Friday, August 19, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I wanted to share some wonderful articles and words of wisdom I've come across recently.

First, contributing to #weneeddiversebooks and #ownvoices, these two articles:

From an editor perspective:

"If you’re a white editor reading this, pause for a second and think about how an African American or Native American might feel getting that pass letter. Consider the fact that your very whiteness might prevent you from understanding the lives diverse characters and peoples lead, and the daily erasure they face" - Kate Sullivan, Senior Editor, Delacorte Press

From a writer perspective:

"To help diversify YA, we white authors can support Indigenous authors and Authors of Color by reading their books, recommending their books, blurbing their books, and recommending them to our agents. When we're invited to conferences, or festivals, or to be in anthologies, make sure they're not majority white. We need to make more space for People of Colour and Indigenous people in our very white publishing industry."

(yes, I realize, both white perspectives; please share any other wonderful articles....I want to include them...)

Next, some words of wisdom from SCBWI LA. I wasn't able to attend all sessions, but from what I did....

  • "Diversity is not a trendIt is real life, and diversity needs to be the norm." -Justin Chanda, Vice President & Publisher, Simon & Schuster BFYR

  • "You will hear all sorts of rules about what you can't do [when you write]. What they mean is, you can't do anything badly. You can do whatever you want if you do it well." Melissa Manlove, editor, Chronicle Books

  • "Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint." Stacey Barney, Senior Editor, Putnam

  • Don't wait for the perfect idea to strike: "Writers have to come up with a lot of bad ideas to hit a few good ones. It's not the lightning bolt that hits someone sitting in a sunny field. It's the lightning that strikes someone who has been cranking a generator." Melissa Manlove, editor, Chronicle Books

  • What makes a good picture book? It "has to evoke that same feeling/connection as when you first read it - every time....the perfect picture book text is a writer lobbing the ball up so an illustrator can carry it." - Susan Rich, editor-at-large, Little Brown


  1. Oh my gosh, Natalie!! Thank you for the Justine Larbalestier article! As a would be white ally, I have been wanting to tear my hair out, because, honestly, I didn't understand what I was doing wrong. I absolutely did not understand my white fragility and worse, I haven't been listening. I not only owe my readers a better writer, I owe some amazing people in my life a better friend! Thank you and Ms. Larbaledtier for patiently and gently explaining this to me.

  2. thank you for these articles! I spent a lot of last year talking with a minority group (specifically men of color who dress in drag), and it really opened my eyes to some of this. I'm enjoying doing further reading, I appreciate you posting about this in a way that wasn't condescending!