Black Lives Matter
There are 1,000,000 things I’d like to say on this topic. The first of which is a simple statement: I, a white, cis gendered queer female, do not speak for the Black community. I don’t even speak for the white, cis gendered queer women out there, because I am one person, I am not everyone and do not think that my one voice is strong enough to hold all of us that identify like me. That statement aside, I do have my own opinions, and my own platform, to say a few things. So I will.
Black Lives Matter is the minimum. That’s the basic, ground level, of human rights. The facts that men and women and children are needing to remind the people of power and the general population of our country this is so far beyond sad, but all too necessary. So I want to be clear. I as a person, and this company, fully support the Black Lives Matters movement.
Now that I say that, what does it mean? Well, as a person it mean that I continue to speak my mind and conscience and push the rhetroic when necessary when I hear people making racist or generally troubling remarks. For instance, our company, and myself uniquivcably do not promote the ‘All Lives Matter’ movement. No one said ‘Only’ black lives matter. And saying all lives or blue lives or green lives etc matter is a direct response to the black lives matters movement meant to undermine and disenfranchise it. I believe you have your right to say and think whatever you please, but let it be know that so do we, and we say, ‘we see you,’ when you undermine Black people’s struggles and political rights to assert themselves as full members of this country, protected under the law. It also means that I will be more silent than usual and I will actively make more of an effort to listen to Black stories and Black experiences, and as such will do my best to make space for them to speak for themselves. Because calling out a racist bully is one thing, I can and will continue to do that, but taking up space as a white woman and retelling Black experiences is not my place, and knowing this, I will be silent.
As a company, what does it mean when we say that we support Black Lives Matter? It means that I have taken time to consider what systemic racism has done to the Black community in my own industry. Black authors getting passed over, stories of all-white characters taught in public schools of white and mixed communities. These are just two obvious examples I found when I really thought about it. After looking into some of the blatant issues, I thought, how can we be different? For one, I’ve never treated an writer of color different than a white writer. But I am also aware that I have yet to work with a Black author. And no, I have not turned any down. And yes, we are a new company that has worked with a handful of writers to bring them to publication, so really the pool is not quite large. But these are excuses. While I have not sought to solicit work and we have grown and worked with writers, local businesses and individuals that were recommended to us— resting our laurels on word-of-mouth as it were... I am not satisfied in that answer. As such I am actively soliciting, starting today, within communities of color and within my own mixed (albeit, not very mixed) community.
In an effort to ensure that Writer’s First Publishing does NOT profit from the Black Lives Matters movement the solicitation of publication and editing for black writers or black businesses will be 100% free. Our company will take on as much business as we can handle and we will not charge for it. Furthermore, the ‘altruistic’ profiting will be reduced as much as possible, in that I will NOT publicize the free work we are doing unless specifically asked by the writer to promote their work for them through our platforms. That means any editing and any publishing done will 1- not be publicized for altruistic profit on our website or social media or any marketing platform and 2- unless the writer wants to use our publishing credit (I will have it be there choice) we will not take credit. I will assist writers who wish to self-publish in doing so through the Amazon market place to take us out of the equation completely.
I know that not all companies are in a position to offer the things we are choosing to offer. That does not mean they care less or that we care more. It means we searched within ourselves and said -what is wrong here- and are doing whatever we can, to our detriment or not, to better the situation out there. Because, well, Black out Tuesday was beautiful, wasn’t it? To see a community of humans come together to support members of our the community who are in need, in desperate need to be heard, respected, and given a damn seat at the table instead of in the back of a police cruiser or a hearse. Well what Main Street was flooded with successful Black businesses? What if the literary world was flooded with Black voices, Black persepectives, and Black authors were given the mic? So send your queries, and if you’re not familiar with the process you can view our ‘submit a query’ page or just send us an email. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org Send an email with a brief introduction of yourself, a synopsis of the work you’re looking to have published and/or edited, and the first say 10 pages of the work. Feel free to also start with an email without sending the work if you’re not ready for that yet. We work as developmental editors as well and can help you get publihsing-ready. For the Black individuals out there who may need resume assistance: email email@example.com For the Black businesses who need marketing material created: email firstname.lastname@example.org I am here for you in solidarity and I will fight for you the best way I know how, using what I have at my disposal. I know it is not enough, but it is a place for us to start moving the needle.