Sunday, August 03, 2008
I may not be a fan of the Affaire de Coeur magazine, but credit where credit is due. Affaire de Coeur does review and otherwise cover the work of African American authors in a way most industry magazines and websites do not. They do not categorically refuse gay romance like Romantic Times magazine (although I have yet to see a gay romance review on their pages). I think AdC should be up front and easy to find at conventions if only because Romantic Times desperately needs some competition to shake up their own thinking when it comes to diversity issues.
So it is unfortunate to read the following at the AdC blog: "Around mid-afternoon I went back to the goody room to restock magazines, business cards and subscription cards only to find that all had been removed. In the places where we had been set up was a virtually identical set up of Romantic Times magazine. All of our business cards, magazines and subscription cards had been removed and replaced ... After visiting with several of the participants in the room, I found out that many people had things who had just disappeared and their space taken over like they had never been there. Among this group were the alternative lifestyle authors as well as some of the other groups who might not walk the traditional path."
I would have hoped that after the Manloveromance problem at the Romantic Times convention last year the lesson would have been learned. Conventions cannot discriminate and they cannot let other attenders do it while they stand by and "not concern themselves with any of those sorts of issues". Sheer selfishness is enough motive for most people, but a dose of direct competition or bigotry with mean that small outfits and minority groups will always bear the brunt of this sort of crap, unless the host of the event steps in.
Thank you to the staff of Affaire de Coeur staff for doing what they could. I can only imagine how craptastic it is for authors and publishers to devise fun promotional materials only to have someone move or bin them when no one is looking. And bravo to Bonnie Kirby to say what many people have been thinking: "This year, I'm convinced it is done by parties who feel that they have the right to edit and control what all participants see ... The fact is that the literary world is not defined by one group's opinions nor are they in a position to determine what all of the attendees are exposed to. Sadly, based on past issues of this sort, they will continue to behave in this dishonorable manner and RWA and similar organizations will just allow it."