Girls Write Now
Writing Our Way to Wellness
8. Straight No Chaser: Authenticity as BIPOC in Publishing

8. Straight No Chaser: Authenticity as BIPOC in Publishing

Michael Mejias, founder of Inkluded, talks with Margery Hannah about going from (almost) pilot to publisher and how to be your true self in the workplace.

In advance of our event with Inkluded, we’re talking about wellness in the workplace. To do your best work, you need a safe and supportive environment where your authentic self is championed by your co-workers and superiors. For many Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other people of color, this is not a given.

The publishing industry has a diversity problem. According to a 2019 Lee & Low survey, 76% of publishing staff, review journal staff, and literary agents surveyed were white. Meanwhile, Black publishing professionals only made up 5% of all employees, and Latinx only made up 6%. Michael Mejias, founder of the Writers House Intern Program and Inkluded, is working to change that.

In this episode led by Margery Hannah, program manager at Girls Write Now, Michael gets candid about the meager gains of racial minorities in publishing and what can be done to accelerate progress.

“There are more people who look like us in the way that six cents is more than a nickel,” Michael said. “We’re populating publishing more now than in its 500 year history, but when you consider that it’s 500 years, that’s not a very big showing.”

Listen to an excerpt from their conversation in this episode of Writing Our Way to Wellness, which covers Michael’s meandering career path from flight school dropout to a publishing professional at Writer’s House, how Michael and Margery have seen the publishing industry change (and remain stagnant), and whether affinity-focused imprints are the sole solution to producing diverse stories.

Want to learn more about how you can break into the publishing industry as a BIPOC? Join us on January 9th for a free, online event with Michael Mejias and alum of the Inkluded Academy.

Watch the full conversation here.

Referenced in this conversation:

Lee and Low Survey

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Girls Write Now
Writing Our Way to Wellness
Writing Our Way to Wellness is a conversational podcast driven by Girls Write Now’s community members of mentees, mentors, and content experts exploring wellness in the art of writing. Released in September 2023, Writing Our Way to Wellness gives silenced voices a brave space to navigate what wellness looks, sounds, and feels like to them. Listeners will be able to engage in transcultural and intergenerational conversations covering a range of topics from social, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness. By exploring this rarely discussed matter, listeners and our guests will leave the conversation with more tools to help them navigate the challenges that follow being a human in this ever-evolving society.