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Old 01-15-2020, 04:27 PM   #181
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So:

Does this argument mean that Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc., should not have their categories of LGBTQ? That's bad?


Hitch
There's a good debate to be had there, isn't there? I mentioned it much earlier in the thread.

It's not just Netflix and the video streaming service either. In addition to the African American Interest section, they also had a Gay/Lesbian Interest section next to it. I don't know if current bookstores still have such a section or not.
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Old 01-15-2020, 05:37 PM   #182
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I'm a white romance reader. It wouldn't occur to me, unless I had specific knowledge of this sort of kerfuffle, to go and search for an ethnicity-specific bookshop section in order to find a romance that might have a lead that's not white. I'd just look in Romance. And I very happily like and read a lot of romance with non-white leads. I just expect to find romance books in the romance section. Do I also have to go find the Arab section for romance heroes/heroines with that ethnicity? Is there a Hispanic section? Where is the gay interracial romance shelved?

That's a problem.
Yes this. I am a big romance reader. I read other genres also. But I read a lot of romance, have so for some time. I expect to find romance in the romance section. Anything else is segregation. I am white and ask me how many non white characters in romance I have seen in bookstores in the past. Or non straight, etc. A romance is a romance is a romance.

I am always struck by something Beverly Jenkins said in that docu about romance, what was it called, love under the sheets? I can't recall now. She made the point that if someone can relate to blue aliens in a romance, but they can't relate to african american characters? I didn't grow up with the internet or access to ebooks. So my reading has of course been influenced by what was available at the book store. If you have someone with prejudices working in a place that decides what goes on that shelf? That is an issue and obviously hearing the stories has been for a long time.

Its not an even playing field. And that is not ok.

eta: and to add. Not all LGBTQ stores are romance and not all african american stories are romance. So having those section in another part of the store doesn't really explain the romance section. If its romance, it belongs in romance.

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Old 01-15-2020, 06:41 PM   #183
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As an AA, when I went into book stores I would go to the romance section to look at romance books, I would read the back cover, and if it interested me I got it. Yes every book I got was pretty much about white women, but it would never have occurred to me to look for an AA romance section off in another part of the store.

I don't believe I conciously do anything based color, that is not how I was raised, and quite frankly way too limiting for me. I have cousins who are all black everything, and are always specifying if they have a white friend...blah, blah. blah. I couldn't care less.

We are all stuck on this planet together, there shouldn't be any profiling going on in this day and age.

Nor do I care about anyone's orientation. I've got gay books, lesbian books, straight books, alien books, vampire and were-everything books.

If I happen to get a romance written by an AA writer great, the book must meet the same requirement as one written by a white writer. It MUST be a good book by MY standards. If it isn't it will be put aside just like all the others that I deem not good.

But then again, since I don't go looking to see what color the writer is, I wouldn't know/care.

But I do agree if it is a romance story, then it belongs in the romance section no matter what color the writer is.

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Old 01-15-2020, 08:51 PM   #184
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Does this argument mean that Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc., should not have their categories of LGBTQ? That's bad?
Again, this is about bricks & mortar stores, which (usually) won't shelve a book in more than one section, let alone multiple sections. So if AA romance is tucked only in the AA section, unless you're looking specifically for AA romance AND know to look in the AA section, you will only find romances featuring characters/authors who aren't AA.

This system also has issues with intersections. If you have an AA section, and an LGBTQ section, and a romance section, where you you going to shelve your AA lesbian romance?

Online stores in which a book can be in 2, 5 or 12 sections at once are a completely different story.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:28 PM   #185
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meeera View Post
Again, this is about bricks & mortar stores, which (usually) won't shelve a book in more than one section, let alone multiple sections. So if AA romance is tucked only in the AA section, unless you're looking specifically for AA romance AND know to look in the AA section, you will only find romances featuring characters/authors who aren't AA.

This system also has issues with intersections. If you have an AA section, and an LGBTQ section, and a romance section, where you you going to shelve your AA lesbian romance?

Online stores in which a book can be in 2, 5 or 12 sections at once are a completely different story.
Meera, you're assuming it's only relevant to digital stories. And it's not necessarily "different." At Amazon, you get TWO categories--period. Maybe, sure, you choose AA and Romance, or AA and Mystery or LGBTQ & whatever, but what if it's YA AA Romance? You're going to miss out on something. It's NOT only for B&M.

