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Who Guides the Publishing Industry?

Kristen Twardowski


Though diversity in both authors and books has increased in recent years, the publishing industry itself remains fairly homogenous. But what does a typical publishing professional look like? Who are the people who make decisions about editing, publishing, and marketing books?

Last year Lee & Low Books created the 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS) to answer those questions. Over 3400 publishing employees from over 40 North American companies including Bloomsbury Publishing, Macmillan, and Penguin Random House completed the survey. According their survey, the typical publishing employee is a lot like a fictional person who I’ll call Mary.

So who is Mary?


Mary is a white cis-gendered woman. She is straight and non-disabled. Let’s say that Mary began her career in the marketing department of a major publisher. It was the most racially diverse department at the publishing house, and 1 in 4 staff members in it considered themselves to be a race…

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A potato with a book. Screams German words when angry. Known as the Mid-night Chocolate Thief. Breathes to write and mingle. Observes and remembers. Pokes you when you least expect it. Can be put on a stand by mode with a cup of coffee/ tea.

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