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Inspired Quill’s Diversity Pledge

The publishing industry at large does not currently reflect the society in which we live. It is therefore crucial to take a mindful, proactive approach to all areas of our business and the books we champion when it comes to representative diversity.

Our diversity mission is simple:

To champion non-tokenistic diversity in all areas of our business and publications in order to more truly reflect the world in which we live and empower everyone – regardless of sex, gender, race, ethnicity, age, class, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, physical and mental ability.

Steps towards this goal:

In order to achieve our mission, we must be continually mindful of the following steps in the coming months and years. Where necessary, these steps will evolve and change, without losing sight of our overall mission. We must always remember why these steps exist in the first place.

Business

  • Inspired Quill understands the wide-ranging nature of the term ‘diversity’ to encompass (but not necessarily be limited to) race and heritage, disability, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, religion, and culture.
  • We will engage with industry colleagues to reinforce the importance of non-tokenistic diversity in all its forms. Success will be highlighted, and the status quo challenged where applicable. We will not shy away from uncomfortable but important conversations when required. Wherever possible, Inspired Quill will share knowledge, processes and insights with other industry professionals in order to further their own journeys – and we will (no doubt) learn from others in turn. IQ will also challenge colleagues who disregard the importance of diversity.
  • We will seek out and champion others who are already making strides in this industry. In doing so, we recognise that we all win. This is no place for ego.
  • There will be absolute, non-negotiable transparency  within Inspired Quill as to the steps we are prioritising, how we may have struggled or missed the mark in the past, and any ongoing future endeavours.
  • We will keep learning, and aim to keep up to date with matters surrounding diversity and inclusion.

Authors & Volunteers

  • We commit to providing a space where all individuals feel both comfortable and welcomed to submit work for possible publication, or request a volunteer position.
  • We will extend submission outreach and visibility to specifically diverse groups and spaces, whose members may not be (currently) proportionally represented in the industry, or who may not be members of such spaces that we previously marketed through.
  • IQ will work to foster an internal community where discussion around these topics are not shied away from, but can be aired with empathy, curiosity and humour, for the benefit of all – without any individual being expected to put in all of the emotional work to educate others.
  • When we are in a position to hire employees, we will pay at least the UK Living Wage.
    • Payment will be affected by the position, and not by an employee’s sex, gender, race, ethnicity, age, class, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, physical and mental ability. We believe that if someone is able to do a job, they should be paid accordingly.

Readers

  • We will ensure that books, events and mentoring are accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
  • Events will not be confined to a small geographical area.
  • We commit to working on our ‘Suspended Books’ scheme on a completely non-profit basis.
  • Through initiatives such as Creative Access, we will mentor industry newbies.
  • Author talks will not be confined to Universities or classrooms in affluent areas.
  • We are committed to playing a part in ensuring that all readers can find authentic representations of themselves in books, as well as seeing those who are different from them.
    • We will take on board all reader feedback regarding characterisation, and will not discard any comments that don’t align with our egos.
    • This includes on book covers: we will not shy away from showing diverse characters by utilising tropes such as the ‘black maid’ or ‘Asian hands’.

Books

  • We understand ‘inclusive books’ to mean great mainstream stories, not isolated as a separate genre or segregated strand of literature.
    • For example: While we will champion LGBT stories, we will not use that as the primary ‘hook’ for any title. Rather, we seek to fully normalise diversity in the way that it should be.
  • We will write mindfully, and actively choose characters’ unique qualities by turn, and not simply default to that with which we are most familiar.
  • All new titles will be authentically inclusive as per their setting, genre, tone and cast of characters.
    • Each new title will go through a process of mindful character development.
  • When appropriate, we will seek advice from readers to ensure that characters are authentic. However, we also recognise that every person’s lived experiences are different, and as such must also take this into consideration.

We recognise that the above steps are not a perfect solution, but they are nevertheless important to start gaining tangible results. This pledge will be considered and revised on an ongoing basis as we improve both as individuals and as a company.

We promise to never, ever expect cookies and pats on the back for doing these things, which in a perfect world would come as standard. That is what we strive towards

By working together toward diversity and inclusion within our workplaces, industries, and broader business community, we can cultivate meaningful change for our society.

Eventually, we want people to read this diversity statement and say, “what do you need that for?”

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