Writing Diversity: campaigns, resources, terms and how you can help to read between your own lines

IS09AL15JThere are so many great campaigns going around the internet about diversity in publishing and books. This is my attempt to share that wisdom and it is not an exhaustive or complete list. Diversity is a word for the growing awareness (not a trend) that all types of people should honestly and accurately be represented in literature. Learning where we’re starting from and questioning our assumptions is how we begin to grow as an industry.

Get in the know about the movements and if you’re writing fiction learn some new resources to better support your work.

Firstly, let’s get on the same page:

  • Bad representation is worse than no representation.
  • Check your privilege and your biases. Question your assumptions. Change doesn’t happen unless we ask the right questions.
  • If you’re not sure this post is for you, you’re wrong. We can all learn something. Open your mind to new ways of thinking about your work and how it reaches people.
  • Diversity is more than race. It’s socioeconomic, it’s (dis)ability, it’s religion, it’s gender, it’s sexuality etc. Most importantly, it’s about intersectional equality.

Campaigns

Resources

Terms

What can you do?

  • Share what you’ve learned with your critique partner or writing group.
  • Write real people honestly. And if you don’t know how, then do research–don’t guess or rely on secondary resources.
  • Speak up when other writers make you uncomfortable.
  • Organizing a conference, speaking event or blog tour? Think about diversity and inclusivity.
  • When in doubt, find the honesty and the truth by listening.
  • Learn how to describe characters’ physical attributes respectfully and naturally. (Try this character development master list.)
  • What you’re not saying is as important as what you do say: All white cast? Nuclear family? Stereotypes of poverty or sexuality? Are you truly representing the real world?
  • Try getting your news from diverse sources like The Root or The New Civil Rights Movement.
  • No one can change where they are from or how they were raised, but you can choose how to live your life as an educated adult.
  • I don’t believe anyone sets out to offend others. I think some writers just haven’t questioned their biases or world view. Set out to educate others with facts and resources like this. Read between your own lines.

Q: What are your favourite writing diversity resources? What did I miss? 

Cover Reveal: LOSING THE LIGHT by Andrea Dunlop

I can’t wait for everyone to read this book! It’s THE VACATIONERS meets THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY. Get ready to pre-order right here!

First step: the cover reveal for LOSING THE LIGHT!

 Losing The Light - Final Cover

Coming February 23rd, 2016 from Atria Books 

Thirty-year-old Brooke Thompson prepares to leave Manhattan and her 20’s behind to move upstate with her fiancé, when she receives a friend’s startling invitation to a party honoring French photographer Alex de Persaud. His name pulls her headlong into a glittering, painful past she has long tried to forget. At the party she finds that the man who was once her single-minded obsession doesn’t remember her. Shattered by his apparent disavowal of their time together, Brooke still can’t resist accepting his invitation for a date the following week. Catapulted back to her youth, Brooke relives the events of a decade before when she spent a year in France following a disastrous affair with a professor. There she develops a deep and complicated friendship with Sophie, a fellow American and stunning blonde whose golden girl façade hides a precarious emotional fragility. Their lives are forever changed when they meet sly, stylish French student Veronique and her impossibly sexy older cousin, Alex. The cousins draw the two girls into an irresistible world of art, money, decadence and ultimately, a disastrous love triangle that consumes them both. Of the two of them, only Brooke ever makes it home.

Losing the Light is a smart, sexy, thrilling novel. Andrea Dunlop’s debut brilliantly captures the tension and sharp edges of female friendships, infatuation, and life abroad. You will feel transported to France, as if you yourself are speaking French and drinking a little too much wine with your best friend and a dangerously handsome man.”

-Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever Interrupted

“It’s got Gainsbourg’s ‘Sea, Sex, and Sun’ plus red wine and betrayal—a compulsively readable debut about forever friendships that can’t last.”

–Courtney Maum, bestselling author of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You

“Andrea Dunlop’s captivating debut ardently delivers the thrill and joy and exquisite pain of being young and in love: with a friend, with a lover, with a country, with a life, with the future. I felt myself twenty and in France with nothing but heady enchantment before me… utterly transporting.”

