I've noticed that a lot of online magazines and anthologies will mention how much they want more representation of people from "various underrepresented backgrounds", which one publisher listed as "women, people of color, LGBTQ or non-binary gender people, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States." I'm not sure how some of these groups are underrepresented in fiction, such as authors with a disability. Unless they mean authors with a disability writing about characters with a disability, which sounds a bit silly.

I have a chronic condition but wouldn't want to be typecast as an author who only writes stories about characters with the same condition, nor would I want to be known as that writer with that condition, since it's a challenge I've had to overcome in my life, and not something I want to be viewed as one of my defining character traits (and it's probably evident that I don't even like mentioning it to people if I don't have to, given that I haven't stated what it is). It's also odd that they don't mention anything about class, as impoverished people are among the most underrepresented demographics in fiction, despite making up roughly half of the U.S., probably because poor people can't buy much, so what's the point in appealing to them? No wonder stuff like movies and television constantly depict characters living a lifestyle a majority of Americans couldn't afford. I might even go as far as to say that my condition has had been less of a burden on my life than my economic class, since it was the issue of money which made me decide against going to college until recently.

Read:  Our Writing Anxieties

The publisher I referenced above also says that they want to publish stories that reflect diversity, and that you should tell them in your cover letter what "underrepresented groups" you identify as, though they also acknowledge that they need to account for their own biases while judging your work, as well as stating that the work is read anonymously. I don't understand how it can be anonymous if they say that they want you to tell them about your gender identity or race or disability so they can apparently base the likelihood of publishing it on that fact.

So are publishers that mention diversity more likely, like this one seemingly is, to to publish your work if you tell them about a way you're part of an underrepresented demographic? Even if they seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouth, saying that they want to publish authors from underrepresented groups but say that they might have biases against said group? And if it would be a good idea to mention how you're different, am I justified in still being reluctant to bring it up? I just fear that doing so would lead to them including that detail in my bio, in the event I got published, and I really don't want to be known as that guy with that condition.

Source: reddit post


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