Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Guest Post from Author Tinisha Nicole Johnson: White-Washing Book Covers

I want to send a big thank you out to Tinisha for being a guest here today!

Today we have an awesome guest post from Tinisha Nicole Johnson the author of Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself As A Black Woman.

As you all might remember, there was a big hubub in the blogosphere about white-washing book covers. Well....as part of Tinisha's blog tour I got the opportunity to ask her opinions on this. I love what she has to say and I hope you'll get a little more insight into it.
Publishing companies have been putting caucasian girls on the covers of their books even though the characters are other ethnicities. What are your thought on this?

This is such an interesting statement and a statement I’m starting to hear more and more of. In actuality, I’ve experienced this very thing when my book, Somebody Prayed for Me was published. I am co-author of that book, along with authors Linda R. Herman and Allyson M. Deese. The book consists of short-stories, poems, and letters, which are intended to inspire. Some stores are based off real life. 99% of the characters in the book are black.
After all was said and done, and edited, then came the time to come to an agreement on a book cover. There were many book covers that myself and the other co-authors of the book liked. However, the final book cover was suggested by our publisher, which is a picture of a young white woman with long brunette wavy hair – her body bent in a corner against concrete. She appears frightened, possible hungry, and cloth less, with her hands wrapped in front of her. She’s starring upward, almost as if she could be staring into the sky, asking for God’s help.
The picture is actually powerful, and we all liked it and agreed upon it, but the fact that she’s white was considered a marketing advantage by our publisher, although we all would have preferred a picture of a black woman.

What are my personal thoughts on this?
In general, I think publishers do it because there is this certain perception in the world, that a white face may sell faster, quicker, or perceived as more interesting than a black face. It’s such a interesting topic of conversation.
I address issues and concerns like this, in my recent self-help book, Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself as a Black Woman. The analogy behind it is really ignorance. I believe all people, regardless of what color they are, have this perception that creates in their mind when they see a white woman, versus a black woman on the front of a book cover, or in person. These perceptions seem more favorable with the white woman.
It’s a negative barrier that needs to be broken, but will it ever? Probably not, but can it be broken within individuals? Most certainly. One of the themes in my book is that you have to love yourself, before you can ever expect someone else to love or accept you.

Back to the publishers – it’s mainly about money. It’s about ‘who is your audience’ and ‘how many people can we give a perception to, that this is a good book,’ since book covers speak volumes. Is it deceiving? I think so. Many white people don’t own black books, and it’s not their top choice when considering to purchase a book. However, they just might buy a book about black characters, if a white face is on the front cover.

About The Author:
(Is this woman gorgeous or what?)

As a Black woman, have you ever dealt with insecurities and pressures from the world that made you feel unsure about yourself or life in general? Do you want answers and solutions to your most deepest, darkest feelings?

If so, Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself As A Black Woman is a book you need to read. It’s an inspirational and uplifting book, emphasizing ten life lessons that addresses your most intimate, personal, and professional life.

In Lessons Learned, the author passionately and straightforwardly expresses and lays out the following:

The “Q&A Method” of problem solving life’s problems
Understanding your deepest feelings and using the positive to overcome the negative
Recognizing and learning the importance of self-worth
What Women tend to think the definition of true happiness is
The Five most common types of Black women
What some Black women say to themselves that they would never say out loud
Why Black women sacrifice their souls
Balancing Children, Family, and Friends

The author thought it necessary to create a book specifically catered to Black women in the self-healing process while laying out techniques on how to gain more self-confidence and strengthen your self-worth and your overall life.The book Lessons Learned reminds Black women the importance of loving themselves first.


  1. Great post and great topic. Thanks for hosting Tinisha on her virtual book tour.

  2. This was a really great post. And I really love the cover on Tinisha's newest book!

  3. Thank you so much for hosting me. I appreciate it. Thanks for letting me get the word about a book I'm so passionate about. Great site!