DiverseVoices folds under pressure to ease barriers for underrepresented creators
We have lost a literary nonprofit organization dedicated to making sure more authors across diverse backgrounds enter the tough publishing market.
DiverseVoices Inc. has closed its doors online, according to an email and social media messages sent out last Friday. Founded in 2019 by Beth Phelan of the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency, the organization aspired “to empower and advocate for minority, underrepresented and other marginalized groups of writers, illustrators and other book creators.”
It rose from #DVPit, one of the more popular hashtag campaigns used on Twitter by aspiring writers from underrepresented groups pitching their stories in 280 characters or less for literary agents to take notice.
#DVPit will live on, but the organization that blossomed from it seems to have fallen prey to the excess work necessary to diversify the publishing industry. DiverseVoices mainly connected mentors, the established book creators, with mentees, the aspiring book creators, to guide them through the industry-standard labyrinth of editing and preparing manuscripts to querying and signing with agents in the long game to get their books published.
“i’m really sorry, yall. it’s been an honor serving the community but it was not sustainable for me. i’m heartbroken,” Beth tweeted in the announcement.
DiverseVoices says it had “insufficient resources necessary to sustain the organization.” The website alone, which expires next week, probably cost hundreds of dollars to be hosted online. The organization’s remaining funds will go to its more successful counterparts We Need Diverse Books and Our Voice Alliance.
All of its programs will cease, but YouTube videos will still be available. #DVPit has its own website. The 2023 dates for the pitch party have not been posted yet.
It’s unfortunate an organization dedicated to amplifying underrepresented voices will have to fold so soon. Though it was in existence for four years, that is not enough time to have seen its maximum potential, especially when you throw a yearslong pandemic in the mix.
The country is currently in a chokehold over banned books in spaces children frequent, so the need to ensure all serious authors are getting a fair shot to have their voices heard through their writing is more crucial than ever. Hopefully, other similar organizations can survive these trying times of financing support for authors who historically never received it.