Silvia Moreno-Garcia | When a YA writer ‘tanks’
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When a YA writer ‘tanks’

I read a piece today which complained about ‘diverse’ writers, their penchant for sensitivity readers and the like. All this is par for the course, I’ve heard it before. But one part of the argument left me puzzled. The author said complaints by POC had “tanked” the sales of the YA novel The Black Witch. See screencap below.


A screencap from the New York Post piece on diverse books.


Screencap from Bookscan. Total sales in hardcover: over 7,000.


This seemed odd to me because I had seen early sales of The Black Witch on Bookscan and the numbers looked fine. I got an updated look at the numbers and my hunch was right. The Black Witch is doing fine. It has sold, as of today, more than 7,000 copies in print. Bookscan does not show all sales in the USA, but the rule of thumb is it captures about 70% of them. This means the book must have sold around 10,000 copies in print. It will also have sold a few thousand more in e-book form.

This is hardly a book that has tanked. I have seen books published by mainstream imprints which moved just a few dozen copies in a year. Since The Black Witch came out in the summer its sales cycle is far from done. It will sell even more copies.

On Amazon, it has more than 120 reviews and on Goodreads more than 800. It is part of a series, too, which will guarantee more money down the line since new releases will reinvigorate the first volume.

Why do I bring this up? If you are going to use a book as the representative example for all the ills that are befalling YA authors, use one that is actually representative. This book has not tanked, nor will it gravely injure the writer’s career. In fact, with these sales, the writer can look forward to more book contracts.

I invite The New York Post, which published this piece of garbage in which the columnist did not even bother to do the most cursory research, to pay a POC writer who knows something about publishing to examine this issue. And I don’t mean me, by the way. I’m too busy being sensitive.