I've heard this battle cry for years--and totally agree--but the issue was revisited in force after BookCon announced its panel of great children's authors . . .
And they were all white guys.
Because apparently women do not write children's books. Neither do those of different races or socioeconomic backgrounds.
Oh, but these are the powerhouses.
And then someone brought John Green into the mix and I'm all: "I'm sure John Green recognizes this disparity--he is a super smart guy. However, backing out of the Con probably isn't an option (contracts and such), so don't call for it. Or crucify him when he can't. He will find a way to get the message out. He is on our side. I promise."
In fact, he's already working on it, and so are plenty of other authors.
Some of my favorite tweets from the #weneeddiversebooks twitter campaign:
#WeNeedDiverseBooks because straight white people aren't the only ones who should get happily ever afters.
— Chelsea M. Cameron (@chel_c_cam) May 1, 2014
#WeNeedDiverseBooks because it is hard to hate someone we can identify with. pic.twitter.com/lW1zVQ4ughSo . . . yes, get the word out so others recognize the need.
— Jennifer Brown (@JenniferBrownYA) May 1, 2014
BUT COME ON, YOU GUYS!
You're forgetting this is the twenty-first century.
Newsflash: The gatekeepers no longer hold the keys to getting your book to the masses.
In fact, Fuck the Gatekeepers.
If you have a diverse book for Middle Grades or YA (or even adult markets) that you can't get past an editor's desk because "we already have a similar book on the docket" because apparently one or two "diverse" characters per season is all the houses can handle at a time, find another way to get your book to the people.
They say no, you say: Yes. I will. Because I believe in this story and the characters in it.
Then self-publish it.
I'm not going into a how-to, because that's not the point of this blog. I just want to let you know there's an alternative. And that alternative is to take matters into your own hands.
This is not a debate about the pros and cons or even if self-published books should be considered "legit." (Hint: They should.)
I'm just saying:
If you have a story about a diverse character that isn't getting through the "traditional" way, make your own way.
I don't care what anyone thinks about self-publishing. That book isn't doing anyone ANY good sitting on your hard drive.
Self-publish it. Promote the shit out of it. And voila:
A World Where Diverse Books Exist, Available to Every Audience.
*End Rant* :D
Please follow the twitter campaign today--there are some fantastic tweets going out.
Readers: Buy diverse books--Send a message to the houses (or authors!) that publish them.
Writers: Even if you can't get past the gatekeepers, it's not over. You have options.
That is all.