Okay, last year at the Harlem Book fair I didn’t fare so well. I came home with all but one the books I brought to sell and lost over $400.00.
So why am I doing the fair again this year? I realize the opportunity to attend the fair is bigger than me.
Many in the African-American community complain about the quality of the books offered at the fair, how there are so many titles focused mostly on the negative experiences of African-Americans and not much else. However, few of those who complaining are willing to offer something different to the reading audience.
My mission as an author and self-publisher is to provide readers with positive stories about the African-American experience. If I want to share those stories with my audience I realize I have to put last year’s failure behind me and persevere.
I feel giving readers a choice is worth more than the money for me. The fair is my opportunity to offer readers a choice of what I believe is quality literature. Whether they choose to buy my books or not, I have to make every effort to allow readers to have that choice. People in America often take their freedom of choice for granted; many don’t truly appreciate what it is they have.
In areas like art, literature and even commerce many in the African-American community don’t realize how a lack of diversity has limited their freedom of choice. Books open the world to readers, and when there aren’t many types of books offered to readers their opportunity to view the world becomes narrowed. Different stories give readers different perspectives, and expand people’s understanding of the world around them. Venues like the Harlem Book Fair need to have more than one type of Black experience offered to readers. I’m hoping to offer an expanded selection of titles along with a few surprises.
The Harlem Book Fair will be July 17-19 2010 on West 135th Street. If you're in the New York area then, Come to my table!