POC is a broad term including pretty much everyone that isn’t stereotypically white, and since a great deal of the world bunches all us “white people” together into one very stuffy, very stale bowl, it obviously doesn’t include everyone. But I recently watched a presentation by Barry Goldblatt, literary agent for Barry Goldblatt Literary, that spoke to me. He said there is still a firm belief within the publishing world that placing a POC on the cover of a book will keep it from selling, at least as well.
I don’t doubt that. But not for why you think.
As a child, when I saw a POC on a cover of a book, I groaned and moaned because I knew the book was going to be one of those serious “teach kids a lesson” books that would bore me to tears. It was usually a girl with some detrimental look on her face who had lived some terrible life of slavery and concentration camps and while very interesting and educational (probably more interesting to me now as an adult 😉 ) they were not fun. In fact, they were often depressing.
Fast forward to today. We pretty much have the same thing, only now the POC’s are Arabic and Indian.
I’ve seen a very very few books with POC on the front that looked fun. Of Giants and Ice is one (although they left the POC off two of the four covers, never figured that out), Princess Cupcake is another. This blog post shares 12 books with POC where the topic isn’t racial. Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion looks cute.
I did an internet search and an Amazon search. Both came up with pretty much nothing but serious books that completely turned me off from the get-go. I had to really search to find a book with a POC on the front that was just for fun, like the ones I mentioned above. And I truly think that’s the problem. I think that’s the reason “POC covers don’t sell”. If the publishing community would quit treating POC like some sorrowful event we all have to read with our heads bowed, they would sell more. But that’s just my opinion.