Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dear Bloomsbury:

Dear Bloomsbury:

By the time you read this I'll be gone. I will be off reading, selling and promoting books by any other house. It pains me to have to write this letter, but you left me no choice. After the Liar cover controversy, I thought we understood each other better. Obviously I was wrong. I will spell out for you now. I will give you a little customer insight, so maybe you'll find a way to win a few of us back. I am not the only one who has decided to say no to Bloomsbury, nor am I the first and I won't be the last. It wasn't the lack of a Brown face on the Liar cover that caused the outrage. It was the whitewashing.

How long did you think it would take before people started take notice of this new cover lie? When did you realize that you couldn't get away with putting a White girl on the cover of Dolamore's YA debut Magic Under Glass where the main character is clearly a person of color. When did you start to sweat, Bloomsbury? Was it here or here, or how about here.

Yes, it took a moment but people are talking and no one is shutting up anytime soon. We may disagree about how change should come about but we all agree it's necessary. Bloomsbury, when you decided to whitewash yet another YA cover, you left me no choice. Boycott it is. I hate that I must do this but its pretty clear the only thing you care about, is your bottom line.

I had a few Bloomsbury titles in my hand selling repertoire, no more. I refuse to go on business as usual like nothing is wrong. We've come to a very ugly place and we didn't even have to be here. There is no law that requires all YA books have cover faces. Bloomsbury, you don't want to put Brown faces on your covers, fine. But, that doesn't give you the right to insult and disrespect me with whitewashed covers.

I can't promote or sell books by a publishing house that regularly enforces the idea that Brown isn't good enough. Bloomsbury, I won't help you profit while you willingly let teens of color doubt their self worth.

Boycotting was not an easy decision for me. It still makes me sick to think what I am doing will hurt authors, who have done nothing wrong. Isn't that what you want Bloomsbury, potential boycotters to worry how their actions will impact authors careers and livelihoods . Bloomsbury, I wouldn't put it past you, to bank on this well placed concern for authors as protection against a finical hit.

It was this last bit of thinking that sold me on the idea that boycotting was the right thing (for me ) to do. Bloomsbury, if you cared about your authors and readers, you would not have put us in this situation. There will be more booksellers and even book buyers who will decide to say no to Bloomsbury.

The only Bloomsbury title I will actively sell is Larbalestier's Liar to prove Brown can sell. I know it doesn't sell as well as White but who's fault is that. Publishers deemed White girls the only worthy girls on YA covers a long time ago. It will take time to correct the brainwashing.

There is one title I am on the fence about saying goodbye to Cook's Our Children Can Soar Bloomsbury please, tell me why you decided to publish Our Children Can Soar, when you routinely step on the wings of many young people with your only White is right cover complex.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted 382 days. That took love, faith, strength and determination. Many people risked so much to bring about change. This in comparison is nothing. I will do what I deem necessary for change and say no to Bloomsbury.


Color Online said...


Tasha said...

Well done. I applaud you for taking such a stand.

Jeannine said...

Oh I love Our Children Can Soar. Hard to believe it is the same people. I just don't get it.

Sarah Rettger said...

Powerful statement, Doret.

Vasilly said...

I'm with you 100%. Bloomsbury will no longer be receiving any of my money.

James Preller said...

You know the slow clap in movies? When a person stands up in a crowd, starts clapping really slowly? Then another joins in, then another -- faster now, louder -- until everybody is clapping like crazy and the whole place goes nuts?

That's what this makes me want to do, and at the same time, it's what each post on this topic feels like. One more voice joining the chorus.

Doret, you know I'm a big fan. You did good.

Eva said...

Wonderful post! I don't read/buy YA lit, but I'm still boycotting Bloomsbury in spirit. So I'm with you!

Anonymous said...

Your post has been included in a Linkspam roundup