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     


How to reach new audiences? We offer four broad recommendations. Firstly, hiring more people who belong to disadvantaged communities is one important step. But even this comes without guarantees. People of colour who work in publishing should not be expected to do this labour. Publishers need to ensure that BAME employees are allowed to flourish and develop like their white peers. But they should be given the same privilege to fail as their white peers, too. Secondly, publishers need to be more creative in their


promotional strategies. They need to develop a stronger awareness of new media channels beyond the mainstream that are reaching previously neglected audiences. Genuine relationships need to be built with these new media so that such an engagement does not feel opportunistic. Once again, a more diverse promotional team will help in this regard. Publishers, and perhaps more crucially, retailers, need to challenge the assumption that traditional media is the only media that maters. Publishers also need to challenge their assumption that minorit audiences are too small to bother addressing. Thirdly, booksellers need to focus on how they can reach a more diverse audience of book buyers. It is encouraging that new independent bookstores are opening, but they all essentially look the same and are catering for the same


audience. To what extent do these spaces feel exclusionary to would-be readers, in terms of the booksellers, or the way that books are presented? Decentralising book buying might have an important impact in this respect, allowing branch managers to put together a selection of books that cater for the diversit of their particular communities. Fourthly, to reach and engage diverse audiences, publishers


need to invest more in audience development and work in partnership with audience engagement organisations or consultancies. This may require additional funding, but equally may be paid for by publishers. To discover new writers of colour, publishers should partner up with and support writer development initiatives who develop the “pipeline” of writers. And publishers should be working strategically across the sector to build on existing best practice in audience and writer-development initiatives. While there have been some big inroads made in recent times—publishing houses and the books they are publishing do feel more diverse—as all of our respondents mentioned, so much more work needs to be done. Unfortunately, this is not a quick fix and will take some significant transformation. But as a starting point, diversit needs to be stopped being seen as an additional extra. If publishers are serious about diversity, they need to invest more resources in reaching new audiences.


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