A Call To All #DiverseBookBloggers

Hello, fellow book bloggers!

If you are active on Twitter, you may have noticed a recent hashtag being circulated and used. That hashtag is #DiverseBookBloggers.

If you are not active on Twitter or are confused about what the hashtag means, let me give you a bit of background on how it came to be. (Though, please be warned that I can be rather long-winded when I feel something is important, so bear with me.)

It all started with the following tweet:

You all know how scarce male book bloggers are in the community. We’re a rare breed, but what’s even rarer are male bloggers who are people of color. And as far as  I knew, I was the only male Latino book blogger around. I certainly hadn’t met any others. But I was certain that I couldn’t be the only one. So I embarked on a quest to find at least one more (#JuanMoreBookBlogger :p) who was also male and Latino.

As you can see, I received a lot of support with 100 retweets. Eventually I found 3 other Latino male book bloggers

  1. Scott Esposito @ Conversational Reading 
  2. Joseph Jess @ The Boy Who Cried Books
  3. Mark Oshiro @ Mark Reads

My quest was successful. I learned I was not alone in the community.

But why did I need 100 retweets find another book blogger who shared a similar background? This got me thinking about the importance of representation in the book blogging community, not only of male bloggers but also bloggers who are people of color. 

Some may say that they don’t care about or pay attention to the background of the bloggers they follow. I’m sure this is common practice and true for many book bloggers, even for me. We just want to follow people who love books as much as we do. But we all know that the majority of book bloggers are white women, which is totally fine. So when a white blogger clicks on the About page of another blogger, she probably sees someone who looks like her. 

This small and subtle connection shouldn’t be dismissed or taken for granted. I don’t have the privilege of seeing bloggers who look like me all over the community. So when I found a few others who shared my background, of course I  would be excited! 

I don’t mean to devalue the contributions white bloggers offer to the book blogging community. All I want to do is bring awareness to the fact that we need more book bloggers from diverse backgrounds and to make our presence visible and prominent. My hope is that greater visibility will encourage other readers (who may be gay, PoC, or people with disabilities) to join the blogging community.

We need a diverse book blogging community as much as we need a diverse reading community. As bloggers, we have the potential to sell books or at least bring them much-needed attention. Not individually, but collectively. The more book bloggers from marginalized backgrounds publishers and authors see, the more they will be pressured to meet all of our needs. 

Back to how #DiverseBookBloggers was started

After my quest to find another male Latino book blogger ended successfully, Demelza Griffiths asked this question and proposed the hashtag:

 

From this moment forward, #DiverseBookBloggers took off and we have seen dozens of bloggers from different backgrounds come forward and introduce themselves. The hashtag is only 5 days old, but it has left an impression and we need to take advantage of the momentum. 

Before I keep going, I need to stop for a second and explain what #DiverseBookBloggers means specifically.

What do we mean by “diverse”? Who qualifies as #DiverseBookBloggers?

  1. #DiverseBookBloggers are not white, straight, cisgendered, able-bodied bloggers who write predominantly about authors of that same description. 
  2. They ideally blog about #ownvoices authors and advocate diverse reading habits for all. This includes white bloggers who write about diverse literature regularly.
  3. They find themselves in the LGBTQ+ spectrum or are people with disabilities and blog about books that represent them when possible.
  4. The hashtag more generally includes any person who is LGBT, a person of color, or a person with a disability who also is a book blogger. But diverse reading is preferred.

A Call To All #DiverseBookBloggers

 

If you consider yourself a diverse book blogger, please keep promoting and amplifying the hashtag and its message. 

We want #DiverseBookBloggers to have longevity, and for that we need a lot of support and activity. So I want to request your help and cooperation. Whenever possible, please try to do the following:

  1. When you write a review for your blog, please share on Twitter using the #DiverseBookBloggers hashtag if the book is written by an #ownvoices author.
  2. Feel free to use the hashtag as a safe space to discuss issues personal to you or other issues in the book/blogging/publishing communities. 
  3. Please retweet any tweets using the hashtag to help it spread and get noticed more widely.

I will personally check the hashtag every day for new tweets and share relevant reviews, videos, and discussion. So do not be shy and contribute to or start discussions. I don’t want to have conversations with myself. 

One of the goals we hope to achieve is getting noticed by smaller, independent publishers and authors. I want #DiverseBookBloggers to be a resource for all the #ownvoices writers who are struggling to get noticed, whose books are not promoted and therefore ignored. Just recently, author Dominic Carrillo tweeted about his book The Improbable Rise of Paco Jones using the hashtag. I immediately re-shared it because it sounded like a great read. He genuinely appreciated the support and gifted me an eBook on Kindle freely! Authors and publishers are looking for us. They know we’re a valuable resource!

Lesser known authors need our support, especially if they’re from marginalized backgrounds. If there is any way we can help an #ownvoices author reach one more reader, then we have done a great thing. Let us all work together to help combat the systemic problems in the publishing industry that make it easier for straight, white authors to be published, promoted, and read. If we are loud enough and persistent enough, then I believe we can make a difference, in a small but significant way. 

