If you read yesterday’s post on my goals and resolutions for 2017, you know that one of my goals is to actively seek out and support diverse stories and creators. Today I’m announcing a new pet project of mine specifically dedicated to doing just that! If you follow me on twitter, you totally already know where this is going. If you haven’t done either of those things, you’re probably just wish I’d get to the fucking point already, yeah?
Introducing the Diversely Booked Book Club!
This is something I am seriously so freaking excited about. What better way to share and support diverse books than to start a book club dedicated to reading them?
I will be using the broadest possible definition of diverse when it comes to choosing books for this club. We’ll read books that are racially diverse, own voices and marginalized authors, books that include neuro-diversity and characters with disabilities, books covering the length of the sexuality spectrum, and everything else I can find. If you find a book you think would be a great fit, tell me about it! The whole point of this book club is to promote diverse books because too often they fly under the radar. The more people we have actively seeking them out and sharing them with others, the better.
So What Will We Actually be Doing?
The Diversely Booked book club has 3 main pieces: read, discuss, and promote.
Near the beginning of every month I will announce which book we will be reading together, and everyone will have the month to read it at their leisure. On the last Sunday of the month I will host the #DiverselyBooked Twitter chat, where we will all gush over and discuss the book together. (Obviously, this will be the best part!) Finally, at the end of the month we’ll all share our reviews of the book–on our blogs (if you have one!), Instagram, BN.com, Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else you can think of. We’llrecommend it to people who we think would enjoy it and generally just spread it like wildfire.
Why is Promoting Diverse Books So Important?
Like I said earlier, books by and about marginalized people and stories often fly under the radar. They struggle to get picked up by publishers, and once they do they very rarely get the same promotional support that white authors and white stories do. There seems to be a belief in the publishing industry that diverse books are synonymous with niche books, that there isn’t a big enough audience for diverse stories to merit publishing them. This is complete and utter bullshit of course, but it is pervasive. And the best way to push publishers to pick up and support diverse stories and writers is to buy and support the ones being
published right now.
It is also vital to promote and support diverse books because there is no shortage of problematic books being published, and they seem to have no problem getting huge marketing campaigns that ensure everyone knows about them. The stereotypes portrayed in these books are harmful and pervasive, and they are often the only exposure privileged readers have to the cultures being incorrectly portrayed–and so the cycle continues.
Everyone deserves to see themselves in the stories they read–and not as harmful, false stereotypes.
Diversely Booked January Read
Let’s get to the exciting bit shall we? As you probably guessed, this month we will be reading Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst! It’s an own voices fantasy about a princess who is betrothed to the prince of another kingdom only to end up falling in love with his sister.
The first #DiverselyBooked Twitter chat will be on Sunday, January 29 at 12PM EST, so if you want to participate make sure you’ve finished reading Of Fire and Stars by then!
Please, please help me get the word out about Diversely Booked. I really want this to be a good thing, but the only way it will make a difference is if people participate. I really hope you’ll join me.
*Edit: we now have a Diversely Booked group on Goodreads. If you are participating please join the group so I have an idea of how we’re doing!*