Reading books by Black Indie authors is not only important for promoting underrepresented voices in the publishing industry, but it also allows us to access more authentic and diverse stories. Indie-published books are often more authentic because they are not watered down to make them acceptable to the white gaze.
In traditional publishing, there is often pressure to conform to a certain standard that is deemed acceptable to the mainstream white audience. This can lead to stories being edited or censored in a way that removes important cultural or historical context. Black authors may feel that they have to compromise their own voice or vision in order to appeal to a wider audience.
However, when authors have the creative freedom to tell their stories as they see fit, without the pressure to cater to a white audience, their stories become more authentic and powerful. The stories are not watered down or edited to fit into a particular mold, but instead, are allowed to be true to the author's own culture, experiences and perspectives.
Reading books by Black indie authors also gives access a wider range of stories that may not have been considered "marketable" or "believable" by the traditional publishing industry. Many times, Black authors are told that their stories are too "niche" or too culturally specific for mainstream audiences, but that just means that they make white people uncomfortable. And I'm not about making anybody comfortable especially when their comfort comes at the cost of my oppression. These stories ARE marketable. These stories ARE believable and they must be amplified so that those who read them gain a broader understanding of the depth and variety of the Black experience.
So, next time you're looking for your next read, consider picking up a book by a Black indie author and expand your reading horizons.