Tag Archives: Twitter

#WeNeedDiverseBooks… And This Is What We Need To Do Next


For those of you who missed it, May 1st marked the kick off to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, voicing a demand that stories by and about people of colour, varying abilities and genders, and the LGBTQ community become more readily available to readers, particularly in children’s books and YA fiction.

Twitter and Tumblr users alike shared their reasons and support for diversity in literature, and the feeds are well worth checking out. They’ve also made an impact: The Book Con has finally added people of colour to their guest list.  Better very, very late than never, I suppose.

 So, what’s next?

What do we need to do now with all this feedback, not just at Sumbola as a start up publishing company, but as readers and writers?  After all, if feedback isn’t put to good use, well… it just isn’t useful.

For us, it comes down to empathy. We’re not here to lecture or patronize any reader, writer, or publisher, but what we want to advocate for is active consideration of others, particularly those of whom have experiences and perspectives that differ from our own. 

We believe that it is vital that every story teller and story lover place themselves in the shoes of the writers, and even the characters, with perspectives other than their own.  Secondly, we need to fully appreciate how important and wonderful it is to find ourselves and our loved ones in fiction, and everyone deserves this opportunity.

A little bit of empathy goes a long way; it leads to voting with our voices, voting with our dollars, doing the extra bit of research, and not accepting played-out ethnic or gender-based character tropes. It leads to a deeper understanding of literature (from comics to classics), and a better understanding of ourselves and the human condition. 

That’s it.  No six step guide, no infographic, no cartoons to help illustrate how to build a diverse bookshelf.  We’re just saying this: practice empathy, and keep on encouraging others to do the same.  Diverse and awesome stories will be the result.  

There is a fitting quote from Audre Lorde that encapsulates the importance and the blessing that diversity is:

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

This is why we need empathy.  This is why we need diverse books.

If you’re still looking for another reason, here are just a few of our favourites:

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#WeNeedDiverseBooks because it shouldn’t be easier to identify with a talking animal than with a human being who isn’t straight and white.

— Steve Foxe (@steve_foxe) May 1, 2014



So simple. So successful.

publishing news graphic

Scary Authors, Twitter Essays and Claire’s Imaginary Reads

Keep Calm and Read YA

Young Adult author A.S. King has had her share of criticism for the mature subject matter of her novels. She posted the article Who’s Afraid of A.S. King?  on her blog, Here’s Me Using the Word Blog in a Sentence.  King asks if it is the content itself that disturbs her critics: the cursing, the sex, violence, death, abuse, drugs, alcohol, or bullying that offends them, or rather if it simply that she chooses to explore the topics in novels designed for teen readers.   Quite wonderfully, she explains the importance of writing about the concepts, choices and consequences that teens face rather than hiding it, to which we say, write on, King, write on.

Twitter’s First Immigration Essay

Last week, author Teju Cole published a 4000 word essay on the American immigration system and its injustices… on Twitter. Cole told BuzzFeed that the he chose Twitter for the medium of the essay because a serious topic written about in a serious essay doesn’t have to be printed out in a serious major magazine.  Teju Cole continued, “I just feel so strongly that there’s an audience here, and audience that deserves to be treated with the same seriousness as the paper crowd”.  We love the idea of exploring new methods and mediums for getting a good story or idea out, and if you haven’t yet, “A Piece Of The Wall” is well worth the read.

Claire Underwood’s Bookshelf

Claire Underwood, the captivating, incisive leading woman of Netflix’s House of Cards, probably has amazing literary tastes.  Since she’s fictional, we probably won’t ever have a full understanding of what her favourite authors and to-be-read list would consist of, but that hasn’t stopped Book Riot contributer Wallace Yovetich from supposing the front runners of her book collection.  Of course, he’s got to be right on the money with Sun Tzu’s Art of War, and Machiavelli’s The Prince, but I bet you could find Slaughterhouse Five and The Bell Jar on her nightstand as well.

The Giver Is Finally Here

Or at least its trailer is anyways. The long awaited movie adaptation of Lois Lowry’s The Giver is well on its way, starring a strange and wonderful cast, including Meryl Streep (of several Oscar winning performances) , Jeff Bridges (of The Big Lebowski), Alexander Skarsgård (of True Blood) and Taylor Swift (of pop-country music that inevitably gets stuck in your head). The dystopian story of the boy chosen to bear the memories of his society is set to open in theatres August 15, 2014.


Do you have a publishing story you want us to share? Comment below, or tweet it to us @sumbolacosi!

Hashtags For Writers, Agents & Publishers


Are you an author looking for a literary agent or story inspiration?  Are you an agent looking to put your ideas out there?

If you’re either, you’re in luck.

This summer, agents, editors, publishers and readers have been using the #MSWL hashtag, tweeting for writers to answer their Manuscript Wish Lists. If you search #MSWL on twitter, you’ll find the most up-to-date and retweeted requests, constantly refreshing. Alternatively, you can visit the Agent And Editor Wish List, a dedicated tumblr to the best of the best MSWL tweets, created by writer KK Hendin (you can visit her blog here).  The next big MSWL event will be September 24th, but go ahead, check it out in the meantime!

Other notable hashtags for writers include:

Do you search Twitter for inspiration and discoveries? What other writer hashtags do you use? Comment below or tweet them to us @SumbolaCoSI.