Reading Jim Hines' usual sort of sensible statements about Fandom's issues recruiting PoC, a question occurred to me.
Do the SFF Publishers market their work to non-white communities?
I mean, as a conrunner and especially as the diversity facilitator for Detcon1 I am currently investing time in the question of how we can get the word out in Detroit about our con. we are finding that the young people in the city know about and attend comic cons, but many of them don't even know science fiction conventions exist. What's the big difference? Well, obviously there aren't as many white fans walking around insisting you're not a fan if you haven't pubbed your ish and can't quote Heinlein extensively. But also? Comic cons ADVERTISE. They get billboards. TV Ads. Newspaper ads. Flyers and posters in comics shops. Stuff like that.
So we're looking at options to do some of those things. Making lists of local schools and stores where we could drop flyers.
The more I find out about independent bookstores and comics shops in Detroit, and the more I learn how many black people read SFF and listen to afro-futurist music, the more I wonder if SFF publishers are marketing to these people. Are they sending SFF authors into our cities where there are large non-white populations, to let them know there is stuff in this genre for them, and the genre welcomes them to the community?
I helped out at a couple big promotional events in Chicago, back when I was assisting Neil Gaiman. One was on the near north side, and one was in a southwestern white suburb. Neither were in the urban center nor anywhere near the large black population center of Chicago. I imagine the large chain bookstores may avoid those areas for the same reasons the white suburbanites do. But there are libraries and civic centers and other venues.
Beyond the white-washing of covers and whatnot, do publicity teams treat black and hispanic and other minority populations as potential readers? Or are they geographically ghettoized so they would have to travel outside their communities to meet most SFF authors?
(Noting that in many places, both small towns and large cities in the US, we are quite racially segregated.)