As both my friends know, I am preparing to send a couple of my novels out in search of the tender loving care of a literary agent with a dab hand at Young Adult literature. While researching one of my favourite candidates, I was disturbed to notice that of the 40+ authors she currently represents, every last one was a woman. Not only that, only two weren’t white. And they were all apparently young and very attractive.
Given that this agent is an avowed proponent of diversity in literature, I had to wonder. All kinds of things. Like …
Are there no ugly old women writing good YA books? Or, Allah forfend, men?
Is being young, white, and attractive all but essential when it comes to marketing a new author?
Given my complexion is best described as English Rose, am I still young and attractive enough to submit to this agent?
Would I feel comfortable working with her now I’ve noticed what I can only call her institutionalised bias?
I suspect the answers are yes, there are; yes, it is; probably not, and ditto. I don’t suppose she’ll care though because the woman is making bank.
Oh, and one more question, is diversity only a thing when the “Man” is keeping down attractive young white women?
Funny story. Last year I pulled a story from a diversity-themed YA collection because the editors’ holier-than-thou PC hectoring got right on my tits and I couldn’t bear working with them any longer. I’m beginning to see their point.