The concept (and logic, assuming there is any) is exactly the same. What reader of mysteries or romance is going to say to themselves, "Oh, well, as soon as I get done browsing the first 100 top-selling Indy mysteries, I'm gonna run right over there to AA and then find the mysteries and then...."

I'm sorry, but I just don't see it as different. The ability of technology to overcome SHELVING doesn't change the fact that segregated (or curated?) special-interest books or movies are no different than what Borders is under fire for doing. If we say that they're "curated," is that now okay??? Does that change it from racist or bigoted to thoughtful and sensitive?

So, what's the difference? Why is LGBTQ-category movies okay and good, and AA-category books BAD?

I think it's a legitimate question.

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Old 01-15-2020, 10:33 PM   #186
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Meera, you're assuming it's only relevant to digital stories. And it's not necessarily "different." At Amazon, you get TWO categories--period. Maybe, sure, you choose AA and Romance, or AA and Mystery or LGBTQ & whatever, but what if it's YA AA Romance? You're going to miss out on something. It's NOT only for B&M.
I've given examples above of Amazon books currently ranked in three categories. For all I know they are listed in more and only ranked in three.

Right now, Pride by Ibi Zoboi, a YA AA romance, is ranked #1 in Teen & Young Adult Fiction about Class Difference, #1 in Teen & Young Adult Diversity & Multicultural Fiction, and #1 in Teen & Young Adult Historical Romance. I'm not sure if there's a way to tell whether it is listed in other categories also, but clearly it's not confined to only two on Amazon. If it is confined to two elsewhere (or three on Amazon), that's a limitation with the implementation of that particular system, and not something immutable or essential.

On Goodreads, Pride is listed in five front-page categories (Young Adult, Romance, Fiction, Contemporary, and Retellings), and clicking through to all shelves gives many more.

Another issue is who chooses the categories. Is it Amazon, or is it the author/publisher? My understanding is that it is not Amazon, so this is not being imposed from a seller with the effect of limiting/ghettoising the audience. I am also finding pages saying that a book can be listed in ten categories, though that seems to be starting to get into the search-optimisation arcana. Either way, two is demonstrably not the limit.

There is also the issue of discoverability. There is one main way to discover books in a bookshop: go to the genre section you want, and look at the shelves. There are also paid endcaps/front-of-store displays and hand-selling, but going to your favourite genre is the main way. On a digital store, categories/browse paths are not the only way to discover books. Are they even the main way? I don't use that at all for discovering digital books, but I'm obviously not everyone.

I don't know what you mean by "you're assuming it's only relevant to digital stories"? I am, again, talking about print books in bricks and mortar bookshops. The ONLY problem with shelving AA romance in the AA section is if this means that therefore AA romance won't appear in the romance section, and will therefore not be available to people looking for romance books in the romance section. I'd be perfectly happy if they were double-shelved.

If they are digital books and they are available both to romance seekers and also available to seekers of AA books of no particular genre, what is the problem with that, in your mind?

Quote:
So, what's the difference? Why is LGBTQ-category movies okay and good, and AA-category books BAD?
I haven't asserted that. If it was a hardcopy DVD store and all of the action movies with LGBTQ characters were pulled out of the Action section by the shopkeeper and shoved in the little LGBTQ section at the back instead, I'd object to that too.

Last edited by meeera; 01-15-2020 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:43 AM   #187
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I don't think so. Why shouldn't romances featuring predominantly black leads be mixed in with the rest of romance?
Because the store thinks (presumably based on their experience) that they will sell better where they are.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:19 AM   #188
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I saw a place once that had "male" and "female" authors separate thinking it was helpful.

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Old 01-16-2020, 08:57 AM   #189
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I've given examples above of Amazon books currently ranked in three categories. For all I know they are listed in more and only ranked in three.
I'll asnwer the rest of this later, as I'm running into a meeting, but the publisher gets TWO categories into which to put a book. Amazon may, later, at its OWN discretion, not the publisher's, add other SEARCH or keyword-search categories to it, but those are not created, managed, chosen, etc., by the Publisher. Hell, if you don't believe me, ask any self-pubbed author here--or trade-pubbed, for that matter. Two Bisac categories and that's IT.

Those additional, Amazon-added search-term items are nearly accidental.

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Old 01-16-2020, 11:00 AM   #190
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I'll asnwer the rest of this later, as I'm running into a meeting, but the publisher gets TWO categories into which to put a book. Amazon may, later, at its OWN discretion, not the publisher's, add other SEARCH or keyword-search categories to it, but those are not created, managed, chosen, etc., by the Publisher. Hell, if you don't believe me, ask any self-pubbed author here--or trade-pubbed, for that matter. Two Bisac categories and that's IT.

