Thursday, December 7, 2017

85% Problem

By David Nemeth

I’ve got a confession, in the 18 months I’ve been writing crime fiction, my author list is not as diverse as I imagined. It kind of sucks. And the worst part, I thought I was doing well. The rough numbers: 85% men; 85% white; 85% from the United States. I have no numbers on LGBTQI, but I’ll take a wild guess and say those numbers suck too. Did I miss reading crime fiction books by marginalized writers in the last year? Absolutely. I missed reading lots of fucking books in 2017.

I look at my review queue over the next few months of new crime fiction books and it’s like a fucking blizzard – white and whiter as far as the eyes can see. It probably doesn’t help that I do not like the more commercially-viable genres such as serial killer books, police procedurals, and psychological thrillers. Boring! By not reading these genres, the diversity baby is in the corner and I don’t see a way out.

I realize that to read crime fiction by people of color and other marginalized writers, I’m going to have to go back in time because when I look at my favorite crime fiction publishers, all I see is a lot of white and not much more. Publishers of books and short stories will say they only print the best of what they receive. I get that, but just as readers like myself need to search out new and different writers to read, publishers need to be searching too.

For now, the best I can do is to keep on looking for books by people that are not like me.

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