Today I have Danielle from PoetryBooksYA on my blog discussing her thoughts on diversity at book events. I’ll let her take it from here!
Speaking only from my experience, I wanted to discuss my thoughts on how I feel about seeing so much drama on book event FOMO (fear of missing out) and their diversity issues.
On one hand, I’ve never felt jealous of the book content creators who do attend these events. In fact, I’m a fan of a lot of the Booktubers who go because it gives me a chance to see from their perspective on what they did, who they were with, which authors they went to check out. It doesnt do me any harm to see how they chose to spend their weekend or week-long vacation.
On the other hand, I do think that specific book events like BEA (Book Expo America) and BookCon have a bit of a diversity problem that needs to be addressed. As a young, black female book blogger, I feel like I don’t have a proper space for things like BEA and BookCon because they’re not catered to me. They’re mostly catered to the white, cishet (cisgender/heterosexual) book content creators who invest their time to go every year. That’s why we see the same faces attending; there’s little to no growth in expanding the audience level. They’ve already shown that they hustled hard for their craft and have the privilege to go. But can they say the same for underprivileged creators? Black creators? Disabled? LGBT? I don’t think so. The book community has taken a step forward in wanting to read more diversely. However, it has taken five steps back by not expanding their brands to be more inclusive, and not exclusive.
I’ve never felt the desperate need to go to any book events, even ones that are local to me. I dont have the time or money to be fake around people who would just ignore or avoid me, and the friends i do have, theyre not diehard book fans like that, so I’d probably feel alone in my hyped up feelings. Also, these overhyped events seem fun for a minute but get exhausting later lol. It’s like Disney World; hyped so much, but once you get there, you want go back home, so whats the point?! I’d rather form my sense of community with the community online in my own way, rather than be too out in the open with people I barely know at an event that I barely know. These big events are an added bonus, not an absolute need.