It is the 1st of July and the first Wednesday of the month, so that means it is time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh and the co-hosts this month for keeping this program alive for writers to share their insecurities and successes. If you are a writer, please join us by visiting the IWSG website and signing up!
I'm in a better head space to blog this month. I took an inadvertent month off, which was much needed. But do remember as your timelines and media return to "normal," the systems of this country still need to be rebuilt to work for all of its citizens, and arrests still have not been made for Breonna Taylor's killers.
This month's IWSG question is: There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?
Well, in the wake of the spike in tragedies that occurred in May, many publishing companies decided to open their submissions to black writers. This is interesting because there has been a huge lack of diversity in traditional publishing, from the agency to the writers, for as long as publishing companies have been prominent. Many who received this news rightfully thought, "Now, you want to look at our work?" Most black writers, including myself, have turned to self-publishing because publishers have only been interested in black voices if they provide a look into black pain. Otherwise, agents "loved but didn't connect with" our work (and often, they've already filled their quota on black authors or books about black characters, sometimes not even written by black writers).
So in the next decade, if these publishing companies truly care to represent more diverse authors and aren't just opening their gates for optics right now, I hope this sudden interest in black writers does not die down and that more of our stories--and not just the ones that center our suffering--can be accepted by the industry.
Good point - will they continue seeking those stories or is it just to look good now?
Traditional publishing took too long to be truly inclusive. I hope that more POC come in to traditional publishing as publishers, agents, editors, writers, etc.
The whole industry does need to be diverse but not just for black authors. We are living in a diverse world where people are different shapes, colors, and speak diffeernt languages. Maybe, we the industry needs to wake to the realization that we are all humans and the problems that disturb one group of people disturbs all of us.
Yes, the industry needs to be diverse for everyone, but at this moment I can only focus on black authors. I see us pushed to the side a lot for "safer" diversities, but people still don't understand intersectionality or the idea that helping the least of us helps all of us.
I'm hoping they're seeing the mistakes they've made in the past and will continue to be as enthusiastic (and sincere) about accepting more diverse voices in the future, and like Alex said, not just doing it to look good now.
I'm glad they are beginning to see the need to hear diverse voices in a variety of story types, but I, too, worry about what will happen as we move forward. We need to continue to grow into a new way of life, a way of life that includes diverse voices in all genres and all story arcs.
I'm glad it's opening up, but how heartbreaking that it took tragedies to do so. Let's hope they continue with the diversity.
Good for you, taking the month off. It's been a hellacious, painful time, whether we reflect on the effects of pandemic or protest. Now I'm seeing crackdowns, continued standoffs, frustrations, and every once in a while, the promise of change. Everyone needs to pitch in on the work that needs to be done to heal our communities and bring us together to change the inequities (just one example) in the funding of our schools. I'm disheartened by the politics, but sometimes encouraged by inclusion: We all need to work on understanding and supporting change. At times, I'm not sure where I can contribute anything useful. I'm old and tired. Last time I was optimistic about a national election, you know what happened. But my daughter is reading like a vacuum cleaner, anything she can find to understand the history of racism in our country. That's a first step. The publishing houses taking diversity seriously is another. Can we hope for more?
Glad you took the month off and got a needed break. I wonder the same thing too. Will publishers truly open up publishing to Black writers and other minority writers? We'll have to see.
I agree, hopefully publishers are genuine about opening their doors to black writers, and not temporarily jumping on a bandwagon because they think it's trendy. Diversity in traditional publication is long overdue...
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