Upskilling Tips for Pride in Publishing
By Tanvi Jaiswal, Misha Manani and Georgia Stack
The beginning of June marks the start of Pride Month in the UK – a month dedicated to celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) individuals and communities around the world. Pride is about acceptance, equality and celebrating the work of LGBTQIA+ people. Several diversity initiatives have been set up to implement changes within the publishing industry to make it more representative of our society. We’ll be sharing the ways that you can support this process even further: ranging from how to support LGBTQIA+ communities in publishing to useful resources, such as employee networks and social media accounts to follow.
How to Support LGBTQIA+ Communities in Publishing
Purchase LGBTQIA+ books from publishers: There is a growing number of publishers championing LGBTQIA+ authors and books. These include indies such as Cipher Press, Paradise Press and Nyx Publishing in the UK, and Bella Books and Bold Strokes Books in the US which aim to make sure queer voices are heard in publishing. Penguin Pride also highlights queer books for different audiences covering both fiction and non-fiction.
Visit LGBTQIA+ bookshops: Bookshops are important social and community spaces in the publishing sector. You can find Gay’s the Word in London which is the UK’s first queer bookshop, Queer Lit in Manchester, Proud Geek in Birmingham, The Bookish Type in Leeds, Lighthouse in Edinburgh and Category is Books in Glasgow. These are wonderful places in the bookish world to support various voices in publishing and broaden your perspectives.
Become an active agent in transformative change: Make sure that you create a safe space for friends, family and colleagues who are LGBTQIA+ in the publishing sector to openly share their thoughts and feelings without judgements, stereotypes or assumptions. Ensure you treat people the way you want to be treated and be kind.
Join a Pride Employee Network: There are some pride employee networks, in particular, Hachette Pride Network, Pride in Publishing and Pride Media. Although, there is still a very small number of these networks in publishing. If the publisher you work for does not have one, why not start one yourself? This is a brilliant way to bring LGBTQIA+ staff together and make connections.
Follow these Social Media Accounts on Twitter: Getting in touch with like-minded people on social media is one of the quickest ways to connect to your community. Follow the accounts of Inkandescent, Nick Coveney, author Lewis Laney, Mermaids (an online community supporting trans and gender diverse kids and young adults) and Charlie Morris, a marketing manager at Macmillan Kids UK to find the latest developments within the LGBTQIA+ publishing community.
Join Pride in Publishing: Established in 2017, this is a professional network for LGBTQIA+ people working in the UK publishing industry and helps individuals to grow their network. Make sure you sign up now to their newsletter to get regular updates through blogs and articles about what’s new within the industry! You can also follow them on Twitter and Instagram to stay connected over social media.
Gay’s The Word Bookshop: Apart from selling queer work in fiction and non-fiction, the bookshop regularly holds events for the people in the community to find out how to get and make the most of industry exposure. They also have a Switchboard: LGBT+ helpline for anyone who wants to get more advice on anything from legal advice to getting into the field of publishing. As the only gay bookshop in London, watch the BBC’s highlight via this video about how this bookshop has been representing and serving the LGBTQIA+ community for almost forty-three years now.
Queer Lit: Another great place to explore queer literature and connect with people of this community is the Queer Lit bookshop in Manchester, which has over 2000 titles for you to peruse. You will find people who can help you connect with other professionals and get to know more about the history of LGBTQIA+ contributions to the publishing industry. So, the next time you’re in Manchester, don’t forget to drop into Queer Lit and make the most out of it!
Publishing Pride Webinar: Run by Cambridge University Press Bookshop, this recorded webinar in celebration of Pride Month in 2021 celebrates the significance of academic publishing in bringing LGBTQIA+ themes, topics and experiences to the fore. This is an insightful discussion with professors at different universities spanning the UK to the US that must be watched!
Thanks for reading Issue Forty-Eight! Join us again for Issue Forty-Nine, where we will be covering upskilling tips with a special guest for the next issue.