Monday, February 8, 2016

Take the Pledge! #diversity #writing #readerprobs

It's no secret there are trends in writing. Right now bookshelves are full of vampires, shifters, doms, and bounty hunters. Who can say what they'll be full of in 20 years? Possibly still vampires, shifters, doms, and bounty hunters.

The thing about trends is no one knows when the next one will strike because authors rarely get a bulletin in advance. Someone writes a story, readers go crazy for it, and half the authors of that genre pop to their feet like a gang of meerkats with a collective 'oh!' of inspiration.

Several months later variations of that same theme start to flow out to readers. 

For the last year, (probably longer, I just hadn't  noticed) I've witnessed a rarely seen phenomenon. Readers are begging for a specific story. It's a constant cry that is getting louder.

We want diversity, damn it!

A growing collection of readers is sick of books about white men. They want something fresh, something realistic. After all, cities are full of people who aren't white and aren't men. Why not write about those?

The loudest voices are coming from younger readers. In a few years, those won't be young readers anymore.They'll be our readers. Are we ready for them?

Since readers have been kind enough to tell us in advance what they want, I intend to respect the request. At the moment, my books are predominately about men because you can't write gay romance without them. I have transgender and genderfluid characters in almost every book, but that still leaves room for other bits of diversity and I have no excuse not to add them. 

I'm taking the diversity pledge. Will you?

I am in the middle of a series (Blue) that I expect to go on for at least a couple more books. I can't change the main characters, but I can add others. So, effective February 2016 I officially pledge to do something about the lack of diversity in my books. As of the third installment in the Blue Series readers will begin to see other voices in the background, other skin colors, other genders.

Since I'm writing about people who live in Vancouver, B.C. adding those voices will bring the stories closer to reality. No one would ever accuse that corner of British Columbia of being too white. For the last 20 years, it's been a contest between Asian and Caucasian for the title of most dominant ethnic background. By all rights, half of my characters should be Asian with regular appearances from blacks and Hispanics.

I intend to do something about that.

Stay tuned!  

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