To stay updated on #DiverseBookBloggers, follow me on Twitter.


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49 thoughts on “A Call To All #DiverseBookBloggers

  1. What a fantastic idea! I hadn’t considered myself a book blogger because I don’t do standard book reviews, but anything I write that comes close, I will add to your hashtag. And I can retweet stuff. 🙂

  2. This hashtag and the convos we had through it really made my weekend, and it’s been amazing meeting so many diverse bloggers! 🙂 I really hope we can show how awesome diverse stories are and encourage the authors who write them!
    I will do my best to tweet and rt and really use twitter 🙂

  3. I’m loving the energy and excitement on your #DiverseBookBloggers Twitter hashtag. In following your passion, you’ve started something new that’s wonderful and needed in the literary world. #WeNeedDiverseBooks AND we need #DiverseBookBloggers!

    1. Thanks for your support, Eve.
      Given the push for a more diverse literary world, I am excited to see what new books and authors emerge in the next ten years after they’ve had time to create. What a wonderful time to be a reader!

  4. This is such a lovely idea! We do need #DiverseBookBloggers out there and NO ONE should feel alone because of who they are!! Although I guess I am quite ‘common’ as a white, straight female, I consider myself quite ‘unique’ mentally. I’m home schooled and suffer with anxiety and depression…reading and blogging is my outlet, and I tend to love less-common things/music/games etc! Different is good…and if everyone was the same we’d never have such an interesting community!

    1. Thank you for you kind words.
      Books that explore anxiety and depression are also very important. I hope you have found a few of them that uniquely speak to your experience. Don’t forget to blog about those kinds of book!

      Everyone needs books that resonate with them on a personal level.

      Question: Do you not have a blog? I tried to visit you, but it doesn’t seem to be available.

  5. I’ll be sure to use the #DiverseBookBloggers hashtag! As a PoC, I’m also trying to give a voice to people in war-torn countries. In addition to being a diverse book blogger, I also want to be a diverse writer. This is a great idea!

      1. I was planning on introducing myself using the hashtag yesterday, but maybe I’ll just use it for when I review books instead. I’m not much of a Tweeter haha. Thank you!

  6. Thank you Naz for being a leader in this important mission/conversation. You, and the community of bloggers you have introduced me to through your blog/twitter/etc, are starting to make a huge impact on my reading preferences and it’s only been like, what, a month?
    I very much look forward to grabbing more suggestions from you, expanding my reading list, and just in general getting out of my ‘white female book blogger’ bubble 🙂 (which, true, is like 90% of what I’ve encountered on the net – before this blog).

    PS: I totally forwarded your blog to my school’s librarian, who is also loving your lists/recs (I think we may be seeing some new additions in the near future ;))

    1. That reminds me that I need to write a new review! I’ve been over a week since the last one. Oops.

      Thank you so much for supporting me and being an ally in this cause. It means so much to all of us.

  7. One of the first things that turns me off from a blogger is a person who says they “could relate to” or felt that the characters are like or do what the blogger likes or would do. To me, it shows that a blogger is seeking out representations of himself/herself and don’t want to encounter books that expose them to people unlike themselves. Now, this may be an issue of wording. Saying you can “relate to” a character is not the same thing as feeling sympathetic or empathetic. If we can feel sympathy or empathy toward a person of any background, we’re taking a step in the right direction. If we only like people who experience the same things as us, this is a problem. Such bloggers are saying that their experiences and feelings match those of the character, and thus those feelings are valid. Validating the experiences of people just like you, especially if you are in the majority, suggests that the minority voices aren’t validated. It reminds me of how African Americans said things were horrible in the south, but it took a white man coloring his skin and experiencing what millions of black people already said was true for anyone to listen. Black Like Me, published in 1961, shocked the pants off of people.

    1. I appreciate your thoughtful comment. 🙂

      I understand the impulse to read books and stories that resonate with us. Especially if your story is rarely told! But we also have to read books outside of our realms of knowledge and familiarity sometimes. I love to read books from all over the world, and it is a very rewarding experience. My goal is to encourage an openness to reading the stories of as many cultures as possible. The amount of variety in this world is staggering! No one should limit himself or herself only to that which is familiar.

      1. I have to be careful when I read diverse books because I tend to write stupid things like, “Wow, this book really seemed like India because the author used Indian words!” Ah-doy!

        1. The fact that you think this says a lot about how thoughtful and considerate you are. We should all think this way. I have inherently a limited perspective of the world because I am only one person and I shouldn’t assume that one writers’s voice is the voice of an entire culture. We all have to be very careful about that.

