We’re thrilled to welcome Aunt Georgia Lee to talk about her exciting new sapphic book project!
Aunt Georgia Lee is a Black lesbian author and southern Georgia peach with a flare for drama and romance. She also hosts the podcast “Sippin’ Tea with Aunt Georgia Lee,” which focuses on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ stories (TB and Miranda were recently guests on the show!). Today, we’ve invited her to tell us more about an exciting new project to help readers diversify their sapphic reading with more books by queer woman of color (QWOC) authors.
From time to time, IHS features guest posts from members of the sapphic book community to help raise awareness of important issues and initiatives in the wider world. If you are an author or reader with a story to share, please email us your idea with the subject line “Sapphic Guest Post”. Note that guest posts cannot be for book promotion or review purposes but should have a broader appeal and purpose.
Now, please welcome Aunt Georgia Lee!
Hey, there! Your favorite auntie is here, ushering in the new year with a fresh perspective and a renewed mission to spread the good news! As an independent author of color, my journey to connect with my audience spans not just the current phase as Aunt Georgia Lee, but dates back over 20 years when I, under my real name Shonia Brown, independently published my debut novel, “A Deeper Love.”
Back then, we didn’t have running water and had to walk 10 miles to school. LOL! Y’all know I’m just kidding, right? Although I can’t help but feel akin to my parents and grandparents. Their wisdom emphasized the importance of recognizing blessings and avoiding unnecessary stress. In sharing my experiences with the younger generation, I realize how different things were two decades ago, especially for indie authors. Back then, the struggle to be noticed required more grassroots efforts.
Today, with the advent of social media, Amazon, and the wonders of the Internet and WIFI (thank you, technology!), the landscape has evolved. However, challenges persist, particularly for indie authors of color within the LGBTQIA+ community. This realization didn’t sit well within my soul or my partner in love and writing, author W.L. Tracy. In response, we decided to embark on a journey to make a difference, giving birth to QWOCBOOKS.COM.
Amidst discussions about the lack of representation and support for indie authors, we felt compelled to address this issue. Readers and influencers expressed difficulty finding queer women of color books, even though we exist and are eager to be read. Some prefer #qwocbooks from established publishing houses, prompting us to emphasize the vibrant voices present in the indie author community.
QWOCBOOKS.COM is not my first endeavor to amplify new voices within the queer women of color community. In 2007, instead of penning my second novel, I curated an anthology titled “Longing, Lust, and Love: Black Lesbian Stories.” This collection showcased the works of 27 aspiring lesbian writers, many of whom had never been published. Despite limited resources, the anthology perseveres as one of the few independently published contributions from proud black lesbians.
During my early career 20 years ago, I worked diligently to unite the black and white gay communities in Atlanta, collaborating with the Atlanta Pride Committee on the Rock, Rhythm, and Rhyme artist explosion. This initiative eventually earned me the unexpected honor of being one of two official Grand Marshalls for the Atlanta Pride parade in 2008. My goal was simple: to give a voice to the voiceless.
Let’s get into some good trouble together by exploring the site and enjoying the diverse stories from #qwocauthors. I invite you to join the annual 12 Indie QWOC Authors Reading Challenge.
Consider participating in the challenge by committing to read at least 12 indie #qwocauthors #qwocbooks this year. I’ve already started my list with newcomer, Terri Ronald’s short story, “Simone Says.”
If you’re interested in the challenge, fill out the QWOC Books Reader form on the site under JOIN FAMILY. Your support means the world to us!
As we breathe life into this new site and community, I urge you to use the power of social media responsibly. When seeking #qwocbooks from the site, in your conversations, and in your reviews, speak life. Remember that behind every book is a human being with dreams, hopes, and the need to be heard. Craft your reviews with kindness; your words can be a blessing or a curse to a writer.
If a book “wasn’t for you,” consider refraining from posting negative reviews on social media. Personal preferences vary, and what may not resonate with you could be someone else’s treasure. Let’s lift each other up, fostering a community that celebrates diversity rather than tearing it down.
Indie authors thrive on encouragement. If you enjoyed a book, leave a rating, and if possible, a review. Your words can make a significant impact on someone’s creative journey. Always speak life into your community; there’s already enough negativity in the world.
Enjoy the site, and if you find something you like, don’t hesitate to Like and Share. And always remember to know your worth and then add TAX! See you around the neighborhood!