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  • Writer's pictureAunt Georgia Lee

THE GOOD NEWS

Updated: Dec 31

Let's Get Into Some Good Trouble



IT'S YOUR FAVORITE AUNTIE






Hey, y'all, it's your favorite Auntie kicking off the New Year with a New Attitude and a New Purpose of spreading the good news! Well, is it really new? Nah, your gurl has always been about sharing, caring, and bringing light out of darkness. It's just in my DNA. Does that mean I'm always optimistic and walking around singing show tunes or  Let it Go, like Queen Elsa of Arendelle from Frozen?



Oh, hell nah! I'm more like Evilene in The Wiz, singing Don't Bring Me No Bad News!






But seriously, y'all, my message today is not to have you walking around in a delusional daze pretending to be happy, speaking mantras, and numbing yourselves with various distractions. I want us to remain woke! Because when we are truly aware of what's happening around us and find that the destruction and sadness are too much to bear, that is when we rise up and take action. Nothing good has come from a beautiful eutopia; the light has always come after darkness.



So, what am I talking about? What does my diatribe have to do with QWOC Books? Everything! As an indie author of color, I have searched for my audience for a while now. Not just this time around as author Aunt Georgia Lee, but over 20 years ago, when I used my government name to independently publish my debut novel, A Deeper Love.




WAY BACK THEN


Back then, we didn't have running water and had to walk 10 miles to school! LOL! Nah, y'all know I'm just kidding, right? But as I talk to a younger generation and audience, I feel like my parents and grandparents back in the day who wanted me to realize how blessed I was and to see there was no real reason for me to be stressed. So, I say to new authors and readers coming up in this time that things were so different 20 years ago. Indie authors had to do more grassroots efforts to be seen and heard.


Now, we have social media, Amazon (I know some of y'all are not fans of the mighty conglomerate), and the Internet and wifi. God, thank you for the wifi instead of the old unfaithful dial-up! But even with modern technology, indie authors, especially those of color, who also are within the LGBTIQA+ alphabet soup, struggle even more to be genuinely seen and their voices to be heard.



And this didn't sit well within my soul, nor did it feel good for my partner in love and writing, author W.L. Tracy.








THEN WHAT?

So, what did we decide to do about it? We decided to get into good trouble! Hence, the beginning of this month-and-a-half-long journey toward creating QWOCBOOKS.com


Please understand that this wasn't a hobby or an attempt to appear to have good intentions. We live our lives intentionally. And that type of walk in life comes with disappointment and heartache. Check out our podcast episode that gives you insight into our world.


QWOC Books

But it also leads to that light I've been talking about. We've heard other authors discussing the lack of representation or support, and we too, have felt the same in our search for our readers. We've also heard readers/influencers say they can't find queer women of color books, yet we exist, and we're here ready to be read. We also know that some readers/influencers prefer QWOC Books from established publishing houses and regularly campaign for large publishing companies to feed them more.


I encourage everyone to visit this site and enjoy both indie and traditionally published queer women of color books. The true mission of traditional publishers is not to answer the call to provide more diverse voices and stories. It is a call already being answered in your indie author community. We just all have to listen and then enjoy the plethora of new voices that are vibrant, rich, and just as fulfilling as an established QWOC author.


THANK YOU

I want to thank author Tuesday Harper, who also took up this challenge and created a list of BIPOC queer writers in 2023. She even opened my eyes to the fact that so many of us hidden gems are just waiting to be discovered. Folks talk about Amazon's algorithm and its ability to overlook these gems. Still, how we describe our work within a multicultural community sometimes differs from a public library or bookstore's corporate ease or traditional taxonomy.

 

So, yet another reason, we want you to have a central repository, curated with you in mind to find books you seek in one place—your new neighborhood with your new family, Naming the site QWOC Books wasn't our original thought but a call to action from author M.L. Sexton. She encouraged indie authors to support one another and stand together. Because, as we all know, if we're divided, we fall. She encouraged us to use #qwoc and the light bulb turned on in my head, and therefore we christened the site with the name QWOC Books.

