I have been thinking about writing this post for a while for several reasons but mostly because I keep scrolling through Instagram and seeing a certain transphobic author’s books on my timeline and it made me think about all of the people/ readers still promoting them and many other “problematic” authors while I made the choice not to so. This choice doesn’t mean that I think that I’m better than anyone , this post isn’t about cancel culture because it only works for marginlized people and I’m also not saying that just because an author said something problematic that we should stop supporting them altogether, because no one is perfect or 100% “unproblematic”. I am talking about repetitive harmful behaviour that is too big to ignore, or where there are no apologies and why I cannot, in good conscience, support those authors.
Maybe it’s because I’m a queer Black woman that so many issues speak to me (even personally affect me) that when an author “steps over the line”, they lose automatically lose my respect. I might be too radical, but some issues are too real to ignore. Reading means so many different things to people, but to me, it’s a way to escape the real world and lose myself in stories that captivate me, characters who I learn to care for and settings I yearn to discover. I cannot with good conscience support authors who contribute to making my life harder in the real world and spend my hard-earned money on books they have written or that contain harmful and disrespectful content.
Being in the book community taught me how important buying books, writing reviews, doing videos, posts, which is essentially free publicity and hype for authors, is. Books are our passion – we make edits, templates, beautiful photos to share how much we love stories and what they contain. It is so hard for marginalized authors to get published and get half of the opportunities white, cis authors get. Why would I support a “problematic” author when there are so many voices and stories that beg to be heard but are continuously silenced by problematic, popular authors?
I think there are so many ways of being an activist or simply trying to make a change, especially on a small scale. Not talking or supporting an author who has been proved to hurt a community and whose harmful behaviour was detrimental to someone is the least we can do. I’m not saying it’s easy. One of my favourite authors is releasing in 2022 the second book in a series I loved; I even got a serious book hangover after reading book 1 because it was truly excellent. I am conflicted. Am I going to buy the book but not promote it? Not buy the book and not promote it or even illegally download it? It’s hard. But I know for a fact that I won’t give them a voice on my platform because I want this to be a safe space for everyone, as diverse and beautiful as it can be. Standing up for one’s beliefs is never an easy thing and it can even be painful, but I’d rather do that and stay true to my beliefs than say nothing and separate the author from their work.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, please feel free to share them in the comments! 🥰