BK Diversity & Inclusion Subcommittee

    BK Diversity & Inclusion Subcommittee

    We are a small group of BK employees who are conducting research and taking steps towards a more diverse (both demographically and content-wise) author base, audience, and employees - for now and for the future.

    The purpose of this group is to inform you about who we are and what we are doing to increase diversity within Berrett-Koehler. 

    As you may know, the publishing industry has a problem. As a recent survey from Publisher's Weekly has revealed, at least half of all publishing employees believe that there is a lack of diversity among employees, which in turn affects the diversity of the books published. In another report called Writing The Future from Spread The Word (a writer's development agency with a focus on helping underrepresented groups get published), they say that "a survey of publishers and literary agents indicates that of the respondents over 74 percent of those employed by large publishing houses, and an alarming 97 per cent of agents, believe that the industry is only "a little diverse" or "not diverse at all."

    Even if the conversation is difficult, we want to change things. 

    Here's who's working on this project, initiated by Steve, our CEO:

    Charlotte Ashlock, Matt Fagaly, Shabnam Banerjee-McFarland, and Katie Swalm (or whoever the current intern is.)

    Your thoughts are welcome along the way! 

    • digital@bkpub.com

      Research Questions to Increase Diversity

      Created by Katie Swalm

      As transparency is our custom, here is the list of questions that we set out to answer:

      1. Goals of Author/Potential Author Surveys and Interviews
      1.1 What kinds of support does BK offer to underrepresented authors?
      1.2 What resources could we offer that we currently don’t?
      1.3 How is the BK brand communicated to underrepresented authors?
      1.4 How can we be better about reaching underrepresented communities?
      1.5 What do under-represented authors want and need?
      1.6 What matters most to under-represented authors?

      2. Goals of Publishing Professional Interviews
      2.1 What strategy informs all our author outreach methods (conferences, etc)? 
      2.2 What are the qualifications to consider a proposal?
      2.3 What are the qualifications to go more rounds on a proposal? 
      2.4 Are any of our criterion ruling out underrepresented authors?
      2.5 How do departmental opinions vary on what types of platform planks effect sales?
      2.6 If we don’t offer specific resources, what type of time and energy would it take to build connections with underrepresented communities?
      2.7 How do we currently build relationships/develop marketing strategies for underrepresented communities & authors?

      3. Data Collection & Analysis 
      3.1 What is the basic marketing plan we offer authors?
      3.2 How much do we financially rely on bulk sales?
      3.3 Author demographic data
      3.4 What is the demographic breakdown of our customers?
      3.5 What’s the breakdown of bread and butter, franchise, and mission books (or however we want to define those categories?)

      4. Research OD Support Needed for this Program’s Success
      4.1 What do people think is the purpose of Pub Board?
      4.5 Do people feel like Pub Board has been an adequate vehicle for expressing their ideas, opinions, and concerns? If people are holding back ideas at Pub Board, why are they doing that?
      4.5 How can Pub Board better use the value everyone has to offer, and be more inclusive and engaging? 
      4.6 Is the interdepartmental agreement on the criterion for approving books?
      4.7 Can the process benefit from bringing in non-staff voices in some fashion?

      5. Online Research on the Industry
      5.1 How are other publishing houses dealing with the lack of diversity? Are they at all?
      5.2 What makes authors of underrepresented communities successful? How did their editor measure their potential?
      5.3 What types of platform planks are under-represented authors more or less likely to have? 
      5.4 What are thought-leaders in underrepresented communities ultimate goals?

      6. Financial Analysis
      6.1 Does our financial model need to be adjusted or can it stay the same?
      6.2 What are our different financial strategies and how much do we rely on each?
      6.3. Where do we make and lose money?
      6.4 How can we make money on books with modest sales expectations?

      7. Action Research
      7.1 Try new conferences
      7.2 Try new ways of reaching out to authors online (as outlined in Charlotte’s promotion proposal)
      7.3 Proactively ask for more author referrals and have conversations about how those can happen
      7.4. Branding efforts to support this initiative.

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    • charjoybooks@gmail.com

      New to Group

      Created by Charles-Joyce Lewis

      Hello All

      I have just joined the website and group.  Please share with me more information.  I am currently working on a book centering on prison interests.

      CJ

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    • Charlotte Ashlock

      Signing more diverse authors

      Created by Charlotte Ashlock

      I volunteered to research the Editorial aspect of the following Diversity benchmark:

      Products and Services Development: Gauges the organization’s recognition of the diversity of its customer base and its effectiveness in designing and delivering products and services to current and future customers. 

      I interpret this as

      A) signing more diverse authors 

      B) creating books with inherent appeal to more diverse customers.

      Initial brainstorming:

      • Editorial staff can attend events and conferences where more diversity is represented.  (Please suggest events and conferences to me.)   Attending events and conferences is one major strategy we have for searching for authors.
      • Network more consciously and aggressively with the diverse authors & community members we currently know, in search of authors.
      • Work more aggressively with authors to eliminate jargon and academic terminology from their manuscripts.  

      Please add new ideas and give me implementation suggestions for my current ideas.  

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    We are a small group of BK employees who are conducting research and taking steps towards a more diverse (both demographically and content-wise) author base, audience, and employees - for now and for the future.