Romance Writers of America posted a tweet a few days ago with a link to this article: Board Commitment to RITAs and Inclusivity
Is there a problem?
According to the RWA article, less than 1% of finalists are black. So, how many black authors entered their books? They don’t know. ONLY 2000 ENTRIES are allowed. If 99 of them are from black authors, that’s less than 5% of the entries and a really big field to compete against. In which case, none of them winning at this point is a high-probability outcome. (ETA: The original % I posted was 1. A reader in comments pointed out the error. Thank you.)
So, the numbers are not the problem. That is, the simple fact that a black author has not won a RITA is not indicative of prejudice or process failure on the part of the RWA. I suspect the numbers are similar for all authors who include themselves under the POC umbrella.
So how are the contenders chosen, anyway?
The authors, themselves—or their publishers—enter the RITA, choose what category to enter in, and pay a fee to enter.
RWA wants a black RITA winner. I’m sure they’ll make one and absolutely let everyone know. But the choice to enter, to pay the fee, is with the author/publisher. If there’s an issue, it’s with the percentage of black authors who have joined the RWA. SO –
How About Actually Putting a Category in the RITA for POC romance books?
Right between Contemporary Romance: Short and Erotic Romance they can add Diversity Romance. And that’s a lot more inclusive than just looking for a black author.
When you invite people to dinner, you have to make a place for them at the table.
ETA: I already removed a comment for ad hom. The topic is in the title. Individuals are not topics. I should remove the one I am answering, but there are two good points in it. If you want your comment read here, stick to the subjects of the article. –addi