 

In our search to curate as many QWOC Books as possible, we found a few sites doing a decent job at curating them as well. But they were scattered everywhere, and sometimes, it was a simple nod to this niche section of the community and not entirely dedicated to us. And it shouldn't be. Giving a voice to the often voiceless within our community is up to us.

 

Is this just something we enjoy doing and is effortless? Not at all. It takes a lot of work, dedication, and pushing back our writing deadlines for the stories we want to share with you. And spending the holidays not relaxing and reflecting upon 2023 but at our desks working to give you as quality of a platform in 1.0 as we can.

 

Why? As author friend Deja Elise would say, empaths are why we have non-profit organizations: they feel and care more. Guess what I am? An empath. I feel way more than my soul should, but it comes naturally, and I've been doing it all my life.

 

SHARING NEW VOICES



In 2007, instead of writing my second novel, I chose to create an anthology of new voices, Longing, Lust, and Love: Black Lesbian Stories, to celebrate, you got it, new aspiring black lesbian writers. Many of the 27 authors had never been published, and a few of my author friends were doing their thang on a larger scale, such as author Laurinda D. Brown, who graced the pages of this anthology with her work, but most of us were unknowns. This book had a small budget—no budget. So, I used my day job paycheck to fund it, along with my partner, W.L. Tracy's kind donations of money, time, and a story—and a good friend of ours was also a silent contributor.

 

To this day, the anthology is still in existence but was one of only a few that have been independently published by the community that lived and continued to live as proud black lesbians.

 



Throughout my brief career as that author 20 years ago, I worked diligently to bring the black and white gay community together by introducing the Atlanta Pride Committee to an all-black artist explosion along with activist Betty Couvetier. Through those initial collaborations, the Rock, Rhythm, and Rhyme artist explosion became a featured event for one of the South's most considerable predominantly white Gay pride. These efforts, during my last stint within the community, led to me becoming one of two official Grand Marshalls for the Atlanta Pride parade in 2008, along with Scott Turner Schofield, an award-winning actor, writer, and producer—trans influencer of Hollywood.

 

I never expected such an honor or sought that acknowledgment. I just wanted the voiceless to have a voice. And I continue to strive for that even if it means sometimes my personal and professional goals are paused for a few moments.

 

I know this is a very long blog, and I hope that the intermissions with the gifs and call-to-actions make you want to read on and not scroll to another page just yet! LOL! So, let's get to what you can find here now that you know why this site is even alive.


 Latest Releases

 

This section is a carousel of the latest releases from some of our QWOC author family. We will continue to add/update this section with other beautiful titles you can grab and put on your TBR or READ NOW list. Just scroll through the list and select your next favorite QWOC book.


 Tease Her

 

One of my many favorite sections on the site is the promotional area, including audio snippets, book trailers, and other interactive promotional spotlights of QWOC books. It will also allow you to get freebies and previews of what's coming from this talented community of scribes.

 

50 queer women of color authors and their books!


We've cataloged in 1.0 of this site 50 queer women of color from new to existing authors and from indies to traditionally published authors. You can find them on the catalog pages and can look forward to more being added all year long! Within each author page, you will find:

 

  • One of their books is spotlighted, and a link to get a copy.

  • A list of their additional titles (if applicable)

  • A list of their audiobooks (if applicable)

  • Show some love if you like, and use the Heart and Share links in this section's book titles to let the authors know you enjoy their work and/or to spread the good news to others.

 

 Pre-orders


Ready for the coming attractions? So are we. That's why we wanted to dedicate a section to list all the exciting new titles coming your way in 2024! We will continue to update this list as we discover more titles. In the meantime, check out our current list and book your date with your next QWOC book by pre-ordering a copy!

 

Join the Family


We're glad you stopped by and joined your new neighborhood! We want you to know that this site is not just "our" but your site, too! We're building this community of like minds seeking to speak life into our author community and getting into some good trouble doing it. But to do this, we need to work together in solidarity. So, check out the Join Family section to complete the following if you're a(an)

 

  • Author – So that we can accurately catalog your titles, including your themes and tropes, which would really help our readers find their next favorite QWOC book.

  • Reviewer – So that we can share opportunities with you to get the latest hot Advance Reader Copy (ARC) from authors and also to collaborate with you on spreading the good news about all these exciting new QWOC books.

