Black Lives Matter. Black voices matter. And Black words matter. There are some exceptionally talented Black authors that don’t always receive the same support as other authors, and it’s clear that Black authors are at a disadvantage when it comes to the publishing world. They receive less advances for their work or less marketing and hype, and not enough Black authors appear on panels at conventions. Fantasy and YA fantasy fans love diversity and hate injustice, and we can all do better to boost Black authors.
There are many easy ways that you can help support Black authors! Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Buy Books by Black Authors
It sounds simple, but the best way you can support your favourite Black authors is by purchasing their books. Not only does the author get paid for their work, but it also sends a signal to them and their publisher that we want more of these books!
What if you can’t afford to buy books? That’s no problem – instead, ask your local library to get these books in stock. Even requesting books from the library helps the author, and also makes these books available for other readers. Many libraries now have digital services where you can download ebooks for free.
Looking for some book suggestions? Here are 12 amazing YA fantasy books by Black authors you can read now!
Review Books on Amazon and Goodreads
The next most important thing you can do is post a review of these books on Amazon and Goodreads. Amazon is especially important because once a book gets over 10 reviews, it starts to appear in shopper’s recommended lists. And after 50 reviews, these books become even more visible in Amazon’s algorithm which means they’re easier for readers to come across.
Amazon does have restrictions on leaving reviews, so if you can’t post a review there, please leave one on Goodreads instead. Ideally, copy and paste your review to both!
Book reviews don’t have to be long. They can literally be “I loved this book and want more” and that’s good enough! It’s free to leave a review and will only take a minute of your time.
Hype Them Up – Tell Your Friends!
The most valuable marketing is word of mouth. In other words, if you love these books and want to support Black authors, you need to shout about it! Recommend these books to your friends and family. Post about them on social media. Start a blog or a YouTube channel and gush about your favourite reads. Just talk about them! The more people who talk about these books, the more people will then learn they exist, and that means more sales and more sequels. And talking doesn’t cost you a thing.
Want to discover more books by Black authors? A good way to find recommendations is to follow book blogs online, or head on over to YouTube and search for booktube channels by Black readers.
Preorder Books by Black Authors
You may think that preordering books is a little pointless, especially if you’re planning on buying the book on release anyway, but actually, preordering a book tells the book publisher that people are excited for this book. It helps drum up support and hype, and preordering also boost sales.
Here’s three awesome YA fantasy books coming soon to preorder:
Click the cover to visit their Goodreads page.
Buy From Black-Owned Bookstores
You might think, “How does buying from a specific store help the author?” Well, authors depend on independent bookstores to hype and sell their books. Readers also need independent book stores to fight against the larger corporations like Amazon. Indie book stores are magical places, and if we don’t support them, we could lose them! Black business owners are especially struggling right now, and the pandemic doesn’t make selling books easier. Thankfully, many book stores can sell books online and deliver.
If you’re about to buy some new books, consider buying from a Black-owned bookstore to support them and the author. It’s a win-win!
You could take a look at Indiebound for your local indie bookstore, but you can also find a list of Black-owned bookstores HERE and HERE. Have a search online to see if there are any in your country or local area.
Support We Need Diverse Books
If you can afford to, there are many charities and organisations out there to support Black authors. One that I recommend is We Need Diverse Books, which is an organisation to help promote diversity in the publishing world so that children can find themselves represented in the books they read. They also provide emergency funding and grants for diverse authors who need financial aid, especially during hard times like the current pandemic. Everyone deserves to find themselves in a book, so please consider donating if you can. And if you can’t afford to donate, tell your family and friends about the great work they do!
There are many other ways to help support Black authors, but the important thing is to keep supporting and keep boosting. Please share your favourite books by Black authors in the comments!