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One Truth About Diversity In Publishing

Publishing is primarily white/straight/cis/able bodied. That’s going to be slow to change. So if you, dear author, want to write diverse, perhaps outside of your own knowledge, there’s something very important to consider:

You are responsible.

Your agent, editor, publisher, while well intending, might not know one thing about the diverse subject matter in your novel. They are unable to fix your mistakes and fact check you. This is your job to do, prior to handing your baby over.

It’s on you.

I write diverse. I write from my own experiences, and let me tell you, I had a mini panic attack while on the phone with my agent, when my book deal came through. Realizing that no one else will make sure I didn’t make any errors. They were trusting me to get it right.

Yes, I write from my own experiences, but as humans we make mistakes.

All through the process, I had to advocate for my diverse subject. Not to fight, just to clarify as needed and answer questions. From first edits through copy edits. If I didn’t have first hand knowledge, could I have done that?

No.

Things would have gotten missed, or changed, and left for my readers to find fault with. Heck, things might still be in there with me thinking too much with my hearing world knowledge.

This is why own voices matter. This is why you better do your research if you are writing outside of your personal experiences. This is why you, and only you, need to do your homework.

Yes, publishing is responsible, too. But it starts with the author.

I’m part of a small minority. I can’t imagine it would be easy for my publisher to find an in house person to fact check me. Other¬†diverse groups should be easier.

Bottom line: I’m Hard of Hearing, with a degree in Deaf Studies. If I wrote something inaccurate…who would know to stop me?

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