So I know that this is already months late, and I don’t know why I was thinking about this now, but I’ve been looking at Goodreads and I keep seeing the winners of the 2019 Goodreads Awards and I’ve just been bothered by them lately.
Well even more than I was before, if that’s even possible.
I know I’m not the only one that could see the issue with this year’s winners, and I will make a disclaimer saying that I in no way, shape, or form have any negative thoughts about the authors that won personally. I even like some of these authors and have read their books, and love their books! That’s not the issue here, so please don’t think that’s my point.
Now since the awards has already finished and much of the discussion has died down, I don’t have a lot of tweets to show the readers’ point of views on the awards, but you can see above that the issue here is pretty clear.
In the entire process, there were barely any books either written by an Author of Color, or were primarily about other marginalized groups, as discussed in these quotes here. But 2019 was the year that I saw SO MANY of these amazing books come out, so much hype and marketing from the book blogging community, and yet… none of that seemed to translate on to Goodreads at all.
It may seem strange to you – as it does to me – but honestly, look at the past years awards and their nominations. There’s a clear pattern and this isn’t the first time that this has been brought up.
Just from this photo, I really can only see maybe one POC author? Ali Wong, who technically is a comedian, or more known as a comedian than a novelist. Then I see Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski representing the LGBT community, but correct me if I’m wrong.
Is that it?
I see Mexican & Gay Representation in Red, White & Royal Blue in the main character Alex. So hey that’s four books now.
And I guess if you want to throw in Deja in Pumpkinheads because she’s Black and Queer. Let’s do that.
But should we really have to “dig in” to what is diverse representation just to say “hey, it’s diverse!”. Because, come on. That’s not really diverse representation. That’s just checking the box, something that I’ve brought up before in another post.
While Goodreads and the publishing industry as a whole needs some serious revamping in order to truly give the proper marketing, promotion, and support that POC and other marginalized groups deserve, it seems like some people within the book blogging community took matters into their own hands. Which is freaking awesome. Kal @ Reader Voracious took it upon herself to create the Bookish Reader’s Choice Awards for 2019, which was so successful and I’m just so proud of her for taking on such a huge project like this! This awards system went based on OUR nominations, and showcased a lot of debut authors that didn’t get their chance to shine on Goodreads, despite having a lot of positive feedback throughout our community.
We also have bloggers that dedicate their blogs and space to talk about diversity in their reading, and take the time to interview authors of all representation to let us get to know them better, and learn more about their books, as well as gives bloggers a chance to speak about their own experiences.
Some examples include:
There are so many more, and these are just three bloggers that have done an amazing job at bringing diversity to the forefront.
All in all, I think that while we as a community have been doing a great job being more diverse, publishing companies need to do a better job too. I can’t tell them what to do, and while it seems like the majority of us have been constantly saying this needs to happen, we aren’t being heard as much as we like. So what can we do?
We can keep doing what we’re doing. Make our money talk, so to speak. Support more #OwnVoices books and authors. Do our due diligence in making sure that we are accurately showing what is being represented in our reviews, discussion posts, etc. Keep showing that these are the kinds of books and content that WE WANT.
And you know, keep reading. That is the most important part.