Advice for Publishers

The example commitments have been written to work across the children's book industry. Below are some suggestions for how you could apply them within the publishing sector.

Example Core Commitments

Work towards all new books being authentically inclusive.

  • Ensure that inclusion and diversity are front and centre in editorial meetings.
  • When looking at manuscripts talk about who is portrayed and how. Are characters from marginalised backgrounds fully rounded and authentic, or does their characterisation rely on stereotypes?
  • Seek authors and illustrators from marginalised backgrounds.
  • Let agents know that you're activity looking for diverse authors and inclusive books.
  • Include information about inclusion in submission and illustrator guidelines.

Actively promote and display books that are inclusive of a diverse range of characters.

  • Promote inclusive books and those by diverse authors with the same status as any other book.
  • Ensure AIs highlight inclusive content so that booksellers and librarians are aware of it, but promote the story first and foremost.

Attend/organise training, events and discussions around the areas of inclusion and diversity to motivate, educate and inspire.

  • Book in-house training on inclusion and diversity for all staff, not just editorial.
  • Attend publishing events focused on inclusion and diversity.
  • Organise events or discussions to promote and support your inclusive books and diverse authors.

Seek advice and consultancy to ensure that diverse characters are authentic.

  • Ensure that manuscripts featuring characters from marginalised groups are well researched.
  • Send inclusive manuscripts to be checked for authenticity prior to copy-editing.

Carry out regular audits of books to assess inclusion and diversity

  • Analyse your backlist and forthcoming publishing programme to see what proportion of books are inclusive or feature characters from marginalised groups and diverse backgrounds.
  • Of the books that are inclusive, how authentic are the portrayals? 
  • How could the proportion of inclusive books be increased? Make an action point of how this will be achieved.

Ensure that books and book events are accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

  • Keep accessibility in mind when designing books. Consider the paper, typeface, layout, contrast and any background behind the text.
  • Ensure that text to speech is enabled on eBooks. 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 an automatic part of the book creation, development and selection process.
  • Include information about authentic inclusion in your submission guidelines.
  • Let agents know that you're activity looking for diverse authors and inclusive books.

Discuss inclusion and diversity with colleagues and challenge those who downplay its importance.

  • Make topics around inclusion part of your everyday conversations. 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 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.