  8. I’m heading to Twitter to check out your hashtag. I don’t qualify as diverse because I’m one of those dime-a-dozen straight white girls, but I like this idea. I’d love to see more diversity in the book blogging community. White girls aren’t the only people who read. 🙂

    1. Hey, straight white girls are the bread and butter of the blogosphere. You’re all very important and I appreciate all you do. You all basically started the book blogging community, so thank you! haha 🙂

  9. I’m not active on Twitter, though I’ve been meaning to get my act together and give it a go. You just gave me excellent motivation to explore Twitter more thoroughly. Thanks for the post; I would’ve never noticed the hashtag otherwise. I hope it does a world of good for readers, bloggers, and authors alike. 🙂

    1. It’s my unprofessional opinion that every blogger should have a Twitter account. It’s responsible for about half of the traffic to my blog. haha. People are on it ALL THE TIME (myself included) and it’s great fun if you know how to use it correctly. I seem to be a natural 🙂

      Thank you for the kind words, Liam.

      1. Is it really? That’s impressive!

        WordPress is already a big time-suck for me; I’m mostly worried that adding Twitter to the mix will reduce my free non-blogging hours to zero. Looks like I’ll have to bite the bullet and get my TweetDeck up and running, and see if I can master Twitter half as well as you have. Wish me luck! 🙂

        1. That is a legitimate concern. I spend more time on Twitter than on WordPress, admittedly…I devote about 30 minutes a day visiting other blogs (other than the ones who I visit because they comment on mine, like yours!). It’s a HUGE time suck, and Twitter makes it worse. lol But it’s worth it 🙂

  10. I really think this whole idea is quite brilliant, to be honest. I’m just a French girl blogging exclusively in English, so I don’t really fit into this Diverse Book Bloggers category (though I have to say, I’m surprised by how many people I’ve found, whom English isn’t their native language, yet are still blogging in that language, that’s incredible. Anyway). I just wanted to say that I’m really, really supportive of this idea and it’s been such a pleasure to see this whole thing grow, unite people, and I just admire it, a lot. 🙂

    1. You’re right about the surprisingly large number of bloggers whose native language isn’t English (like me and you!) but still blog in English. It must be because it’s the blogging community that is the most popular, so I understand.

      Thank you, Marie. It means so much that allies like you are with us and support us! 🙂

  11. I think this is so great, Naz. And I feel really proud of you and everyone else who is a part of it. I could lie and say I’m a member of the LGBTQ community or that I’m disabled (two things that aren’t obvious by looking at me) so that I can join in, but I won’t. I’m just a boring straight white woman. But one who’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines! 🙂

    1. I really didn’t meant for book bloggers who fall into the majority category to feel like they’re boring! I’m sorry. You contribute so much to the community and I thank you for that. 🙂

      1. No, no, I don’t really think I’m boring. Don’t worry! 😉
        There are so many good writers writing good things from so many countries and walks of life, that there is room for us all! We just need to do a better job proportionally, right? And you guys are on fire!

  12. I just realized that I’m not following your blog! Will go amend that right now. Also you and the rest of the #diversebookbloggers are amazing!

  13. So excited to see the hashtag blow up as it did. Your energy in this cause has been admirable, and seeing everyone’s contribution is truly inspiring!! Cannot wait to see where it will go next!

  14. So proud of you man. This is great! I rushed to twitter midway to see the tweets. I had gotten mentions previously but I hadn’t noticed the DiverseBookBloggers hashtag. As a male book blogger of color I also sometimes wonder if there are more blogs out there by someone like me. A new blog is always just one click away. I love your blog and what you do. Thanks for this. More power to your elbows man.

    1. Thank you so much, Osondu.
      I’ve been able to find a few other male book bloggers because of the hashtag. It’s been wonderful seeing people from around the world joining the chats and discussions we have. I hope it keeps growing!

  15. I’m just a white guy from Belgium, so not a diverse blogger. However, I would like to read more diverse books. I wasn’t really paying any attention to that. I just read and pick out books that might be interesting and those are mostly the books that are often talked about on other blogs and that are in other media a lot as well. Though now that you’re pointing it out, I will actually start looking into reading more diverse books!

    1. Hi, Jonas!
      Happy you found my blog.
      Yes, many people pick up and read what they find interesting and often it’s what other people are talking about. And generally, what other people are talking about are not diverse books. But I’m here to promote these books and talk about them incessantly so that others may come across my blog and perhaps find something interesting they might like and read one of the the books I discuss or promote. That’s how it works! If we get more people reading diverse books, then more people will talk about them, which in turn brings them to people’s attention and that’s how real change happens.
      I appreciate you taking the time to read this post. If you’re on Twitter and ever need book recommendations, either pose a question using the #DiverseBookBloggers hashtag or ask me directly on (@_diversebooks) and I’d be happy to help you out.

      1. I would be more than happy to read and talk about some more diverse books. I was planning on picking up Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda which deals with sexuality, so that’s a start. I’ll be sure to use your blog as a reference whenever I think about buying more books. I’ve also seen the hashtag a lot on Twitter, it’s how I came to read your post, and I won’t hesitate to use it whenever I have some questions or need to discuss something.

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