Arnold Henry Shares Rejection Letter By Publishing Agent

Publishing Agent Tells Black Author ‘African American Fathers Are A Tough Sell’

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Arnold Henry/Instagram

Arnold Henry published his book Daddy’s Mini-Me through Kickstarter after a publishing agent said books with Black fathers are a ‘tough sell’

Arnold Henry, a father and children’s book author, recently took to Instagram to share a rejection he received from a publishing agent in 2018 when he pitched a children’s book that featured a Black father. Many authors face rejection letters, but this one was different — the publishing agent specifically said that books that feature “African-American ‘fathers‘” are “tough sell.”

“Imagine you’re a black author. You’ve written one of your best work about fatherhood. You’re super excited to get it published. You believe that it is much needed in our world because there are a lack of diversity in children’s literature at your local bookstores and online. You submit query letters to publishing agents, hoping that you finally get a big break in the book industry. But only to receive a rejection letter targetting the colour of your black protagonist,” Henry wrote alongside a screengrab of the rejection email.

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Imagine you're a black author. You've written one of your best work about fatherhood. You're super excited to get it published. You believe that it is much needed in our world because there are a lack of diversity in children's literature at your local bookstores and online. You submit query letters to publishing agents, hoping that you finally get a big break in the book industry. But only to receive a rejection letter targetting the colour of your black protagonist. • This was my reality and this is still the reality of many black writers. Receiving a rejection letter in this nature can absolutely crush someone's hopes and dreams. This isn't just about me as a black author. But, one of the many examples of the lack opportunities and unfair treatment for black people, simply based on the colour of our skin. Luckily for me, I was able to gain support via Kickstarter and self-publish my children's book @daddysminimebook. Today, I've sold over 6000 copies. I hope that my story can inspire other aspiring black authors and the public are aware of what we have to go through. • Also, I wanted to remind everyone that #blackauthorsmatter and if you've never bought a book featuring #POC, please support my fellow authors. As a matter of fact, please tag a black author or an owner in the comments below. Thank you to all who've always supported me throughout this journey. Let's make a difference today!

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“This isn’t just about me as a black author,” Henry added on Instagram. “But, one of the many examples of the lack of opportunities and unfair treatment for black people, simply based on the colour of our skin.”

When the publishing agent rejected Henry’s book, they blamed it on the “harsh reality” of the publishing world, but instead of fighting that reality by accepting Henry’s book and challenging the status quo, this publishing agent made the cowardly decision which only perpetuated our global racist culture. Henry told Scary Mommy that while he’s received rejection letters before, “it was never to this extent.”

Henry went on to raise the funds himself through a Kickstarter campaign and eventually published his book Daddy’s Mini-Me, inspired by his own experiences as a dad to two sons, a 5-year-old and an 8-month-old. The book is now climbing the top-sellers list on Amazon as well. Henry also just recently published Patiently Waiting For Hope which is described as “a story for parents and children about faith after miscarriage.”

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"How do I know I've found the right man to become the father of our children?" I received that question a few months ago and although it may seem like an easy answer, I thought I would rather share some "questions to ask yourself". This is based off of my own experiences and opinions. • 1. Is he ready to become a man? Children cannot raise children. I believe that it may be difficult to determine if someone is ready for fatherhood, but does he have the right attitude, ambitions and willingness for personal growth. Is he aware that he will become a role model? Is he responsible? • 2. Would he rather hang out with his friends or his children? How would he prioritize what's more important in his life? Where does he believe his presence is more valuable? • 3. How does he act or interact with other kids, nieces or nephews? Can you see the happiness in his eyes? Did he ever mention to you about wanting to have his own children someday? How many? • 4. What's his beliefs in disciplining a child? What family values did he grow up with? Have you spoken to him about traditions and lessons that he wants to pass on to his children? Is he willing to compromise on how to raise your children? • 5. Does he respect you as a woman and as a mother to be? Does he respect his own parents and how does he treat them? • 6. Does he love you and loves himself? Does he express all his emotions to you? Is he naturally a caring person. Is he aware of social issues globally and within his community? • 7. Is he a provider? Does he demonstrate his supportiveness emotionally, spiritually and physically for you and others? • I believe that these questions can help in making a decision for your current situation. At the end of the day, communication and growing together is key in establishing a healthy and happy parenthood in your home. And even when things don't work out between a couple, a mother and father still have to make it work for the goodness of their children.

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As for any other writers out there who might face or are facing this same kind of racial discrimination, Henry shared this advice with Scary Mommy.

“Never allow anyone to deter or determine the outcome of your dreams. Be proud of the color of your skin, your background, and origin,” he says. “Our creativity, artistry, and storytelling are revolutionary and our work is needed more than ever today. Continue writing because there is always someone waiting for a story like yours. And if a traditional publishing company never picks up your manuscript, there are other routes to take with lots of resources to allow you to become successful.”