-Laurie Frankel, author of Goodbye for Now and The Atlas of Love 

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Take a behind the scenes look at how LOSING THE LIGHT came to be:

Pre-order today!

How To Be The Boss Of Your Creative Life

googleimages2Has everyone heard of impostor syndrome?

It’s that feeling we’ve all experienced where, despite our accomplishments, we’re unable to feel like we’ve earned our spot. Like we’re a creative imposter and someone is going to find out we don’t belong.

I don’t know any creative person who has never internalized this feeling.

But the truth is: we’ve all earned our spots, because the only opinion that matters is yours. So shake off those insecurities and learn to be the boss of your creative life.

Remember…

  • You are your harshest critic. Don’t beat yourself up. Treat yourself like you’d treat any other critique partner.
  • If you don’t respect your writing time, no one else will. Make those quiet moments count.
  • You decide what your idea of success is. Don’t let anyone tell you who you should be.
  • If you want to write for you, that’s okay. Getting published doesn’t define a writer. 
  • Give your life breathing room to allow creative thoughts to come in. When you schedule your day down to the minute where will inspiration come from?
  • If you want to be a writer you must do two things: call yourself a writer and write.
  • Imposter syndrome means that people overcompensate to outwardly show like they belong. But what matters most is quietly chipping away at your goals in a way that is meaningful to you.
  • It could take months, or it could take years. Don’t stop when the going gets tough. This isn’t a craft you learn quickly. Read this Writer’s Digest article by my author Karen Katchur.
  • We spend our lives writing, talking and also non-verbally communicating. Listen and look at what’s happening around you: those are the honest parts of life that need to make it into your writing to make it come alive. Desk time isn’t the only writing time. 
  • Give yourself permission to make mistakes. As long as you learn from them they’re all part of your process. And give yourself permission to break routine. As long as you know the difference between a routine that’s no longer working and taking a day off.
  • A “no” only gets you closer to the “yes” that matters. And all it takes is one yes.

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Looking to take the next step with your writing? Join my Sept 3 webinar with Writer’s Digest.

Webinar: Successfully Publishing Your First Novel in the 21st Century

IS09AK1RZJoin me on Sept 3 at 1pm EST for a webinar!

Writer’s Digest is delightfully hosting me again for another great afternoon of talking books and business.

Busy that day? If you want to sign up but you’re booked up, sign up anyway because you get the webinar emailed to you.

PLUS everyone receives a 5 page critique of your work!

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Here are the details for Successfully Publishing Your First Novel in the 21st Century:

It has never been more difficult to get traditionally published and make your writing stand out than right now. No matter what your writing goals are, a writer needs to get their book noticed to make it in this age of publishing. But with the right tools and industry insider tips you can make it possible.

Literary agent Carly Watters has years of experience launching debut authors. She’ll share with you the process of polishing your manuscript and getting it publication ready, querying literary agents effectively, keeping an agent’s attention with your manuscript, how to make the most of an agent/author relationship, how to find the best place to publish your writing, and where to find your readers.

Getting published today is still about the book: the writing has to be superb and stand alone. However, there are other tools writers can harness to grow their career. Carly will share her industry insider tips that have helped her clients grow from slush pile darlings to successfully published authors.

Being a published author in the 21st century means knowing how to get published, how to do it well, and how to rise above all the other books out there. Instead of accepting that it’s a competitive industry, why not learn what it takes to build a successful writing career?

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • How to begin your book and why you’ve probably been starting in the wrong spot
  • Self-editing tips that will transform your manuscript
  • How to make your query letter stand out (from someone who reads over 800 a month!)
  • Why agents stop reading your manuscript
  • What agents are looking for in writers that are going to help them stand out
  • How agents partner with authors to make them stand out in 21st century publishing

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

  • Writers who are looking to publish their work for the first time
  • Writers who want to get their manuscript publication ready
  • Writers who would like to get a literary agent
  • Writers who would like tips on how to query literary agents
  • Writers who want to learn more about the business side of publishing in the 21st century
  • Writers who have published before, but are looking for better ways to find readers

Sign up today and secure your spot!