In this time of great upheaval in our nation and across the world, one thing that has stood out to us is that we can come together as one people during the crises facing us. The other thing that’s stood out is just how much work still to be done to fight racism and inequality in our country and across the world.
The publishing world is far from exempt from these issues of inequality.
Our company has always sought out the works of authors of color and we have no plans to change in this regard. It is heartbreaking to us just how many publishers claim to seek out diverse voices but pay their black authors at lower rates than their white authors, give their black authors fewer marketing dollars than their white authors, and overall exclude the books written by their black authors from many of the promotions afforded their white authors.
This Twitter thread by fantasy author N.K. Jemisin illustrates some of what we’re talking about:
We encourage you to read her entire thread. All of what she outlined that publishers do when calculating “marketability”, advances, and promotion-commitment levels must change.
Big, medium, and small publishers alike tend to focus solely on what they think will bring in the most dollars from book and merchandise sales. And while we can see why they might think this is a viable strategy — after all, they have people and servicers to pay, so why not promo the money-makers the most? — the strategy is flawed and inherently racist and should no longer be tolerated by authors and readers alike.
Readers of color want to read books written by people who know the things they know and have life experiences similar to their own. They will support these diverse voices with their entire being.
Limiting the voices of writers and readers must stop.
Today, all publishers across the board must commit to making decisions based on an author’s skill and the merit of their work, not on the author’s skin color. Commit to
- Paying all authors equally.
- Promoting all authors equally.
- Supporting all authors and readers equally.
As for us, if there’s something you think we’re not doing well enough in our fight against racism, inequality, and injustice, please tell us. We want to know if we’re missing the mark.
Diversity makes the world a more beautiful place, and who doesn’t want that when all we’ve seen lately is ugliness?