Wednesday, February 01, 2006

New York Times Debut, Allison Brennan, THE PREY

Another debut novel hits the New York Times bestseller list! Congratulations to Allison Brennan with her fabulous debut, THE PREY.

Now.....Let's take a wild guess. What color is Allison Brennan? Well, let's see. Debut novel. New York Times bestseller list.

Of course, she's white.

What difference does that make, you ask? Well.....they're always white. Name a romantic suspense novel written by a black author that debuted on the New York Time bestseller list. Go ahead. Give it your best shot.

Do you think Ms. Brennan has ever given a single thought to the fact that if she were black, this rare success never would've happened? Probably not. Do you think that fact bothers her in the slightest? I doubt it. After all, why should it? She's not black....and that's all that matters, right?

Let's face it, white authors don't give a damn about the unfair treatment their fellow black authors receive in publishing. They don't care one bit.

They're all too busy enjoying the privileges of being white.

Disclaimer: No disrespect to Allison Brennan. I in no way meant to imply that her talent may not speak for itself. Just pointing out that she had none of the concerns and hinderances she would have if she'd happen to be black. I felt the need to clarify due to all the indignant exaggerations of my intent floating around the blogosphere. Yes, it's a harsh post. I'm being subjected to treatment far harsher still. Forgive me. :0)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Can you get anymore to the point? This is so true though. You know she has to be white. That is so true.

2/10/2006 6:50 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

"The Prey" is not a debut novel for Ms. Brennan: this is her third novel. It debuted on the NYT bestseller list.

But beyond that fact, with all due respect, I must say that I find this post to be extraordinarily unfair.

Do you know Ms. Brennan personally? Do you know for a fact that she doesn't care about the unfairness? If you've never had a conversation with her about the problem, how can you make such statements?

You assume that because an author is white, he or she must not "give a damn." How fair is that?

And more importantly, what would you have white writers do? Should those of us who aren't black stop writing?

That whites have an advantage in publishing because of our color is unfair, unquestionably. But exactly how do you leap from that to the accusation that no white writers care that the problem exists?

And beyond that, who is to blame: those white writers who find themselves on the bestseller list, or the publishers that market books on the basis of the author's skin color? It seems to me that your anger and hostility are aimed at the wrong people.

2/11/2006 10:21 PM  
Blogger Bestselling Author, Pontif. said...

I think you're mistaken, Patrick because THE PREY is her debut novel. The order of the trilogy is THE PREY, THE HUNT, THE KILL. You can check it out on her website, as I just did to make sure.

Now to respond to your charge that I am aiming my hosility and anger at the wrong people. No I don't know Ms. Brennan nor do I know if she is even aware of this situation. I suppose that's what frustrates me - who is aware? Who wants to be aware? Who cares? It just feels like we are alone to fight this uphill battle and nobody that carries on freely, unaffected, care to know and help those of us who are affected, speak out.

So basically you're right. It is not fair for me to make that blanket statement. What can white authors do? They can take an interest. They can support authors of color a lot more than they do. Seek a few out, as someone else said before in a blog somewhere (I forget where now), they can help bridge the gap.

Now I'm off to bed, it's nearly midnight and I'm poofed. You really let me have it, Patrick! Now I feel bad for spewing my frustrations so unabashedly!

Sorry, but you remember what I said before on your blog about writing while black.......

2/12/2006 12:00 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

As I said on my own blog in response to your comment, I can't say that I know how you feel...for obvious reasons.

But I can at least imagine why you're upset and how I'd feel in the same situation.

More than anything else, I wanted to point out that there are white writers who are bothered by this unequalness, even if it seems that there isn't much (besides dialog) that we can really do about it.

As for the error about Brennan's novels, my apologies. Her site mentions that "The Hunt" just debuted on the NYT list as well, so I think I must have had the two titles confused.

2/12/2006 12:56 AM  
Blogger Millenia Black said...

I agree we can't rake poor Allison Brennan over the coals like this! Gosh, it seems she was just in the wrong place (NYT Bestseller List) at the wrong time (hell, pick a time, any time) to spurn Pontif's wrath to unleash, eh? LOL

I see it this way. It's possible for a debut novelist to make the NYT Bestseller List with said debut. It's happening all the time. It's possible. So now we must deal with the racial discrimination aspect. That's what's hindering authors of color - not the lack of unawareness among fellow white authors.

I see the point though. Just the way Tess Gerritsen is willing to step out and discuss it, I agree that more non- black authors should as well. It's relevant to the atmosphere of their profession. It's relevant to them.

2/12/2006 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Kay said...

I know I'm a bit late in commenting on this but I just found your blog, and this post is particularly thought provoking.

I don't believe that all white authors are indifferent to the treatment of African American authors. I'm not a published author but I am white and I care. I am sure that far too many people of all races don't care.

As a white female I can say that I've never be discriminated againest based on race, but that doesn't make me any less sympathic to those who have experienced this sort of discrimination.

If one wishes to have an impact on racism in the publishing industry one has to make a point to read black authors. I say make a point because novels by African Americans tend to receive less shelf space and less marketing dollars. However I am unsure what you believe a white author should do. I would be interested on hearing you view on this subject.

3/14/2006 6:31 AM  
Blogger Bestselling Author, Pontif. said...

Hi's never too late to comment. Thanks for joining in, I appreciate it.

To answer your query, I'll repost a snippet from a comment I left on the 2/15/06 post:

Am I saying white authors should jump up and fight this oppression alongside us, as if they too are victims? No, that's not what I'm saying.

I'm saying they shouldn't be indifferent. Nonchalant. This is happening here, in the US, our own country. Our own backyard, if you will; which should be cleaned up first.

It's like we're all employees working in the same company, we authors. To sit at your desk purposefully keeping your head buried in your own work while alongside you a fellow co-worker is habitually mistreated, is essentially condoning the egregious treatment. Say something. Speak against it. Tell an HR rep what you see happening that's wrong, then return to your desk. You've done all you can. You've done what you'd want that co-worker to do for you if the situation were reversed. You can't take it on as if it's happening to you, but you can take a supportive stand; Put your position on the record. Speak out against it. Don't condone it. Tess Gerritsen's done this. It's what she can do. It's not her problem, but at least she's not turning a blind eye and a deaf ear. Most "unaffected" authors and industry folk do. That's all I'm saying.

3/14/2006 9:23 AM  

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