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Should Publishers Get Rid Of African-American Imprints?

December 31, 2009 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I read an interesting article linked on this blog post. I’ve blogged about a simliar topic in the past here, here, here, and here, and wonder how the sales will be on my next novel since an African-American woman is on the cover and the book will be released into most major stores: including Walmart and most bookstores that carry Christian novels.

Last summer, when I was at the Romance Writers of America conference in Washington D.C., I was talking to my roommate, author Rachel Hauck. I told her about the stigma of African-American novels – some White people think the stories are for “us” not “them”. Plus, if there are Black people on the cover, the book is sometimes automatically shelved in the African-American section – and some Whites don’t search that section for reading material.

The flipside is, if my book is shelved with White books, therefore placing my title in front of White readers, they still might not buy my novel, but, then again, they might.

I told her that I hoped that my publisher would not place a person on the cover. I’d mentioned that I’d seen that some of the covers for the 3-in-1s had just scenery, no people. That’s the way I wanted my novel to look. You see, I’d heard that Barbour’s 3-in-1s sell really well, and I figured if I had a cover without people, like the other contemporary releases, then the sales figures that those books had would somewhat guarantee that I’d share the same sales numbers. (I know there are no guarantees at all, I was only speculating, hoping to increase my chances of getting some great sales.)

Rachel suggested that I let Barbour know what I wanted on my cover. Since I had not seen my cover yet, I figured there was still time to make my wishes known. I did contact them and gave them some samples of covers that I liked for other contemporary 3-in-1s.

I did get my cover a few weeks later. And here it is. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably already seen this cover a gazillion times:

I love the cover, and felt it captures the essence of the stories and looks better than what I’d suggested. Upon further research, I did discover that Barbour changed their convention for designing the covers for the 3-in-1s for the contemporary series that will be released in 2010. Prior to the 2010 releases, the cover always had scenery, but starting in 2010, the covers now have a person (either man or woman) on the cover. For their historicals, it appears they were already using the convention of using a person on the cover of their 3-in-1s in 2009 – so no major changes for the historicals.

Here’s some examples of the 3-in-1 covers for contemporary series for 2009:

Here are some examples of the NEW 3-in-1 covers for contemporary series for 2010:

I think the marketing department did a great job with the 2010 3-in-1 covers! They look beautiful and I think that having the people on the cover captures the power behind the story more than having just scenery.

HOWEVER, I’m wondering how my book will be shelved? For example, I visited Walmart over the Christmas holiday. Most Walmarts have the 3-in-1s shelved together, but since mine has an African-American woman on the cover, will it be shelved with the other 3-in-1s in the inspirational section, or will it be shelved in the African-American section? If somebody comes to Walmart each month to buy the 3-in-1s and mine is in the African-American section, instead of with the rest of the 3-in-1s, then I doubt they’ll know my book exists and I might lose a sale. I did notice that there were some African-American inspirational titles shelved in the African-American section.

ON THE FLIP SIDE, if my book is shelved in the African-American section, I could capture those readers who only read African-American books. They might go to the AA section only, without browsing the rest of the sections, not knowing that my book could be shelved amongst other books.

I believe the ideal solution would be to shelve it both places, but I highly doubt that’s going to happen!

I need to stop worrying about this because it’s all in the Lord’s hands. And before you say, “All of this shouldn’t matter, a book is a book…” well, don’t say that. It does matter. I’ve seen the way some African-Americans and some Whites read books. The sad fact is sometimes they do base or buy a book depending upon race. 🙁

Do you think I’m worrying about nothing?

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Release Your Creativity!!!

December 30, 2009 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas! On Christmas Eve, my husband and I were out shopping, looking for a gift for his grandfather. In the mall, I saw a Lego store, so I stopped and went in. Over the years, Legos have changed a lot! When I was a kid, they didn’t have these small kits that only build one thing, like a car or a helicopter. We just had piles of bricks and we’d build houses and buildings, take them apart and put them together again!

Nostalgia swept through me when I saw those same colorful blocks, the way I remembered them, in the back of the store! They had piles of blocks, separated by color, in bins that were set in the wall! You’d see a bubble of color and you could select the bricks you wanted and pay about fifteen dollars for a whole large cup of blocks. I was walking around, looking at the different kits that contained lots of blocks. I finally said, “We should get this for CJ (our son) for Christmas.” Hubby said, “That’s a good idea.”

I stood there looking at kits, blocks, talking about large base plates to build my house before hubby said…”Can we get out of here now?” I finally settled upon a set of Lego bricks in a large, bright blue plastic tub and a green base plate to set my house.

Anyway, on Christmas day, while everybody was opening presents, laughing, having a good time, I was sitting on the floor, playing with my “son’s” gift. He said, “Mommy, I’m going to knock your house over with this car.” (CJ’d gotten a remote control car for Christmas, actually he’d gotten 2 cars.) I was building a nice big house, but, alas, I ran out of bricks! The kit I’d gotten was only about half full of bricks, so there was room for more bricks in the bucket. When we got home from our Christmas trip, I went to and ordered another set of bricks. I want to build, build, build…and CJ can help me if he wants too.

CJ did play with the Legos a little bit on Christmas day. You know, I hear about writers doing collages, coloring, painting, doing all sorts of things to release their creativity. I don’t really do the above-mentioned activities very much…maybe building with Legos will help me release my creativity? It doesn’t hurt to try… 🙂

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2009 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Merry Christmas to all my blog readers! I’ll be heading out of town today, and I won’t be back until Monday! I doubt I’ll be posting any blog entries while I’m away because the internet connection at the house where I’ll be staying is kind of spotty!

I just baked my lemon pound cake early this morning and I still have a few gifts to wrap!

