As Twitter struggles, many worry that marginalized readers and writers will lose a valuable platform.In addition, a recent shift in Barnes & Noble’s business model has authors, particularly marginalized authors, worried about their careers and the future of diverse books. The Mary Sue detailed how detrimental this change would be to newer authors. This new business model deprioritizes hardcovers by carrying fewer hardcovers by “unproven” authors and focuses more on paperbacks, typically published a year or more after the initial hardback release. If you are worried about all these trends, consider bringing your Twitter followers to Fable!
What does it mean if an author is marginalized?
The Oxford dictionary defines marginalized as "a person, group, or concept treated as insignificant or peripheral." This concept plays out in bookstores every day, as thousands of authors will literally be pushed out of the bookstore.Decisions like these will affect children’s literature (everything from picture books to young adult books), and also affect debut authors, who are still establishing their standing in the publishing industry, especially BIPOC authors. In buying fewer books, fewer mainstream titles will get pushed to audiences and have less chance of selling well. To even get a paperback edition, many authors must hit a milestone number of hardback sales, and if their hardback books are not stocked, their sales will be negatively affected. As Barnes & Noble is the last physical bookstore chain in the US, this new change will undoubtedly significantly impact new authors since their books will not be on shelves.Authors of color already experience many setbacks when trying to get traditionally published. While hundreds of variations of white books are allowed to be published every year, publishers see most BIPOC books as the same and often treat them as diversity tokens to add to their reputation. Knowing what has been considered to have merit in this industry, it’s easy to see how the CEO of B&N certainly does not see BIPOC books as having value or being “tasteful.”
Organizations That Support Marginalized Authors
A large point of appeal for physical stores is the ability to browse, but this new business model makes browsing less of an option. If only the same few books fill the shelves, ones that have already been pushed out to online retailers and bought by many bookstore visitors, then what types of browsing are there left to do?You can start by exploring anthologies that collect authors of color and other marginalized writers. "Black Voices" and "Can We All Be Feminists?" are great places to discover new essays and stories. Electric Lit has collected a long list of other great inclusive anthologies. You can also find organizations that support marginalized voices. We've rounded up a few important organizations.
A non-profit and grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.
A grassroots organization created by book publishing professionals dedicated to supporting, empowering, and uplifting racially and ethnically marginalized members throughout the industry, we seek to create a safe and inclusive space celebrating and promoting diversity. Through a planning committee and network of chaired subcommittees, we advocate and foster career development and advancement of people of color (including Native/Indigenous) professionals’ work.
Nonprofit supporting & increasing the number of Latinx in publishing, promoting literature by, for, & about us.
Discover Black Literature on Fable
Black literature is the body of literature produced by writers of African descent. Its importance begins with sharing history that many people do not know and understand. Black stories give an in-depth look at black trauma, success, and experiences throughout hundreds of years, dating from now all the way back to late 18th century writers such as Phillis Wheatley.Harper’s Bazaar wrote about the importance of Black literature: “The Black experience cannot be defined by one moment or incident...It's time to stop solely viewing blackness through the prism of racism and slavery. We must engage in the fullness of Black experience - and that includes joy.”You can keep reading great books by Black authors in every genre.
Discover Latinx Literature on Fable
Every year, readers around the world celebrate work by Latinx authors for Hispanic Heritage Month, an opportunity to spotlight all the Hispanic American writers who have championed diverse stories.Author Anna-Marie McLemore (they/them) writes magical realism and fairy tales "that are as queer, Latine, and nonbinary as they are." In an interview, they stressed why representation is so important for readers of all ages:“Without diverse books, all readers have a diminished experience of the world. If we do not see ourselves reflected in books, we begin to believe that others do not see us. And if we do not see in books those who are different than us, the world stays as small as our view of it.”Puerto Rican novelist Adam Silvera put the need for diverse books another way:“Problem One we face without diverse books: we’re stuck labeling great stories as “diverse books.” Problem two: without enlightenment we expect all Hispanic characters to speak Spanish for their future jobs in kitchens when we’re so much more than that. Some might be so bold to say we’re regular people.”Read more about the importance of Latinx Literature here on Fable!
Discover LGBTQ+ Literature on Fable
Every year, the American Library Association's Rainbow Round Table honors books "for exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience" with the Stonewall Book Awards.There is therapeutic power in these great books that explore the LGBTQ experience, offering comfort and relief to readers who historically did not see themselves represented in literature.Independent scholar T. J. West highlighted how the Stonewall Book Award-winner “Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller explored the gay relationship at the heart of a famous myth. They wrote:“For me, what really made this an emotionally wrenching (yet satisfying) experience is the way that Miller manages to capture the visceral and intense nature of same-sex desire between men. Even now, when queer representation is better than it has been in ages past, there is something uniquely powerful about reading a book that really seems to get it.” The digital publishing revolution has helped more LGBTQ authors share more stories, according to an essay at the Los Angeles Review of Books. Thanks to publishing boom and authors like Miller, a new generation of LGBTQ readers can find themselves on the bookshelf.From brilliant social justice books to unforgettable thrillers to critically acclaimed poetry, LGBTQ authors have made a mark in every category of literature. To celebrate Pride Month, discover more great books by LGBTQ authors on Fable!Read more about the importance of LGBTQ+ Literature here on Fable!