It’s long been a goal of mine to bring more voices into business book publishing. What I mean by this is that in a space dominated by white men, I would like to see more POC and women writing books for all readers, not just for the communities from which they’re from.
I was reminded of this mission and how very far we still have to go while listening to a podcast hosted by a woman. This is someone with killer credentials and an impressive platform.
At the start of the podcast she read a letter from a reader in which he stated that as a man he found it enlightening to hear a female perspective. I wondered. How many women have listened to men talk over the years and thought it was refreshing to hear a man’s perspective? Or felt the need to commend someone for connecting with them, because they weren’t the same gender?
What bothered me further was the host giving up her own power by saying that the podcast felt geared toward women because a lot of her guests were women and because her expertise and talks often came from her own life and her own perspective. But do we feel that a podcast hosted by a man with male guests is only geared to men?
Why do we feel if it comes from the perspective of a woman or a POC that people outside that experience won’t be interested? We never say that about white men. We never it’s enlightening to hear Adam Grant or Dave Ramsey or Tony Robbins talk from their white male perspectives.
While I’m using the example of a podcast, the same is true of books. Read the reviews and see how many of them comment that they were surprised to find they connected with the book even though it was written by a person outside their community.
The Readers’ Responsibility
As readers it is as much our responsibility to bring change as it is as publishing professionals. I can bring more business books to publishers written by POC or women, but if we as readers aren’t buying them we’re not doing those writers justice.
We want to make changes in publishing, we need to also change as readers. We need to consciously buy and read books written by authors from marginalized communities. And I don’t mean just business books. For every book we read, in every genre.