IndieReader, a blog on self-publishing, recently wrote about an article by Daniel José Older about diversity, or the lack of it, in the primarily white world of legacy publishing. His article “Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing” prompted IndieReader to ask me how much diversity there is in self-publishing, and I want to share my response with our readers:

Kirkus Indie reviewed thousands of books in 2013, and, while we don’t have the data to compare the representation of minorities within self-publishing to traditional publishing, we were happy to see exciting, varied work from, to give a partial list, African-American, Asian-American, international, Latina, LGBT, Muslim and women writers. Indie editors chose dozens of these titles for the Kirkus Best Indie Books of 2013 list, including Mary Sisney’s A Redlight Woman Who Knows How to Sing the Blues, a hilarious account of a black woman’s career in white-dominated academia; Liz Castro’s What’s Up with Catalonia, a collection of articles that advocated for Catalan independence; Pakistani-born British author Nadeem Aslam’s portrayal of the war in Afghanistan in The Blind Man’s Garden; Johnny Townsend’s The Mormon Victorian Society, a novel about gay Mormons trying to reconcile their orientation with their faith; and Qasim Rashid’s The Wrong Kind Of Muslim, which Kirkus described as a “harrowing yet hopeful story of modern-day religious persecution.” 

Sisney_Cover Townsend_CoverRashid_CoverMas_Cover

I think the wide-ranging diversity is, in part, what energizes self-publishing, as well as the Kirkus Indie editors. We’d love to see more in 2014. – K.S.

Karen Schechner is the senior Indie editor at Kirkus Reviews.