Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Their Eyes Were Reading Smut - Millenia's Take

Nick Chiles recently expressed his anger and frustration about the state of our industry, the racial divide in publishing, with an Op-Ed contribution in the NY Times on January 4th.

My Take?
Mr. Chiles (and others with equally faulty reasoning) should remove his head from his skin—and focus on being an AUTHOR. One who has a book(s) to sell to the book buying public. Period.

Why relegate yourself to being in competition with the “Legit Ballers” and “Chocolate Flavas” of the market? None of them are dominating the New York Times Bestsellers List week after week. Where’s the threat?

Yes, publishing is a business, and “ghetto fiction” wouldn’t be in demand if there wasn’t a market supporting it. Why knock the success of those books? That’s very shallow ground to stand on. They sell. Leave them alone. More power to their authors.

The more appropriate question is this: Why don’t you have ACCESS to the OCEAN of readers in the market who are reading more intelligent writing? Where’s the business sense in restricting yourself to the confines of a “subsection” of consumers, then criticizing them for what they choose to read? Readers have a right to read what they want. Go appeal to the ones that are reading all those NY Times Bestsellers every week—a good 85% of the book buying market. Stop competing for the scraps in the remaining 15%.

Mr. Chiles has a right to his feelings of defeat, disrespect, and to being troubled about his future in the industry, but his gripe is misaimed, at an offender that really isn't.



  1. I wonder if Mr. Chiles has read this post. Probably not. He's too busy being a color 1st, and an author 2nd.

    Great post.

  2. Amen to that. But, he's not alone, and that's a huge part of the problem, I think. A great many authors are victims of that faulty, inferior reasoning. They play right into the imbalance.

  3. hm. I responded to Chiles' piece over at

    yours is an interesting take, as is pontif's.


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