The Next Black Publishing Generation Speaks
Although the book industry remains overwhelmingly white—87% of respondents to PW’s most recent annual salary survey identify as Caucasian—there is undeniably a new and passionate generation of young black professionals working inside publishing houses.
To get their perspective on the industry, PW spoke with a group of 20- and 30-somethings that included Georgia Bodnar, associate editor, Viking; Milena Brown, publicity manager, Atria; Rakia Clark, senior editor, Beacon Press; Christian Coleman, associate digital marketing manager, Beacon Press; Nicole Counts, associate editor, One World; Devin Funches, sales and marketing manager, Lion Forge Comics; Zakia Henderson-Brown, associate editor and strategic partnerships coordinator, New Press; Chelcee Johns, editorial assistant, 37 Ink; Ebony Ladelle, senior marketing manager, HarperTeen; Tolani Osan, corporate marketing associate, Simon & Schuster; and Christina “Steenz” Stewart, associate editor, Lion Forge Comics.
Out this week is Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones, the first of two volumes in George R. R. Martin’s faux-history of the dragonlords of House Targaryen, ancestors to its last survivor, young Queen Daenerys. It begins with Aegon the Conqueror and the forging of the Iron Throne, and carries through subsequent generations, and the family’s battles to keep it. It’s backstory that’s only been glimpsed before, and some of the most intriguing Westeros has to offer, set in the days when dragons ruled the skies.
It’s also a reminder that Martin’s world is a whole lot larger than the events of the book series proper, and that we may be putting too much weight on our desire to see it brought to conclusion. Yes, we’ve all been waiting seven years for book six, let alone the concluding seventh volume. Certainly, we want to know what happens. But does the ending define this particular saga? Does it matter at all who sits the Iron Throne, or whether a Stark rules in Winterfell?
How does an author turn a viral article into a published book? In the case of writer Gemma Hartley, whose September 2017 Harper’s Bazaar article on emotional labor, “Women Aren’t Nags—We’re Just Fed Up,” went viral on publication, it helped that she was prepared. “This was one of the few cases throughout my freelance career when I thought, I could write a whole book on this,” she said.
Since there were several months between filing her article and its publication, she had time to mull over the topic. When the article exploded online, with over half a million social media shares, she was contacted by literary agents. By that point, Hartley says, she already had a “rough outline” in mind for the book, which felt like “a natural, if surreal, next step.” Her expanded exploration of the topic, Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward, was published by HarperOne on November 13.