U.S. book publishing professionals were pretty much all white and mostly female when I joined the industry in the mid-1980s.
Almost 25 years later, that hasn't changed much. I know only one black woman in publishing; she's in middle management. And I know only two Latinas; both are production editors.
Oh, it's great that there are so many women in power in publishing. But the overall homogeneity of the industry doesn't provide much variety of professional backgrounds, life experiences, or points of view. Publishing is already a small, incestuously interconnected industry; it needs all the variety it can get.
Freelancer writer and book promoter Bella Stander noticed, at Book Expo America earlier this month, that the ranks of authors are pretty pale too. But Bella's not the only one who's noticed: see this, this, and this.
How skewed are the worldviews presented in American books if most of the authors who get published and most of the publishing professionals who work on those books are white and if authors of color who do get published see their books placed in ethnic sections in bookstores? And how do we make it possible for more writers of color to be published by the big publishers? How do we make mainstream book publishing more accessible and desirable as a career to people of color?
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