The Scarcity Myth and Children’s Publishing

Scarcity is the idea that if someone else gets a publishing slot that there is not one available for you. Thus if publishers are actively seeking work by diverse authors, white authors will find it harder to get a contract.

The problem is that in children’s publishing, this is a myth. I know, I know. Some editor or agent said that they don’t want your book. They told you that they are currently focusing on books by BIPOC authors. Or someone that you know said this happened to them. They simply cannot sell because all the slots are going to those OTHER authors.

Rot and rubbish.

No really. That’s what it is.

This may be what they were told by an agent who didn’t want to say, “Your characters are painfully flat” or “Your plot is predictable.” After all, writers sometimes get defensive.

Watch the video above. Linda Sue Park does a very good job of explaining it. From 2018 to 2019, the number of books written by BIPOC author did grow. But, and this is the part you need to pay close attention to, so did the numbers of books by white authors.

Let me say that again. The numbers of books by white authors grew between 2018 and 2019. In fact the increase was greater than books by Asian, LatinX or any other group.

So in spite of the fact that more diverse authors were being published, there was no loss among white authors. No loss.

Publishing is not like pie. I can have a piece. You can have a piece. Her, way over there? She can have a piece too.

People are reacting out of fear. Instead of doing this, arm yourself with information and then get back to work. Write. Rewrite. And write some more. Polish your craft and then submit. Kids need all kinds of books and your book will not be sidelined simply because you are white.

–SueBE