I’ve been working on a YA novel for about 7 months. I have a regular job, and am lucky enough to say I love the people I work with. When the day’s done, I come home to spend time with my husband and daughter. When they’re asleep, I play God and give birth to characters who live in a supernatural world.
I’m usually tired. I don’t remember what a good night’s sleep feels like. But I’ve never been happier. I dream I’ll someday see my books alongside Kristin Cashore, Cassandra Clare, Maggie Stiefvater, or Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia. The highest compliment from a reader would be “Damn you! I missed my stop ’cause I was lost in your book!”
I’m not unlike any other writer out there who stresses about someday being a published writer.
Here’s the thing: I worry that I won’t get published because I’m a person of color, or if I do get published, I won’t be as successful as the writers whom I admire. Think I’m wrong?
Here are stats put together by Stacy Whitman, Tu Book’s Editorial Director for the 2012 New York Children’s Book Writers & Illustrator’s Conference:
75% of the book-buying public is white
*SIMBA Children’s Publishing Market Forecast 2011
About 90% of the major characters featured in YA books are Caucasian
93% of children’s writers and illustrators are Caucasian
*Cooperative Children’s Book Center, 2010
The reality is that the publishing world moves like Niagara Falls, and as a person of color, I feel like I’m standing on the shore with no way of getting into the awesome, thunderous river. There’s a complex set of factors that play into these numbers. History, and class are two of the most obvious reasons. Other writers have looked at these issues, and have done a great job at it. My concern is very personal. Writers of color who want to write for a mainstream market have a harder time getting into the stream than Caucasians. So, am I wasting my time?
I want this blog to be about my journey. I hope to meet people along the way, not just writers of color though. I live in a diverse world now, and will continue to do so.
-diverse writers who are in the same place I am
-writers of all colors who are willing to share their experience
-writers who want to write about diverse characters, but want to have a dialogue about getting it ‘right’
-readers who want stories about characters from diverse backgrounds
Unless life gets in the way, I plan on posting three times a week. I hope you’ll come along for the ride!