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 BuzzFeed.com 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.”
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.