Advice For Authors
The example commitments have been written to work across the children's book industry. Below are some suggestions for how you could apply them as an author.
Example Core Commitments
Work towards all new books being authentically inclusive.
- When planning a new book, consider the diversity of the characters.
- If including a character from a background of which you don't have direct experience, consider how you will ensure that they will be authentic.
- Are your characters from marginalised backgrounds fully rounded and authentic, or does their characterisation rely on stereotypes?
Actively promote and display books that are inclusive of a diverse range of characters.
- When talking to publishers, agents and promoters, point out the inclusive elements of your book.
Attend/organise training, events and discussions around the areas of inclusion and diversity to motivate, educate and inspire.
- Attend events focused on inclusion and diversity.
- Encourage your publisher to organise events or discussions to promote and support your inclusive books.
Seek advice and consultancy to ensure that diverse characters are authentic.
- Ensure that books featuring characters from marginalised groups are well researched.
- Work with people from the backgrounds about which you are writing.
- Always research, never assume.
- Send inclusive manuscripts to be checked for authenticity.
Carry out regular audits of books to assess inclusion and diversity.
- Consider what proportion of your books are inclusive or feature characters from marginalised groups and diverse backgrounds.
- Of the books that are inclusive, how happy are you with the authenticity of the portrayal?
- Consider whether your writing could be more reflective of our diverse society.
Ensure that books and book events are accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
- Talk to your publisher about book events and ensure that they are appealing and accessible to a diverse audience.
- Ask your publisher to ensure that text to speech is enabled on eBooks, and to make a higher quality audio version available if possible.
Example Supplementary Commitments
For each book ask ‘Who is represented in this book, and how? Are the characters reflective of the world we live in? Is the representation authentic?’
- Make questioning and automatic part of the book writing process.
Discuss inclusion and diversity with colleagues and challenge those who downplay its importance.
- Make topics around inclusion part of your everyday conversations with fellow authors. Have discussions around stereotyping and accessibility. Consider why you personally believe that inclusion is important and use this as a starting point for conversations about its general importance.
Actively develop knowledge of different facets of diversity.
- Research and read around different facets of diversity.
- Follow relevant blogs and twitter feeds.
- Watch programmes about diversity.
- Attend events on diversity, not necessarily those aimed at the publishing industry.
Seek out and support those who create and curate high-quality inclusive books.
- Seek out authors and illustrators from diverse backgrounds.
- Seek out authors who write well-researched inclusive books.
- Support booksellers who curate inclusive books.
- Submit to publishers who publish inclusive books and listen to their feedback and advice.
Sign up to relevant newsletters to keep in touch with developments.
- Sign up to the Inclusive Minds newsletter.
- Sign up to the CBC Diversity Initiative newsletter.