Since you are pursuing being published, I would recommend attending the Literary Breakthrough Conference that is being held in conjunction with the National Black Book Festival. At this conference, we'll have literary agents, publishers and book marketers who can help you take your book to the next level. Here's the link with more detailed information: http://www.nationalblackbookfestival.com/breakthrough.htm
I'm sure you can tell a story that wouldn't necessarily fit into that category. I think it would be left up to you the kind of feel you want your book to have.
Ethnic fiction, I don't know. I guess some would say that. But if nothing else, I think you should go for telling a unique and compelling story because it's kind of easy to fall into telling the same old story over and over but with different character names and in a different city. Tell a fresh story, put a spin on it. I think that if you can do that then you can get away from the urban stigma.
To Answer your question on urban fiction vs. mainstream:
Urban includes stories about the bad parts of the city, the underbelly. Any story could be set in a large city but an urban book would focus on the bad parts and would include tales featuring drugs, sex, and crime. A forefather of today's urban lit would be Donald Goines.
Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF), in conjunction with AfroFuturismNet.com and Black Author Showcase, will present a free workshop on how to develop stories in science fiction, fantasy, and horror.“Creators of Afrofuturism Workshop” will take place at the Long Branch Library at 8800 Garland Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20901 on October 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.The event will feature authors …See More
He was one of the tireless army of little known boosters of writers of color, a book publishing executive that opened many doors and the founder of Amistad Press, as well as the first C.E.O./ publisher at the now defunct Howard University Press and it's Black Publishing Institute. …See More
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