In both of these instances, the authors have been outraged--and rightly so. Larbalestier's open disappointment with the cover portrayal encouraged readers to stand up against the blatant racism with her. The action even forced Bloomsbury to redesign the cover to "to better reflect the protagonist's appearance," Harding reports. But it was definitely forced.
Last summer, the publishing house Bloomsbury USA drew substantial criticism for featuring a white girl with long, straight hair on the cover of Australian author Justine Larbalestier's "Liar," a young adult novel about a girl whom the author describes as "black with nappy hair which she wears natural and short." At the time, Larbalestier blogged not only about her own disappointment but about similar examples of cover whitewashing, and the pervasive belief among publishing professionals that "black books don't sell" -an assumption apparently based on the premise that a "black cover" is the primary characteristic distinguishing such books from better selling titles. "Yet I have found few examples of books with a person of colour on the cover that have had the full weight of a publishing house behind them," said Larbalestier (adding in a footnote, "And most of those were written by white people").
The same publisher has done it again, releasing Jaclyn Dolamore's "Magic Under Glass" -- the protagonist of which is clearly described as having brown skin -- with a young white woman on the cover. Bloomsbury's fear of losing the white market was evidently greater than their embarrassment over the "Liar" debacle -- unless, of course, what they chiefly learned from the "Liar" debacle is that you don't need to put as much money into publicizing a novel if its packaging is sufficiently controversial (in which case, you're welcome, jerks).
Read the entire article HERE
But why do you think that is oh great publisher in the sky? Because you do nothing to change it.
[...]maybe sales numbers aren't the only important factor to consider here. Yeah, I know, faceless corporations, profits, shareholders, blah blah blah. But the decision-makers here are still human beings -- and more important, so are the consumers. In addition to the high probability that publishers have created a self-fulfilling prophecy where covers featuring models of color are concerned, they are hurting people with their current practices.
But as Anna North at Jezebel suggests, there's no reason not to send a bunch of angry letters. Adds Ari at Reading in Color, "We should keep blogging, emailing, writing about this issue" -- Bloomsbury's been shamed into doing the right thing once before, at least. And as Larbalestier said back in July, perhaps the most important thing we can do -- especially white people, who could easily read nothing but books about ourselves, and far too often take that option -- is prove the prevailing wisdom wrong. "When was the last time you bought a book with a person of colour on the front cover or asked your library to order one for you?" she asks. If you want to see more of them, here's her best advice: "Go buy one right now. "