Save the Contemporary–Again?

Once again, the Smart Bitches and Dear Author have launched a campaign to save the contemporary romance. Apparently, since romantic suspense and paranormal romance/urban fantasy have taken over the landscape, the existence of a single title contemporary romance has been rare. This time there are even better prizes, AND Borders has chipped in to offer $1 off the selected title!

Now isn’t that nice of them?

However, I can’t believe that in all the issues of RT that have been released since romantic suspense and the paranormal began to dominate women’s fiction, reviewers and readers have had a difficult time finding straight contemporary romance. I find it even more skeptical to believe that OMG, the selected works have been needles in the proverbial haystack. And further, that Borders would emerge from its sleepy corner to offer a coupon specifically for this book through a popular and influential romance website when there are books released each month that could use this sort of promotion.

Yes, I’m flogging that “black romance” horse again.

Every month, Dafina and Kimani Press release quality contemporary romances. Kimani may be published by Harlequin, but it’s treated like a ST line. And hey, after my quick email to RT, they label the Dafina releases according to their genre ( [C], [RS], MF], etc).

When I logged onto the internet and visited the aforementioned websites, I couldn’t help but scream with laughter over this campaign.

And I couldn’t help but feel justified for my contempt over the scores of non-black authors falling over themselves in fear and agony after all the publishing house shake-ups: Oh noes! I might not get that “very good deal” I would have received in the past! For fear, I might not get the distribution I deserve! *Gasp* Editors might not take my copy-cat Regency/Paranormal/Romantic Suspense!

I kept my mouth shut to keep from responding to the ignorant arrogance of these authors. If you’re going to suffer, think about all the black authors who will suffer even further because of this. If your book might not get into all the bookstores because of a low print number, think of all the black authors who’ve always been shut out of the big box chains. If your book doesn’t get a good deal, think of all the black authors who’ve never had a chance to have their genre fiction sold at auction or pre-empted or for $50,000+.

All I can say to the bitching and moaning, and honestly, the “save the contemporary” campaign is stuff it. If the playing field is not level, and never will be level, I cannot rightfully support anything that other writers will rarely, if ever, have a chance to experience.

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