A N T I - R A C I S T  B U S I N E S S  P L A N

White supremacy and racism permeate every facet of our society in ways that perpetuate immense inequality and harm to individuals and communities. This holds true for the publishing industry, both traditional and independent, and within the specific genre of romance novels and the community that surrounds them. It is imperative that the influence of racism be sought out and counteracted through conscious action on the part of white groups and individuals so that people of all races can obtain opportunities, respect, and safety in all areas of romance publishing, both professional and personal.

As a white author, entrepreneur, and member of the romance reading community, I recognize that I have a role to play in identifying and eradicating the effects of racism and white supremacy in my own business. I am committed to taking an active and ongoing role in this process and to holding myself accountable for my progress.

I commit to commencing or continuing these actions in the following areas of my business:

MY EXPENSES AND INCOME

  • Prioritize seeking out BIPOC-owned services (graphic designers, promotional tour companies, photographers, etc.) when deciding who to support as a client

  • Prioritize choosing BIPOC-owned stores, restaurants, and online shops when making physical purchases related to my business (stationary supplies, photography props, books, meals, cafes I work from, etc.)

  • Make a regular monthly donation to BIPOC-led and benefiting organizations, with a focus on organizations related to the arts, publishing, and literacy

MY NETWORK AND CONTACTS

  • Ensure any appearances or features I participate in (speaking engagements, conferences, tutorials, podcasts, interviews and blog posts, etc.) are welcoming to BIPOC communities and committed to racial diversity in the guests they feature

  • Ensure any book signings or author events I participate in are welcoming to BIPOC communities and are taking an active role in ensuring racial diversity among featured authors

  • Provide events and features I participate in with suggestions of BIPOC authors to also consider contacting or inviting

MY WEBSITE

  • Publicly post this business plan on my website and update it as any changes or additions are made

  • Add a statement acknowledging the existence of white supremacy and the impact of racism to my ‘About’ page along with a link to this business plan

MY NEWSLETTER

  • Provide a statement acknowledging the existence of white supremacy and the impact of racism in all my emails, along with a link to this business plan

  • Ensure there is diverse racial representation in the books I recommend to my readers

  •  Regularly use my newsletters as a space to amplify the work of BIPOC creators

MY SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS

  • Acknowledge the impact of racism in my social media profiles and provide a link to this business plan where possible

  • Diversify my news feeds by seeking out BIPOC-led accounts in the indie romance niche and beyond and support these accounts through active engagement and sharing

  • Diversify my own post content by ensuring there is diverse racial representation in the books I recommend and talk about on social media

  • Regularly amplify BIPOC voices that are celebrating the joy, creativity, beauty, and achievements of their lives and communities, which I will do by sharing and promoting this content and directing others to it

  • Use my accounts to share and discuss anti-racists resources I have found helpful (ex. creating posts about books I’ve read or courses I’ve taken, sharing informative posts created by others, sharing verified news events, etc.)

MY EDUCATION AND MEDIA CONSUMPTION

  • Continue my anti-racist education by regularly consulting informative books, blog posts, podcasts, and news articles

  • Take an anti-racist education course for entrepreneurs (I have currently enrolled in this one)

  • Acknowledge and actively seek out gaps in my anti-racist knowledge and seek to rectify them through education 

  • Prioritize choosing media created by and featuring members of BIPOC communities to consume and discuss in my leisure time in order to amplify BIPOC voices and to allow BIPOC experiences to have more space in my own life and perspective (ex. choosing to watch shows and films with BIPOC-led casts and crews, choosing to listen to podcasts with BIPOC guests and hosts, seeking out visual art made by BIPOC creators, etc.)

MY BOOKS AND WRITING

  • Continuously educate myself on the harmful ways people of colour are portrayed by white writers both consciously and unconsciously and on how to avoid that harm (ex. stereotypes, appropriation, exploitation, ‘white saviour’ complex, problematic language and descriptions, etc.)

  • Ensure I am creating stories that reflect the diversity of the world around me while also recognizing that my role as an anti-racist white author is, above all, to amplify the voices of BIPOC authors

  • Hire professional diversity readers to provide feedback and insight on my manuscripts when needed

  • Readily and openly accept critiques of instances when I have failed to do any of the above and apologize while committing to not causing the same harm again

MY RESPONSE TO FEEDBACK

  • Accept any feedback, suggestions, comments, or criticism about my anti-racist work with a commitment to listening and learning without becoming defensive or dismissive

  • Thank anyone who approaches me with firsthand feedback for the gift of their perspective and their trust in sharing it with me

Through these actions and my continued dedication to seeking further steps to take, I hope to contribute to positive change in my industry and ensure I am running a business that is actively anti-racist.

The following resources were especially helpful to me in developing this business plan, and I recommend them to any white authors and entrepreneurs looking to do the same:

The Anti-Racist Small Business Pledge created by Rachel Rodgers

Five Ways to Infuse Antiracism Into Your Small Business blog post from www.pepperlane.co

How Do We Keep the Anti-Racist Work Going Along With Our Businesses? blog post from www.xosarah.com

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