Three weeks, three conferences, three million thoughts

The past three weeks have seen me write up reports on three stellar publishing conferences: the London Book Fair’s “Building Inclusivity in Publishing” conference; The Literary Consultancy (TLC)’s “What’s Your Story?” symposium; and the Society of Young Publisher (SYP)’s annual Autumn conference, this year on the theme of “Making a Bestseller.” Here’s some write ups – the SYP one is even FREE to read!

Words are no longer enough: inclusivity gets gritty
“A theme that became clear early on in the day was that the industry has been treating diversity and inclusivity as if they are optional, which for those they are excluding they are not. ‘We’re not here to talk about diversity in publishing, we’re here to talk about humanity,’ said Crystal Mahey-Morgan, one of the keynote speakers and founder of OWN IT! Publishing. ‘We’ve got so caught up in the box ticking and PC conversations, we’ve forgotten why inclusivity is so important…'”

TLC symposium: ‘What’s your story’ in the digital age
“We have to be careful as an industry about whom these laws of literary merit exclude. Now and in the past, writers of colour have often experienced difficulty being recognised in the literary world. ‘The idea that literary value is a liberal, free world isn’t true,’ said Cook. ‘Literary values are created in a process, and it is a process that has been party to brutal exclusion. We are talking about a system of violence. There is a certain kind of violence in this world and if you try to pretend that there isn’t, you misunderstand it.'”

SYP conference 2016: redefining successful books – FREE to view
“Having to point out that long-term sales and profits are just as valid as short-term ones seems to me to be a symptom of an industry increasingly concerned with short-term goals. The question I was left with is not what makes a bestseller, but whether, by its standard definition, a bestseller is an inherently good thing.”

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Diversity in Publishing: Report from the SYP AGM 2015

LOGO-SYPTwo days after the Society of Young Publishers (SYP) AGM on Diversity in Publishing, I am still mulling.  As the thoughts coalesce, I can’t help but conclude that there are some fundamental problems in our industry barring diversity.

When we talk about diversity, it has so many definitions.  Seonaid Mcleod has been working with EQUIP (Equality in Publishing) at the PA, which defines it as diversity of sexuality, gender, economic circumstance, ethnicity, geography, education, pregnancy, maternity – the list goes on for a long time!  Indeed, it’s such a broad topic, I hardly know where to begin.

The ‘Diversity in Publishing’ debate panel for the SYP AGM 2015 was composed of Abigail Barclay, Managing Consultant at Inspired Selection; Seonaid Mcleod, PR Executive at the Publisher’s Association (PA); Kyle Cathie, from Kyle Books, and Suzanne Collier, owner of Book Careers.  Despite the irony of a panel composed of four caucasian women, the variety of their viewpoints on the industry gave an insightful overall perspective on the issues at stake.  The points raised cut the industry to its quick.

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