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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The end of an era: Kimani Romance going away

It came in an email.
Dear Author.

Blah, blah, blah, these books just aren't selling.

Do, do, do,  we're ending the Kimani romance line in 2018.

Wow. No more African American romance stories. Of course they say they will open other lines up to the Kimani authors. Authors who are majority black and brown.

And should believe this, right?

I mean, Harlequin Desire has given us such culturally diverse books like:

And no, Sarah Anderson is not an author of color.
For a long time, all black characters could only be in Kimani books. Then this happened.

And who can forget this gem?
 In this story, the black woman heroine doesn't think she's good enough for the white hero and then there is the black baby they find in the trash can. Ok. That is cultural diversity at it's best. . .uh-huh.

I've only written three books with Kimani and after seeing how this line was promoted and treated in the world of romance, I'm more angry than sad to see it go away.

Why are you mad?

I'm glad you asked. Let me explain:
1. Mainstream reviewers acted as if two black people falling in love, have money and sex was something that they could not relate to. But damnit, a fucking vampire falling in love with a blond virgin who could read minds was the most romantic thing in the universe. Newsflash: Vampires are not real. Black people exist! How do you think these little black people got here? Their mothers and fathers fell in love and had sex. That shit happens every day.

2. Bookstores put black romance in a separate section like that was cool. Romance is romance. You know why I didn't read romance for years? Because I got tired of stretching my imagination to turn white folks into black folks. If I had to do all of that to enjoy a story, then I might as well write my own. So, I did.
But when I was published and walked into the romance section to find my books: crickets.

In 2003 when I went looking for my first romance novel, I had to swim through books that had nothing to do with romance. So, bookstores didn't want to invite white people into the world of black love? Obviously not. If I walk into your bookstore and I don't see Beverly Jenkins or Brenda Jackson in your ROMANCE section, I'm out.

3. Many publishers don't try to market ethnic romance at all. I posted this on Facebook and I stand by every word:
Why can't publishers sell black romance? Short answer, they don't try. See, the problem is, too many publishers think that African American characters are like vampires, a niche. A plot twist. But what they haven't figured out for many decades is that love is love. Instead of focusing on the amazing stories written by authors who aren't white. They focused on the black part. Knowing that they have been complicit in scaring the majority of their readers into believing that black things are scary, but a shape shifter with four dicks and a demon's soul can really love you. That, white lady reader, you can relate to. But for some reason, we, the big publisher don't think you will understand people of color falling in love or having money. So, don't pretend you're sad you are dropping a line that you didn't promote. Don't act like everyone is going to have a chance to write for your money makers and we know what you were doing when all of a sudden you had non black writers writing about black characters. PS: Those stories really fell flat and bordered on offensive. But they made money, so that's all that counts, right? 
4. Black publishers sell out or screw the authors.
Point blank period.

5. And back to you reviewers. Seriously, Trashy bitches killed Kimani.
First of all, and yes, I'm clapping my hands, a book does not get a RITA nomination if it is an average book. Is it so hard for you to believe black people fall in love? But a demon with three dicks is awesome? Miss me with that bullshit. For whatever reason, other people think that you're reviews are the manna from heaven when it come to romance. Okay. That's stupid. But then again, millions of people voted for Donald Trump in this country.
Why don't you do what black readers had to do for years and imagine that the characters are white. Then maybe you'll like the story better.