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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Upskilling Tips for Pride Month

By Grace Edwards, Misha Manani and Lydia Marshall


The month of June is significant around the world as it marks Pride Month. During this month, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual individuals, and the wider communities to which they belong, are celebrated. The publishing industry shares a commitment to represent these communities and strive for greater diversity and inclusion. This aim can be accomplished through various initiatives, including the growing networks and support systems put in place for LGBTQIA+ employees. This article provides further insights on how best to support our LGBTQIA+ colleagues with publishing, along with useful resources and tips.


Pride in the Industry


LGBTQIA+ Employee Networks: If the publishing company you are working at has a Pride network, you should join because it fosters an inclusive and supportive community. Key networks in the industry are Pride at HC, Hachette Pride and Pride in Publishing. If you don’t have access to one, you can create one by talking to your line manager, the head of communications or diversity and inclusion managers where possible.

 

Imprints/Publishers: There are a variety of publishing companies, divisions and imprints that are committed to publishing LGBTQIA+ stories and authors and sharing their perspectives, such as Dialogue Books, Spectrum Books, Cipher Press, Virago, Joffe Books and Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Keep an eye out for upcoming titles and read up on the books they have already published in this space. You could also check for work experience opportunities in a team with such inclusive values. 

 

Literary Agencies: Many agencies are interested in representing LGBTQIA+ writers and their submissions. The Frog Literary Agency and The Good Literary Agency are brilliant examples. You can explore the individual profiles of agents online to discover what each is looking for and their current clients.


Organisations and Resources


Lambda Literary: This non-profit organisation is dedicated to promoting LGBTQIA+ literature and supporting queer writers, running programmes and resources to help LGBTQIA+ writers develop their careers and craft, such as an annual “Writing Retreat for Emerging Voices,” and offering educational resources to enhance the understanding of queer literature and issues.

 

Queer Literary Awards: There are several notable literary awards and events honour LGBTQIA+ authors and literature, such as The Polari Prize, The Green Carnation Prize, DIVA Literary Awards, The Lambda Literary Awards, Stonewall Literary Award, Peter Fraser + Dunlop (PFD) Queer Fiction Prize, Bisexual Book Award and The Coast is Queer Literature Festival. These events are crucial in promoting visibility and celebrating the contributions of LGBTQIA+ authors by ensuring that their voices are heard and appreciated.

 

Stonewall: It is one of the largest LGBTQIA+ organisations in the UK that provides a wealth of resources such as publications, research and educational materials. Stonewall has been part of every major fight for queer rights since 1989 and works every year with thousands of people to make different communities a place where LGBTQIA+ individuals can thrive.

 

PinkNews: An online publication that covers news, entertainment and opinion pieces relevant to the LGBTQIA+ communities across the UK and globally. They bring visibility to issues that the mainstream media often overlooks and promote campaigns for equality and acceptance.


Top Tips


Find a mentor: Seek out opportunities to be mentored by someone more experienced. This will help with entering the industry and progressing in your career. The Society of Young Publishers (SYP) offers the SYPInto, SYPAhead and SYPLaunch mentorship schemes. These opportunities allow you to receive guidance and support and share insights on different routes into publishing, freelancing or literary agenting. Creative Access and Penguin Random House UK also have a joint mentorship programme for people from under-represented backgrounds.

 

Educate yourself: There is so much information available. Read articles, news reports and books, watch TV shows written by LGBTQIA+ writers and which feature characters and related storylines. Also, attend events that are run by those in the community. There are also great podcasts that you could listen to, such as Homo Sapiens, What The Trans!? and Lesbian Lounge.

 

Visit LGBTQIA+ bookshops: Our top recommendations include The Common Press in East London, Gay’s The Word and Bookmarks. Queer Lit, based in Manchester, is well worth a visit, as is The Bookish Type in Leeds, Lighthouse in Edinburgh and Proud Geek in Birmingham. There are many places where you can go to support different writers and creatives in the publishing world.

 

Buy books written by LGBTQIA+ authors: There are many useful resources and websites such as Goodreads, LGBTQ+ reads and Book Riot. BookTok is also helpful when searching for niche books, as authors and book enthusiasts are eager to give recommendations. It’s a good way to stay updated!

 

Thank you for reading this issue. Join us next time for the 100th anniversary of The Publishing Post, where we will reflect on our first-ever upskilling article.


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