I pulled my books. They’ll probably still be around on KDP (man, you cannot kill that thing) for a couple months, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions as to why, so here we go:
Item of the first, my MC was a white passing mixed-race person (Japanese and Irish). I pulled my book because I don’t want it taking up space that a mixed-race person could be using to tell a more subtle story. No my books weren’t about race, but again, they were taking up space. You might argue that in the vast plethora of Amazon, no book is taking the space of another book, but I don’t feel that way. If even a single person who has the racial identity of my book came across it and thought they shouldn’t write a story about dragons because there was already a book like that, that’s one too many.
“But Rena, your book was about dragons and good versus evil.”
True, but that’s sort of the point. If my books are about good versus evil and doing the right thing, then I must also do the right thing. The right thing is to not take up space where someone with lived experience might be trying to get traction.
“So then you’re just going to give up on these books?”
No. But also yes. I have so many stories to tell. I have so many worlds. If I spend my time rehashing these books over and over, I can’t tell those other stories. I can only write so many books in a year (1 and I can revise 1), and if I’m constantly going back to these, then what’s the point? I will never get to move forward. At some point, I might have the resources to redo these books (unlikely) in a way that makes me feel comfortable with what I’ve created, but honestly, they are probably not going back out into the world.
“But Rena, your books aren’t racist.”
At this point, I, like every other American living in a nation built on the free labor of slaves, cannot assess my own bias. I am not one of the “good” white people because there is no such thing. I live in a world steeped in institutional racism. It is not for me to judge if my books are harmful. I can do the work to be a better person, but the fact that our entire nation is built on the backs of oppressed people means I should get out of the way and make room at the table I have enjoyed.
I think, in this moment, in this year, we all have an opportunity to really look at ourselves and what we’ve put out there. If we work with this moment instead of struggle against it, we can make real change in our world. This is the thing I can change to make the world more accommodating for people of color, so I’m doing it.
Black Lives Matter
Trans Women are Women
Pride started with Marsha P Johnson