Last week I started a series of posts about diversity in romance writing/publishing (if you missed it, you can read it here). In that post I noted that, despite a focus on increasing diversity in romance fiction in recent years, the number of books published by diverse writers (aka PoC) has actually decreased. The decrease seems to be driven, in part, because traditional publishers don’t think they can sell books by diverse authors and/or they don’t think there is an audience for those stories.
Since it has been noted that those in the traditional publishing industry continue to be predominately white, I’m not surprised that they may face some challenges when trying to sell books by diverse authors, but since a whopping 60% of the Top 10 Bestsellers at The Ripped Bodice bookstore in 2017 were written by PoC, the lack of an audience is hardly likely to be one of those challenges.
As you may have seen if you have been following politics much at all during the past few years, driving change can take consistent and persistent effort. Perhaps if the issue is raised again and again and again, the needle will begin to move.
Supporting diverse authors is one way to help move the needle and, quite likely, broaden our own horizons. One of the private online groups I belong to has been talking about diversity in fiction and diverse writers recently as well and they came up with a “diverse reading list” that I thought I’d share below. Some names may be familiar; perhaps others will become new favorites.
Author Title Category Alyssa Cole Radio Silence (1st of a series) SFF Romance A Princess in Theory Romance An Extraordinary Union Historical Sonali Dev A Bollywood Affair Romance A Change of Heart Romance Talia Hibbert The Princess Trap Dirty British Ines Johnson Pumpkin: A Cindermama Story Romance Sandhya Menon When Dimple Met Rishi YA/NA Alisha Rai Hate to Want You Romance Wrong to Need You Romance
Looking for more suggestions? Check out 10 New Books By Women Writers Of Color To Add To Your Must-Read List or The 16 Best Books of the Year by Black Authors. You might also be interested in Romance Novels in Color, a blog dedicated to showcasing diversity in romance.
So, do you have any suggestions to add to this reading list?