Thoughts On Diversity In Publishing

Be the change you want to see.

When I start reading from an author new-to-me I don’t take their demographics into account, I usually don’t even look. I mostly read author bios after I’ve finished their book.
I have two stances on this attitude of mine.

1. Having seen all the statistics we are supplied with via news, social media, independent studies etc I am more than aware that diversity in the publishing market is an ongoing issue.
A part of me acknowledges that I should make the effort to read from authors across all possible demographics.
How will the representation of diverse writers increase if we don’t all pitch in?
There are more talented writers in the LGBTQ+ community and across ethnic minorities than I could ever hope to read.
2. Buuuut on the flipside, I don’t like to be led. I’m not reading because the author is Asian or the author is non-binary, or the author is pansexual, or the author lives with disabilities or the author is a Muslim, or the author is an American white man.
I’m reading purely because I love reading!
I’m reading this book because the cover is awesome, or the title caught my eye. Maybe a fellow blogger review convinced me or it was recommended by a friend.
If I love the book then I’m going to shout about it and I’m sure as hell gonna shout about it’s creators, no matter who they may be.

The problem with stance number 1 – why should I deny myself one book purchase in favour of another based on demographics instead of content?
The problem with stance number 2 – even now in 2018 equality doesn’t exist. Disgusting but indisputable. Disgusting but indisputable.
I have zero prejudices against anyone, we are all human. But if I don’t actively seek some diverse authors to read then am I part of the problem? Am I unwittingly standing in their way? It bothers me to no end that we live in a society where such things even have to be considered but there it is. As consumers we are best placed to push the market in a more positive direction.
Who first said ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’?
Social responsibility isn’t enforced, only encouraged. I used to choose books based on no more than the blurb and a cover, occasionally I still do. Imagine a day where EVERYBODY IS EQUALLY REPRESENTED and the content of the book can be our only concern.
That day can only come after us and the efforts we choose to make.
“The problem is systemic and we have a collective responsibility as publishers, booksellers, literary agents, librarians, educators and readers to redress the imbalance by publishing, selling, teaching, promoting, and reading quality books by and about minorities,” Ramdarshan Bold
Need inspiration?

Follow Bina @ WOC Reads for the best new book releases by women of colour

Check out Dahlia Adler’s LGBTQ Reads for everything LGBTQIAP+

Read 9 Publishing Organizations that Promote Diversity Within the Industry over at Chronicle Books

Join in with Aimal’s Diversity Spotlight meme on a Thursday or follow the # to find hundreds of other blogger recommendations.

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Author: Roxanne Michelle

Dramatic, curly-haired wannabe writer from a nowhere town in Somerset. Stop-starter of all projects great and small. Here to talk books, film, mental health and lifestyle.

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