Rochester native and founder of National Black Authors Day, CaTyra Polland, talks about the hurdles Black authors face in a White dominated publishing industry and the importance of recognizing Black narratives, motivating her to create the holiday.
Book Riot: You mentioned how you “created National Black Authors Day…to shed light on Black literary talents, writings and literacy in general, demonstrating that the Black community’s stories are worth telling and being heard,” but can you expand on what the catalyst was that led to you starting Love for Words?
CaTyra Polland: I started Love for Words to close the gap between Black authors and Black editors. Black authors deserve to work with editors who appreciate, value, and respect their work. It’s important that our stories are written authentically. Editing is a necessary step to publishing a quality book. However, editing is not rewriting. We deserve to work with editors who critique our manuscripts instead of judging our experiences or shaming our experiences as we often see in more mainstream publishing houses. These leaders don’t always understand our experiences or how to market our journeys correctly and it can leave many authors burned out and frustrated. I want to encourage Black authors to embark on the self-publishing journey with confidence and guidance and work with publishers who want to see them win.
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