Publishing in Color conference helps spiritual writers from minority groups get a foot in the door

Religion News Service | 6/15/2018 | Staff
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Next week (June 19–20), religion publishing will do something it’s never tried before. The “Publishing in Color” conference is designed specifically for writers of color, helping them network with editors and agents as they learn to navigate the publishing process.

It’s about time. Religion publishing has long been very white and very male, with only a few exceptions among executives and top authors. In my 19 years in and around the business, I’ve seen too few minority voices included until very recently.

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RNS: How did the idea for Publishing in Color come about?

Brian Allain: There were two things that I heard at different conferences last year that gave me this idea. One was at the ECPA leadership summit. Jeff Wright, who is the CEO of Urban Ministries, told a panel of CEOs from different publishing companies that we needed to raise the issue that their companies didn’t employ enough people of color of publish enough books by people of color. The CEOs knew it was a problem but didn’t know quite how to solve it.

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And then a couple weeks after that was the Writing for Your Life conference in Holland, Michigan. When I was talking with Rachel Held Evans there, she told me that the previous week, one of her African American author friends had said, “I wish there was someplace like that for people like me.”

Between those two things I thought, “Maybe I can do something about that.” I can’t force books to happen, but I can help build relationships. In every business I’ve ever been in, networking makes such a difference. It’s about the people you know, and the people who know you. So this conference is about building relationships between prospective authors of color and people from the publishing industry.

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RNS: What will be different about this conference?

Allain: Whereas the...
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