Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is this study?
A: The State of Racial Diversity in Romance Publishing Study tracks the publication of books written by authors of color and indigenous peoples in the romance genre.
Q: How did we collect this data?
A: 1. Identify and contact the leading romance publishers to determine if they will participate (participation consists of providing a list of titles published in a certain year).
2. Collect title data for publishers that choose not to participate from publisher and distributor websites and catalogues.
3. Research more than 1000 authors to identify people of color.
4. Crunch numbers, determine percentages, put report together.
Q: Is racial diversity the only kind of diversity that matters?
Q: Why only race?
A: While many groups are still woefully underrepresented in the romance genre including people with disabilities, marginalized religious groups, and members of the LGBTQ community, we had to start somewhere. This is a difficult subject to discuss, but racial discrimination is one of the largest to barriers to equality in any professional industry. Publishing, unfortunately, is not immune.
Q: How do you determine If someone is a person of color?
A: It is important to remember that race, ethnicity and national origin are all different things. For the purposes of this report, Native American and Indigenous authors are included in the term “people of color.” We understand that there are different schools of thought on this terminology and will continue to do our best to respect the wishes of Native American and Indigenous authors.
We were able to discern, to the best of our ability, members of different racial groups through information like photographs, social media and biographies from author websites. Many authors of color indicate that they identify as such in their bios or on their social media pages. All information we worked from is public. This is not a foolproof system and we readily admit that.
Q: Is there a margin of error?
A: Absolutely. We're not statisticians so we do not attempt to calculate the exact margin. Some authors do not choose to publicly share personal information for a variety of reasons. We wanted to respect that choice, but it does mean there is some room for error. It is also probable that in the midst of hundreds of authors, we will misidentity at least a few people’s race. We invite authors to inform us if they believe they have not been properly identified as a person of color.
Q: Why not examine the content of the books?
A: Diverse characters and settings are extremely important. We learn about our world and each other through the media we consume. However, the fictional characters in these books aren’t being negatively impacted by discrimination in real life. Real people who write books are, as are the real readers who purchase them. We need marginalized creators getting paid to tell their own stories in publishing. If every creator is white, the default is a white lens.