Dear Christian Literary Agents: A Letter On Diversity

I recently surveyed a list of about thirty, legitimate Christian, or part Christian, literary agencies to learn about their websites and submissions. Here’s what I discovered.

Approximately five of these reputable agencies who pitch traditional publishers had an African-American client. To be more precise, among the five agencies, some had about… ONE.  (Kudos to those who have diversified.)

So… please allow me to offer some suggestions to those who lack racial diversity on their client list. This may help people of color like myself to feel included or desired by your Christian agency.

ONE:

The majority of these Christian agencies had Caucasian agents. Now, nothing is wrong with Caucasian, but it makes me wonder why they haven’t attempted to diversify their team who pitches to worldwide publishers.

TWO:

Nowhere in the agent bios that I read— among these all-Caucasian, Christian agencies who wrote their submission preferences— was a call for queries containing diversity, social justice, or perspectives from Christian minorities. (According to Publishers Weekly, SCBWI, and the 2017 Book Lists, there’s an audience for that.)

THREE:

Check your websites. If Caucasian faces only are displayed on book covers, blog interviews, or even your slider announcements, it gives your visitors a clear indication of your target audience. Or at least, it is perceived that way. 

But, we’re Christians— just saying— and yet, I feel completely marginalized by many of you because you are the gatekeepers. If it does not cross your mind to include other racial groups, this is called “white privilege” because generally, Caucasian people can visit your site feeling included.  Meanwhile, many of the rest of us simply feel ignored, minimized, and feared.

Wouldn’t you agree that all aspiring authors must do their homework and find the agent who will fit us, like us, and support our work?

So, what message are you sending (or not sending) to the world? CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE THE MOST RACIALLY-INCLUSIVE PEOPLE ON THE PLANET.

I’ve spent, literally, the past year diligently practicing and educating myself about forms of book writing, art, illustration, and everything “query” to break into the book publishing industry, which thus far has not been an easy task.  So with boldness, I respectfully ask you to challenge yourselves about minority perspectives and inclusivity because many of us are Christians with stories to tell and we would certainly like more options to query that Christian agent or Christian agency who gets it. 

Our stories and perspectives matter.

Signed,

What Most Christian People of Color, Who Aspire to Write Christian Books and Need a Christian Literary Agent, are Thinking

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