I recently came across an article at latinpost.com which talks about diversity in the publishing industry. Though it speaks exclusively about Latinos (well.. it is the Latin Post), it raised some really good questions that I had never really thought about. Namely, Is the publishing industry as multicultural and diverse as it could or should be? And, depending on the answer, what exactly does that mean for authors of color?
The article reads:
“The publishing industry, like the greater mainstream media, isn’t representative of the U.S., but select slices of suburbia. Young Latinos will recognize the names and experiences of the individuals in their books, but they’re not likely to see themselves.”
The article goes further to say that due to the lack of Latino presence, “Latinos will grow up believing that Latino-centric books don’t exist, or they won’t know where to find them.” I suspect this phenomenon is not exclusive to the Latino community.
As I perused the New York Times Summer reading list, I was starkly disappointed at the number of non-white authors (which totaled a whopping zero). Is this an implication that writer’s of color are somehow less talented, less worthy, or less interesting?
That can’t be right.
There are, undoubtedly, a number of authors of color who are worth reading.
So, what is the problem? And, perhaps more importantly, could the answer lie in self-publishing?
Without a gatekeeper to determine who may enter the world of the published author, non-white authors can now find the audiences that need them. Yet, there are still those authors that think of self-publishing as settling, as lesser, as unworthy. We have to change this mentality. We have to view self-publishing instead at the empowering tool it is and recognize the potential for writers of every kind to connect with audiences without the burden of having to “prove” their stories are worthy.
But, that’s just my two cents…
What are your thoughts? Is self publishing a solution to the under-representation of minorities in publishing? Is it the answer to diversity in publishing? Leave a comment below.