Posts in Diversity
Why I Skipped the RITA Awards

By the time Thursday night arrived, I already knew the bartender at Mix. Kim, a kind-eyed, bearded hipster who had admitted that he had no idea how to make a Brandy Alexander, had been serving me Domaine Chandon for days. I was in my happy place — surrounded by my three besties as we helped each other strategize for pitching sessions on Friday. Only one thing killed my buzz: I couldn’t stomach the idea of attending the RITA Awards. It wasn’t that I hadn’t brought a dress — a cute one was in my closet. A black sequined Art Deco number hung next to a beautiful feathered headband that would have put Gatsby’s Daisy to shame. In light of scathing statistics, it just seemed silly to support an event this unclear. Why go, if no one knows what winning a RITA means?

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RSJ Emma Awards for Diversity in Romance Honor Kilby Blades as Best Debut Author

I'll admit it--it's been a tough year for me in terms of discovering truths about the industry--and, by that, I mean coming to some realizations about how far we still have to go with respect to promoting diversity in romance. I certainly knew that we were underrepresented--that it seemed more difficult for diverse authors to get traditional publishing contracts and, if we get them, to have good experience with our publishers around marketing and promotion. I did not know until recently about a litany of other issues--from earning retail space, to being dropped from publishing, to problems with book displays and shelving, to serious issues with the RITA Awards.

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