Breaking Down Gatekeeping in the World of Publishing

Access and Opportunity

Jul 6 2022 • 26 mins

Between the authors landing 6 figure deals to the editors sourcing new talent: the publishing industry in America is much whiter than the general population. While some progress has been made since the #PublishingPaidMe movement of June 2020, there is still a long way to go to make the publishing industry equitable. On this episode, we learn about how industry insiders are breaking down barriers for aspiring authors of color. First, we hear from published author Khalisa Rae about how she found her voice as a poet and, after facing discrimination in her youth, found mentorship and belonging at an HBCU, which ultimately set her on the path to becoming an award-winning writer. Then, host Carla Harris sits down with publishing expert Dawn Michelle Hardy, also known as The Literary Lobbyist. Dawn has spent the last 20 years helping authors of color get published and paid, and shares her insights on what it takes to get a book published, as well as how she is seeing the industry become more accessible for talented writers who’ve traditionally been left off bookshelves, and what more needs to be done.

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