Bring Diversity to the Table: Online Writing Provides Everyone a Chance to Express

Ace Author Club
4 min readSep 13, 2021

If you are a romance story lover, you must hear about the RITA Award. As the top honor for romance writers in America, in 2018, the organization acknowledged that no black authors had won the prize in its 36-year history. It is not just an isolated example. The traditional publishing market has been criticized for making money rather than seeking diversity in authors and works.

Photo by Bruce Dixon on Unsplash

The Open Book Blog, Lee & Low Books, has released The 2019 Diversity Baseline Survey Results. This survey showed that among the relevant staff, including publishing staff, review journal staff, and literary agents, 74% were White. Meanwhile, 81% of them were heterosexual, and 89% were non-disabled. This phenomenon signifies the bias in the types of authors and content that are presented to the public. The State of Racial Diversity in Romance Publishing 2020 indicated the same situation. Based on this report, for every 100 books published by the leading romance publishers in 2020, only 12 were written by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

Staff plays the role of gatekeepers in the traditional publishing industry. Their identities, races, educational background, etc., would impact how they can determine the values of stories and what voice should be shouted out in mainstream society unconsciously. Although traditional publishing companies claimed their efforts for more diverse genres and authors in the past few years, many statistics told another story. The traditional publishers might need more time to achieve this goal, while writers and readers seem not to want to wait anymore. Their desire to voice their opinions, feelings, and stories is unstoppable.

The Rise of Online Writing

In the past few years, Kindle has set the trend for digital publishing. The sales of digital books also witness an increase during the pandemic. Then the Internet becomes a choice for both readers and writers. Some experts in the industry believe the growth of digital publishing could be attributed to it always having a sight of the most important thing in publishing, the readers. This means digital publishing provides various materials to cater to the array of tastes while traditional publishing fails. Because of this, many writers view digital publishing as a rare window for expression and decide to write and publish online, which leads to the flourishing of online writing. Take Stary as an example. After officially launching Dreame in 2018, now more than 100,000 authors worldwide are writing with Stary and have published over 300,000 original stories. The market for online writing and publishing is predicted to expand in the future.

When Things Come Online, The Border is Broken

In the age of digital, the traditional gatekeeper functions are being downplayed in the rise of online writing. With the Internet, everyone has the same opportunity to voice their love. Creators have more freedom to create and publish through the Internet. Readers similarly own the initiative to read what they love. Besides evergreen genres such as Romance and Fantasy, more genres spring up, bringing story diversity to the table.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Many powerful cultural events and movements have taken place in the past five years.

1. The #MeToo movement has increased the visibility of females in mainstream society. Which also has a significant impact on the genre of online fiction. Nowadays, more online writers try to design a strong and independent heroine instead of a girl who lacks independent minds and realizes her own value by marrying a powerful man.

2. The huge success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians changes the landscape. The protagonists of online fiction tend to be more diverse than before. Writers pay more attention to describing and discussing the dilemmas and contradictions among these characters.

3. LGBT+ stories have been adapted as TV series and movies. These works not only gain high box office but also are rewarded by mainstream awards. The increasing number of LGBT+ fiction on online reading platforms indicates that the diversity and inclusion of online writing are driving this industry.

Stary Writing Academy III is Calling for Diverse Submissions

If you have a story to tell, you should shout it out. Stary Writing always works hard on supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Writer here can express and create regardless of languages, cultures, identities, educational backgrounds, etc. Now the Stary Writing Academy III is in full swing, and calling for more diverse stories including girl power, hybrid heroine, LGBT+, etc.

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