "salable"--it's not my job to sort things, it's my job now to help someone move forward, and anyone can move forward with their writing."
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