Those additional, Amazon-added search-term items are nearly accidental.
Are dozens (hundreds?) of bloggers all conspiring to lie, or have you missed something, or are we talking at cross purposes, or has something changed very recently? (Or some other communication failure mode. Anything's possible.) Here are just two examples (of many) of advice on how to add your book to more categories.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:33 AM   #191
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Are dozens (hundreds?) of bloggers all conspiring to lie, or have you missed something, or are we talking at cross purposes, or has something changed very recently? (Or some other communication failure mode. Anything's possible.) Here are just two examples (of many) of advice on how to add your book to more categories.
Which confirms exactly what I told you. You get TWO categories--and yes, Amazon, NOT YOU, can categorize the book by other areas, if it chooses to, based on keywords and searches. ??? What's the problem here, Meera? I realize that dang, my company has only produced >5,000 books for customers over the last decade, so I obviously have NO IDEA what the hell I'm talking about, but that article confirms what I said to you in my prior post.

Yes, if you email them and ask for additional categories, they will--if they choose--add them to the book, but what that blogger doesn't say, in all that guru advice, is despite what Amazon said, in 2017, they stopped doing that wholesale, because--wait for it--too many self-pubs were abusing it. As always. For the exact same reason that tagging went bye-bye, and "additional images" from the publisher, and on and on and on. Yes, there are always ways to work around it, primarily through Author Central--but the bottom line is, for "everyone," Amazon offers two categories.

Which has nothing to do with my original question--Logically, why is segregation of "some" minority media/art, like movies, okay, but it's bad for other minorities? Or, hell, the same minorities?

I'm sorry, but the logic is the logic and I, for one, would like an actual answer to that, instead of arguing about whether taking 30 steps in a B&M store is "different" than having to click over to two or three different search categories online? (Believe me, if you run your own website, you know full well that the High Holy Rule of online marketing and search is, you absolutely do NOT ask people to search in 2-3-4 places, [because they won't do it; people searching online are even less patient, notoriously so, than people in a physical store], so that argument doesn't really hold water. )

And regardless--segregating stories, based on some characteristic of a group of people, whether a racial or sexual minority or whatever, is either GOOD or BAD. You're arguing that it's okay to have both, in this or that "special" circumstance. It's either bigotry or it's not, and this "oh, well, it's okay over here, because party A did this or that and they said this or that or they have this kind of store..." that's just diverting the discussion from the real question of LOGIC.

Or, is the answer that there isn't any logic; it's what some people FEEL on any given day, depending on their mood?

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Old 01-16-2020, 11:40 AM   #192
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And regardless--segregating stories, based on some characteristic of a group of people, whether a racial or sexual minority or whatever, is either GOOD or BAD. You're arguing that it's okay to have both, in this or that "special" circumstance. It's either bigotry or it's not, and this "oh, well, it's okay over here, because party A did this or that and they said this or that or they have this kind of store..." that's just diverting the discussion from the real question of LOGIC.

Or, is the answer that there isn't any logic; it's what some people FEEL on any given day, depending on their mood?

Hitch
OK, I was trying to assume good faith and not take on a confrontational tone, but with all your shouting that's now rapidly running out.

I don't know how to say this differently to how I've already said it over and over: segregating stories is bad. "Romance is romance is romance so long as it's white, but if there's a black character it's AA only, AND NOT romance" - is bad. It's not about 30 steps being an Impossible Journey, it's about romance readers not knowing the book is there. It's about the book not being discoverable by a huge chunk of its potential target audience. Because someone else decided for them that romance readers don't read AA romance - or that AA romance isn't "real" romance? - or something of the sort, and that therefore the book must be segregated.

And so, we end up with a situation where not a single AA author has ever won a Rita. It's not the only factor, but this attitude, and all of its ugly little cousins, is part of the problem.

Now: segregating is bad, but listing/shelving books in multiple categories is not bad. Not in B&M stores, not online. Because that's about enhancing discoverability and opportunity, not limiting it. If you haven't been in the position of being a person in a marginalised group desperately searching for some sort of representation in story, I don't expect you to have a visceral understanding of what that's like. But maybe you could try to imagine it, or listen to others who have been, and are, in that position.

