Yesterday and again on today, I am attending the inaugural “Publishing in Color” writers conference that is tailor made for under represented authors that write spiritual, inspirational and religious books. We have all acknowledged the disparities in the publishing industry, especially the Christian publishing industry, both staffs at the publishing houses and the actual writers, when it comes to people in the African-American, Asian-American, and Native-American communities. We are grossly under represented in all phases. It cannot be denied.
So…we’re doing something about it. Agents, acquisition and book editors, publishers and authors are coming together to address this issue during keynotes, over lunch and dinner, during one-on-one’s and through informal hallway conversations. At the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey, we are having open discussions and dialogue to begin to mend the past trends and learn together. While I fully expect to earn a long overdue publishing contract this week (through relationships that were built over 16 years and a good 69-page book proposal), it’s NOT just about me. The founder and director, Brian Allain, brought me on board as faculty to teach my favorite writer’s course: From Start to Finish for the First Time Author. My 45-minute session on yesterday was filled with eager authors that are ready to move to action on their book projects. The reality is that most of them will not be offered a publishing contract because of how they look. Major publishers will not acknowledge their potential – they only look at “what have you done lately.” While we are beginning the process of breaking down unjustified and undeserved barriers that have prevented us from getting well deserved publishing contracts, we are also educating each other as a means to dispel unfamiliarity and fear.
I am hopeful that our collective action will make a difference. Join us in Chicago, IL, on November 9th as we take this writer’s conference on the road. There will be three conferences in 2019. More to come…