In an email interview with GalleyCat, she explained her problem with labels in the contemporary publishing industry: “[Publishers] have placed all African-American authors in one box, forcing them to compete for the attention of ONE audience,” she explained, calling the practice “Seg-Book-Gation”–voicing a concern that we’ve heard from other writers as well. What do you think?
McFadden continued: “Art of any medium should transcend color, race, class, religion and ethnicity, but alas, that is not the case in the publishing world … We’re expected to push our books on the streets like our Urban Lit writing colleagues. But we are not hustlers–we are writers.”
Finally, she concluded: “I believe the key is cross-marketing … The success of the novels “The Help” by Kathyrn Stockett and “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd was due to cross-marketing by Penguin. Even though the cast of characters in both books are predominately African-American, the books were not pigeon-holed as ‘Black Books’ because they were written by white women.”