Be sure to enjoy your holiday! It’s not about the gifts, but it’s about the love of our Savior for us! Take some time to enjoy your family and friends and fellowship!

I think Christmas is too commercialized. Children see ads for new toys, and they want to add to the pile of toys that they already have in their home! Merchants are out to make money from the millions of shoppers (myself included) who need to buy Christmas gifts. I often wish Christmas was more like Thanksgiving…no gifts involved! Just food, fellowship and fun! But gifts are a part of most Christmas celebrations, so just remember not to focus on the commercial aspect of the holiday!

Merry Christmas! 🙂

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Coach And Eclipse

December 22, 2009 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I received my Coach items in the mail the other day. I’d take pictures to show them to you, but, I’m too lazy, plus, the items look exactly like the pics I borrowed from the Coach website in the above link.

Since I was snowed in most of Saturday and Sunday, I skimmed the third book in the Twilight series, Eclipse. I didn’t care for it. I read about 80 pages of it word for word before I started skimming. It’s a pretty large book, over six-hundred pages. Not sure why I didn’t care for it, but I didn’t. I enjoyed the first one, I also enjoyed about three quarters of the second book before I started skimming that one, the third one…well, I just felt there was something missing.

I have the last book in my to-be-read pile. Once I’ve read/skimmed that title, I’m giving them away on this blog. They take up too much space, and I don’t have room for them in this messy, book-filled house!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Christmas Snow!

December 20, 2009 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Here are the pics I mentioned yesterday! I took these in the afternoon…we did continue to get snow after that. I woke up about a half hour ago and it looked like the snow has stopped! I didn’t bother to open the door to take pics this AM, though!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Christmas Snow! :-)

December 20, 2009 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

The images above are stock photos…but…I did take pics with my camera today, just haven’t emailed them to myself yet!

Currently, we have 20″ of snow on the ground and it’s still snowing! It’s rare for us in Maryland to get that much snow…let alone, that much snow during the Christmas season! Our neighbors across the street turned on their Christmas lights and they look beautiful against the white snow! If I feel like it, I’ll post the pics tomorrow!

They’ve already closed most of the churches in the area tomorrow because of the high drifts outside! We received a phone call from our church, with an automated message from the pastor, stating that services will not be held tomorrow…

Hubby and I have lots of work to do tomorrow! Now we have to dig ourselves out! What a mess!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Shopping And Snow

December 19, 2009 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I did a little Christmas shopping today. I hate shopping, so I did not have a good time. It’s supposed to snow tonight and continue snowing this weekend! We don’t get much snow up here, so people have been talking about it a lot! When it snows, especially as much as they’re predicting, things shut down…businesses, stores, etc. And, it’s rare for it to snow, especially a predicted record-breaking snow, in December! If we get a sizeable amount of snow, it’ll usually occur in February or maybe January!

It’ll be interesting to see how the weekend pans out…getting so much snow around Christmastime in Maryland is a rare event, indeed!

Does it usually snow in your area during the Christmas season?

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Christmas Interview With Cecelia Dowdy

December 17, 2009 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Come to Jenny’s blog and read my interview about Christmas!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Chesapeake Weddings And Coach

December 17, 2009 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Chesapeake Weddings is about to go to press! I have to read through the galley and it’s due back to Barbour Publishing by January 6th. And, if you’ve read any of my Heartsong Presents titles – John’s Quest, Milk Money or Bittersweet Memories, feel free to leave a review on the link above! Chesapeake Weddings is a re-release of all three of those titles!

On another note, on this blog post, I wrote about the new Coach purse I’d received for my birthday. Since I carry the same purse around for years, I usually use a Coach since they are a high-quality handbag. Well, Coach comes with a life-time warranty. If your Coach purse becomes damaged from natural wear and tear, you can send it to the Coach factory and they’ll fix it. This used to be free, but, in recent years, you have to send a check for $20.00 to cover postage.

Well, the reason why I wanted a new Coach purse is because my old one had a broken zipper. The zipper was worn, right where the teeth of the zipper are located. I didn’t think they’d be able to fix my zipper because Coach zippers are stitched right into the leather. I couldn’t imagine them taking the stiches out of the leather, removing the old zipper, and replacing it with a new zipper while allowing the purse to still look the same.

Well, awhile back, Coach sent me a letter, stating that they couldn’t fix my purse, BUT they were offering me any item in their catalog for 40% off. I was telling my coworker about it, and I mentioned that I’d rather have a free small item, like a wallet or a change purse instead of getting a new item at 40% off. After all, I’d just gotten a new Coach purse, and I don’t switch purses, thus I didn’t really need another item just to use the 40% off offer. My coworker suggested I call Coach and explain that I already got a new purse and I didn’t need another one, so, might they give me a small item for free instead?

So, almost a week ago, I called them, stating my dilemma – I was sure to let the Coach employee know that I’d recently gotten a new Coach purse and didn’t need another. The lady put me on hold for a LONG TIME. She then asked for the reference number on my letter. She said that they were going to refund the $20.00 I’d paid for the repair, and they would send me a gift card for $107.20! I was excited! My coworker gave me a high five!

I just used my gift card a couple of days ago! I was able to get 3 small Coach items:
This wristlet was $58.00, and it matches the purse I received last summer!

This Skinny Mini was $38.00!

This pack of paper was $10.00

$106.00 = total

With tax, I ended up spending only five or six bucks of my own money. The shipping was free since the order is over $75.00. And…my refund check from Coach for $20.00 came in the mail today!

Isn’t that great?!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

New Heartsong Presents Author Blog

December 16, 2009 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Check out the new Heartsong Presents Author Blog! Each week they’ll feature an author! It’s a great way to get acquainted with the ladies who pen those great romances!

~Cecelia Dowdy~