‘I received a rejection letter that read, ‘African American ‘fathers’ is such a tough sell. Your project will not be a good fit.’: Author denied book publishing due to ‘black protagonist’

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“Imagine you’re a black author.

You’ve written one of your best works about fatherhood.  You’re super excited to get it published.

You believe that it is much needed in our world because there are a lack of diversity in children’s literature at your local bookstores and online.

You submit query letters to publishing agents, hoping that you finally get a big break in the book industry.

But only to receive a rejection letter targetting the color of your black protagonist.

The email response I received after sending in my book read as follows:

Hello Arnold,

Thank you for your query regarding your children’s book. As a father myself, I loved your writing and illustrations. However, in today’s market, stories on African American ‘fathers’ is such a tough sell. This is just a harsh reality and I wanted to inform you instead of discourage you. I have determined your project would not be a good fit for my strengths, and that I have declined the opportunity to consider it further. 

Many thanks again for thinking of me. Best of luck.

Courtesy of Arnold Henry

This was my reality and this is still the reality of many black writers.

Receiving a rejection letter in this nature can absolutely crush someone’s hopes and dreams.

This isn’t just about me as a black author, but one of the many examples of the lack opportunities and unfair treatment for black people, simply based on the color of our skin.

Luckily for me, I was able to gain support via Kickstarter and self-publish my children’s book. Today, I’ve sold over 6,000 copies.

I hope that my story can inspire other aspiring black authors and help the public become more aware of what black individuals have to go through.

Also, I wanted to remind everyone that #blackauthorsmatter and if you’ve never bought a book featuring a person of color, please support your fellow authors.

As a matter of fact, please tag a black author or an owner in the comments below. Let’s make a difference today!”

Courtesy of Arnold Henry

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Arnold Henry. You can follow his family’s journey on Instagram and purchase his book here. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories and YouTube for our best stories.

Read more from Arnold:

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‘I saw with my own two eyes, gay little boys almost beaten to death. I was young and accepted the church’s truth as my own.’: Man raised homophobic says ‘God taught me to love everyone, and I will do just that’

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