Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Horse of a Different Color

So I always dreamed of being like Jackie Collins or Danielle Steel. Of having a career that had nothing to do with my color, everything to do with my stories.

I dreamed of reaching an audience so large that I, too, would one day sell over 400-500 million novels. Or over 300 million, like Sidney Sheldon. Or over 200 million, like Nora Roberts. Or (even) over 70 million, like Sandra Brown. My dream was sooo bright; as bright as the sun itself. I always believed it was attainable. Sink or swim...

I thought there was an equal opportunity.

But despite the current atmosphere, I still have a great deal of faith in the American publishing industry. I am an American. And I believe we can repair the hurtful, Jim Crowesque climate that plagues American publishing. We must. For as Eckhart Tolle carefully explains in A NEW EARTH: What we do to others, we do to ourselves.

I maintain confidence that my stories will find their way into the American mainstream, where they belong. Like any other, they deserve to have a fair chance in the marketplace, don't they? Unfettered by any "color-of-the-author" impositions?

If Reginald Brooks and family can be Polish, and Turkish...surely they can be American. Very few self-published novels prove themselves to be captivating stories with tremendous universal appeal. So that proven appeal validates the dream I've always had for my stories, and keeps it alive. Who knows? I may even be inclined to launch my own (equal opportunity) publishing empire to help foster fair chance in the industry; set an example for what it means to provide equal opportunity...

The last three years of my life have been dreadful...but now, thank God, healing begins; because what I know for sure is this: I am, as they say, a flame keeper. And the flame glows brightly. I can see it going before me now, leading the way to a much better experience.

On Writing.
The seeds of a third book (THE GREAT MASTERMIND) have been patiently awaiting my return to the keyboard. Those seeds deserve life and nourishment; it's high time I saw to them. And ditto for my blog! There's so much going on these days, and I've not had an ounce of energy to participate. But I'm getting back to creating now. After being down in the dumps, unable to write for such a long, long time - I pledge to start living again. That means birthing my next page-turner! I know my fans have been patiently waiting...and I love them for it.

The Discrimination Lawsuit.
I've received several inquiries about the status. I'm very pleased to share that the matter has now been resolved to my satisfaction through an agreement, the terms of which can never be discussed.

In the interest of my blog's archival integrity, I fully disclose that all previous discussions about the case have been removed. There will be no further information about the lawsuit on my blog. I'm extremely happy to have this heartbreak behind me - I give beaucoup thanks to my wonderful attorney. And I likewise send a deep, heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who offered their unwavering support. I'll remember it always.

Census: Bestsellerdom.
Beyond all of that, here's a very important question:

Was having such a dream foolhardy?

Would Jackie Collins, or Danielle Steel, or Nora Roberts all have been foolish to dream of achieving what they have, in fact, achieved?

Should the horse have known not to enter the race? Is having a white body a prerequisite for access to the stratosphere of the commercial fiction business? Access to the upper crust, where Jackie, Danielle, Nora (et al.) reside?

"The Negro was to accept the biracial system and his subordinate status. He was to seek advancement within the confines of his segregated black world. He was to develop the friendship of influential whites and use their assistance.

By cultivating habits of hard work, thrift, and honesty, he was to demonstrate his claim to wider acceptance and better treatment. Above all, he was never to present any organized challenge to the existing order of things or engage in movements which might be regarded by whites as detrimental to their economic and political interest." - Booker T. Washington

Boy. Why can't we simply stop making color distinctions and just allow love to unite all Americans?

Is Booker T's observation of 100 years ago -still- true for commercial fiction publishing in the United States? If so, who bears the responsibility?

At this time in our history -2008- does our publishing establishment have any non-white, commercial fiction authors with sales/audience comparable to Danielle Steel's? Jackie Collins'? Or (even) Sandra Brown's? If so, who?

(Well, I guess there are a few very important questions.)

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  1. That's fabulous Millenia, now you can finally get on with your life and career.

  2. Hi, Millenia! I was so glad to see a new post from you on my reader! And such good news, congratulations! As Karen said, you can finally move on to bigger and better things! You know I'm behind you 100%.

    As to your question. I'm guilty of not reading much beyond the general sections. As you know, I came to read your books when I met you at the signing here in DC. Then when I heard about this situation, it got me interested in venturing beyond the general shelves to see what else is out there...and why I have to go somewhere else to find them. But my point is that, I don't know much about minority authors, or if there are any who have hundreds of millions of copies sold. Something tells me there aren't any, which underscores the problem. Maybe others might know of a few...?

    Anyway, I just want to congratulate you and say can't wait for the next book! Great to see you back!! Love, Gina

  3. Millenia mate - so glad everything has turned the corner for you :)

    Were worried about you there for a while ***hugs***

    Now, sympathy over, sit down and write that third book LOL!!!!

  4. Thanks, Ladies. It's great to be writing again!

  5. Rebecca Donna TricolliMay 17, 2008 9:12 AM

    Millenia!! You're BACK! That's fantabulous!! Have missed ya, and like Sally expressed, was very concerned.....so glad everything is back on the right track!

    Was having such a dream foolhardy?

    I know it's harder for African American writers to break into the mainstream (hence none on the level of the mega-names you mention), but NO WAY is it foolish to dream of reaching the highest point of any profession or industry! I know it might seem that way, but the real question is why you have to raise such a question in the first place.......

    I think other authors who dream the same dream just have to go for it, as you are, overcoming the obstacles because that's the only way to make them eventually go away.

    If I know anything about you, it's that you're a survivor and you will succeed! You deserve it! Keep your flame bright, Mil!

    Best Regards,

  6. Congratulations, and all the best to you in the future.

    Bettye Griffin


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