Welcome to BIPOC Writers of SFF!
Our intention is to publish a list of long-form traditionally published speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and horror) by BIPOC writers on a quarterly basis, as well as a complete list of titles at the end of each year. To be clear, these aren’t recommendation lists and are meant to be a community resource. The current plan is that each list will include titles released in the last three months and forthcoming titles being published in the next six months. We hope you will consider signing up for our mailing list, adding us to your bookmarks or feed reader, or following us on Twitter @sffbipocwriters.
It is no secret the publishing industry struggles with racial inequity. The new 2019 CCBC report, which covers children’s and YA books, shows that last year, 83.2 percent of total books received by CCBC were written by white writers. In comparison, looking at the US Census 2019 estimates shows us 60.1 percent of the US population is “White alone, not Hispanic or Latino.” The CCBC report shows 5.7 percent of kidlit books were written by Black and African writers, compared to 13.4 percent of the American population being Black or African American.
The 2019 Lee and Lowe Diversity Baseline Survey shows that 76 percent of publishing staff, review journal staff, and literary agents are white, while only 5 percent of publishing staff is Black. Breaking it down a bit further, 85 percent in editorial are white and 78 percent in the executive level are white (this last number has improved significantly from 2015, when the number was 86 percent).
Meanwhile, Fireside Fiction’s 2017 #BlackSpecFic report showed only 4.3 percent of stories published by speculative fiction magazines were written by Black authors, which represented a doubling in Black representation since 2015. And this summer’s recent #PublishingPaidMe campaign has called into question possible discrepancies in author advances based on race, as well as differences in how books written by BIPOC writers are received and marketed.
Most of you already know this. And you know how important it is to support new books by BIPOC writers. These books run the gamut of genre, of tone, of subject matter. There are scary books, swoony books, hard science fiction books, books packed with action, books packed with atmosphere, books with gorgeous prose, books that keep you turning the pages, books that make you laugh, books that teach you what it is to be human. The number of new worlds awaiting exploration through the portals of these novels is truly inspiring.
Our hope is that having a regularly updated list of these books will make it easier for everyone to discover and enjoy them, whether that means buying them yourself or asking your library to order them if they haven’t already done so. We also hope these lists will help you support BIPOC writers in other ways, hence the focus on forthcoming books in the future. So many of us in the speculative fiction community are doing more than reading: We are organizing conventions and festivals. We are attending readings. We are hosting podcasts. We are writing book reviews. We are working in libraries and bookstores. We are posting on social media. We are running book clubs. We are nominating works for awards. And knowing what is up and coming and being able to plan ahead gives us the chance to offer more opportunities and exposure to these writers.
Our first list of titles will be out next week! We hope you visit us then, and in the meantime, happy reading!