Quoted: Author Kate Hart’s Findings On Diversity On Young Adult Lit Covers

I had hoped that without “gatekeepers,” self-publishing and indie presses would make up some of the ground in minority representation. Instead, out of the 200+ non-PW titles I surveyed, not a single one appears to portray a person of color.

Now, I realize this chart is not representative of all self-published and indie titles. A real assessment of self-published titles should start with Amazon (if anyone cares to take that on, I’m glad to spread the word of your results!). It’s likely the chart says more about Goodreads voters*** than it does about representation– but that possibility doesn’t cheer me up much either.

So how are the gatekeepers doing?

Courtesy Kate Hart

– From “Uncovering YA Covers: 2011”

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  • Daily Chicana

    Very interesting to see a breakdown of some numbers. The lack of diversity is disappointing, though I’m not surprised. It calls to mind a young adult book I read when I was twelve that had an “average” white girl on the cover. Imagine my surprise, then, once I got into the story and discovered that the main character was black. Even at that age, I remember flipping back to the cover in anger and thinking, “Why couldn’t they have depicted her correctly?” I was always so hungry for stories about non-whites.

  • http://profiles.google.com/lilysea13 Shannon LC Cate

    I wonder how this can be changed. I’m sure there are knee-jerk assumptions about the marketability of books with minorities on the covers but I doubt those assumptions are based on any real research. After all, these visuals don’t represent the percentages of various people in the general population.

    My books all feature white, Black and mixed-race characters (the books I’ve written so far, that is) and I wonder, if they should get published, what the designers will decide ought to be on the cover. Writers, I know, how next-to-nothing to say about the covers they end up with (in the traditional publishing world).

    I also wonder if these covers reflect the content–or not. Are there white people on the cover because there are only white people in the book? This would be the bigger problem, I think.