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 Inspired Quill (IQ) as a 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.
Diversity in Books
- We understand ‘inclusive books’ to mean great mainstream stories, not isolated as a separate genre or segregated strand of literature. We loudly champion LGBT+ stories, but we will not use that as the primary marketing ‘hook’ for any title. Rather, we seek to fully normalise everyday diversity.
- We will write mindfully, by actively choosing characters’ unique qualities by turn, and not simply defaulting 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.
- 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 are committed to playing a part in ensuring that all readers can find authentic representations of themselves in books, as well as seeing representations of individuals who are different from them.
- We will ensure that books, events, and mentoring are accessible to the widest audience possible.
- We commit to working on our ‘Suspended Books’ scheme on a completely non-profit basis.
- Talks, Panels, and Workshops will not be confined to Universities or classrooms in affluent areas – although we recognise the importance for dialogue between business and institutions.
- We will take on board all reader feedback regarding characterisation, and will not discard any comments that don’t align with our egos.
- On book covers, we will avoid tropes such as the ‘Black Maid’ or ‘Asian Hands’, and instead intend to fully represent the characters in a truthful and authentic way.
Author & Volunteer Community
- 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 to.
- IQ will work to foster an internal community where discussions 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.
Equality in Business
- Inspired Quill understands the wide-ranging nature of the term ‘diversity’ to encompass (but not 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, and challenge the status quo where applicable.
- Wherever possible, Inspired Quill will share knowledge, processes, and insights with other industry professionals – and we will (no doubt) learn from others in turn.
- Partnering (whether casually or formally) with external groups in order to better understand the landscape and take strategic action to help those groups in turn shall become a cornerstone for our outreach efforts.
- 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 when it comes to the steps we are prioritising, how we have struggled in the past, and any ongoing endeavours.
- We will keep learning, and aim to keep up to date with matters surrounding diversity and inclusion.
- All videos uploaded to the Inspired Quill Youtube channel will have written transcriptions which have been checked manually to ensure consistency, relevance and correctness.
- The management team will undergo training courses pertaining to basic British Sign Language (BSL) to use during events where relevant – and will always have a way of writing comments quickly in such instances as required.
- Our printed catalogue will include a plain-text version to make it easier for mobile apps to read for anyone who is partially-sighted.
- Inspired Quill will work to develop audiobooks of all of our titles.
- Our books are available in various digital formats (including PDF on request).
- We will work on improving the usability of the Inspired Quill website as per WCAG2 Guidelines, starting with solid ALT Text, non-auto playing sound elements, and non-flashing media items.
- All volunteers are able to work remotely, and in whatever manner or time they wish. This will ensure that those with medical or mental health requirements are able to take necessary breaks, and work from a set-up which suits them.
- Events (such as workshops) where we have a say in their location, will be fully accessible to anyone with mobility requirements.
- We will remain open to including more items to the pledge above, and stay committed to learning and growing within whatever means we have to ensure that our books and business are both accessible as possible.
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?”
Yeah, saying all this stuff about diversity is great – but we actually live by this pledge, too. Follow us on social media to see how.