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Old 01-16-2020, 01:06 PM   #193
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Now: segregating is bad, but listing/shelving books in multiple categories is not bad. Not in B&M stores, not online. Because that's about enhancing discoverability and opportunity, not limiting it. If you haven't been in the position of being a person in a marginalised group desperately searching for some sort of representation in story, I don't expect you to have a visceral understanding of what that's like. But maybe you could try to imagine it, or listen to others who have been, and are, in that position.
One problem I see with your view that the AA romances originally being discussed are not going to be shelved in multiple locations in that hypothetical B&M store. If they are shelved in a separate section, that would be the only location so the average romance reader is not likely to browse that section unless they go actively looking for it. Even the biggest of big box B&M stores is not going to file books in multiple locations within the store.

I find it a massive step from shelving to suggesting that this is why few "persons of color" have won a RITA since as far as I recall, the author has to enter the book(s) and pay for the privilege of doing so and the judges are selected by the RWA for both the preliminary and final rounds. No public input requested or needed.

As for suggesting that someone does not know what it is like to be marginalised or to be the object of discrimination without knowing that person? Just be careful not to hurt yourself falling off that oversized soap box.

Admittedly after the lecture I received for stating that I liked Eric Bogle's song Now I'm Easy, (evidently the line "No flying doctor then, just a gentle old black 'gin" is abhorrent to anyone with a social conscience), I should know enough to gently saunter away when such discussions start.

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Old 01-16-2020, 04:19 PM   #194
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Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
I find it a massive step from shelving to suggesting that this is why few "persons of color" have won a RITA since as far as I recall, the author has to enter the book(s) and pay for the privilege of doing so and the judges are selected by the RWA for both the preliminary and final rounds. No public input requested or needed.
I don't think anyone has suggested that the segregated shelving is the reason why so few authors of color have won the RITA. Rather, both these have the same root cause, ie. racism.

Note, I'm not suggesting that the people in charge of placing books in bookstores have consciously thought: "I don't like black people, so I'll put books by black authors in a separate shelf to make their books harder to find so they will sell less."
Rather, they have been thinking that these books aren't so interesting or relatable for most readers (read "white readers"), and that only people who are especially interested will want to read them. This will, of course, turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here's another thread about racism in publishing, from a few years ago: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/9...?refreshed=yes :
Quote:
Harlequin tends to celebrate its RITA-finaling authors—they’re very proud of the fact that their series authors write wonderful books that capture hearts, and they *should* be. Those authors are often given pride of place at their publisher signings.
Phyllis Bourne, who was attending RWA, was not invited to sign her RITA finalist book at their signing. She wasn’t invited to sign at all. She reminded them she had a RITA finalist (was, IIRC, the only black Harlequin finalist?), and they just snubbed her.
If you’re not familiar with Harlequin lines, Kimani was the “African American” line, which basically meant the authors (not the characters, the characters didn’t have to be African American!) were black.
The other lines are defined by things like common plot elements. They are also predominantly—and I mean in a *big* way—written by white women. (There are exceptions. We are just talking predominance right now).
(If you look at the Ripped Bodice, 4.8% of Harlequin series authors are POC. That dismal number *includes* all the Kimani authors. So that tells you how bad their percentages are in non-Kimani lines.)
Things got worse with Harlequin as conference approached. Harlequin had a conference call with authors from multiple lines—not including authors from Kimani. Harlequin told these (almost entirely white) authors that they needed to start writing diversely.
Of note is that Harlequin didn’t contact Kimani authors asking them to write for other lines—something that many of them had repeatedly asked to do for years. They just asked their white authors to write diversely.
...
It got worse at conference. An editor who worked for Harlequin approached an award winning black author and told her, to her face, that she didn’t want her books, but she wanted her to help her develop a guide for white authors writing diversely.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:53 PM   #195
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Originally Posted by hildea View Post
I don't think anyone has suggested that the segregated shelving is the reason why so few authors of color have won the RITA. Rather, both these have the same root cause, ie. racism.

Note, I'm not suggesting that the people in charge of placing books in bookstores have consciously thought: "I don't like black people, so I'll put books by black authors in a separate shelf to make their books harder to find so they will sell less."
Rather, they have been thinking that these books aren't so interesting or relatable for most readers (read "white readers"), and that only people who are especially interested will want to read them. This will, of course, turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here's another thread about racism in publishing, from a few years ago: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/9...?refreshed=yes :
Quote:
An editor who worked for Harlequin approached an award winning black author and told her, to her face, that she didn’t want her books
That's very anecdotal. Is there actually any real evidence that happened?
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