  • Reader – So that we can best understand the type of QWOC books you're interested in and give you an inside scoop on new titles, authors, goodies, and more!

 


HOLD UP, WAIT A MINUTE – Before you scroll to the next section, I want to call out our 2024 Indie Author Book Reading Challenge. Let's get into some good trouble together by taking the QWOC book challenge to read at least 12 QWOC indie books this year. I've already started enjoying my list for the year, which I kicked off with the sexy wifeys Elah and Simone in author Terri Ronald's short, Simone Says.

 

So, if you too would like to participate in the challenge, complete the section on one of the forms above to pledge to include at least 12 titles on your TBR and/or READ list. Thank you for your support!

  

Meet the Family


Calling all Authors and Reviewers to submit your names for a special spotlight on the site, newsletter, future podcasts, and promotions. We want to help you shine! What better way to do that than a spotlight on all that you do to give a voice to this community? So, complete the form in the Meet Family section.


Our first author spotlight is coming your way in mid-January as we introduce the talented new author, Terri Ronald, to the community! Stay tuned for more updates.

 

Get in Touch

 

Want to stay in touch? Got something to say? We want to hear from you, and there are a couple of key ways to remain in the know.

 

Sign up for the Newsletter. The form is at the bottom of each page on this site. We won't blow up your inbox with random thoughts (well not always). But seriously, we will send you the information created with your interests in mind (hence the forms in the Join Family section.)


Help Chat. When we're online, you can chat directly with us. Now, remember that your Auntie and W.L. Tracy have day jobs. So, we may not always be able to get back to you immediately during this method. But your messages are dropped into our inboxes, and we'll respond as soon as possible. You can count on that!


Contact Us. And of course, the standard contact page on the site is also available for you to reach out to us.

 

Privacy Policy


We would be remiss if we didn't mention the privacy policy section. We respect your privacy and want you to enjoy your experience on the site. So, if the privacy policy makes your eyes water or your head droop, it's okay. Don't sweat it! You don't have to read it like your latest, greatest QWOC book. Just know it's there whenever you need it.

 

SPEAK LIFE


I promise this is the very last thing I want to share with you. I know you're anxious to get to all these wonderful goodies on the site. I feel your energy, and I'm already loving your vibe! So, let's all keep that good feeling going, eh? We aim to speak life into this site and our new family in this new neighborhood. In this world of social media, the power to speak your mind freely sometimes gives people a privilege that is not always used wisely.

 

Please speak life when you seek new QWOC books from this site in your conversations about the site and authors. Please speak life when you're performing reviews and know that another human being is behind the words of the book you just read. They are like you; they have dreams, hopes, desires, challenges, tragedies, triggers, and the need to be heard.

 

So, when crafting your reviews or spreading the news to a friend or family member, use your heart and grace. Your words matter and can be a blessing or a curse to a writer. If you find that when you read a QWOC book and it just "wasn't for you," please think carefully if you want to post that on social media or through a review. If it wasn't for you, that doesn't mean it's not for someone else. And in this world, where we tend to follow recommendations for most things, let's not discourage others from thinking for themselves and deciding if it's for them, although it wasn't for you.

 

If you didn't finish the book or determined that it should be rated between 1-3, consider not rating it. Let us lift each other up, not tear each other down. Now, if you feel passionate enough about your rating, please leave a review to help the author understand why you chose to give a lower score. But even then, please temper your words with kindness. You never know whose dream you might contribute to deferring. Remember that we are writing from the heart to celebrate this community, not tear it down.

 

Finally, it's always easy to tell people what they're doing wrong, but it's a struggle to get people to lift you up with words of encouragement and praise for what you're doing right. But indie authors, more than any, need you to lift them up. If you genuinely enjoyed a book, don't leave that book without giving at least a rating, and bless them even more with a review if you can. Remember, always speak life into your community because we have enough people speaking death.

 

Alright, enough rambling from me. Go get it! Enjoy the site, and if you like what you see—you know what we'd love for you to do. Like it, Share it. And always remember, know your worth, and then add TAX! Happy New Year FAM! Peace!

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