Publisher Deborah Balmuth writes about the effort we must undertake to make our books and our publishing program welcoming and accessible to all.
As a mission-driven company, Storey is committed to publishing “practical information that promotes personal independence in harmony with the environment.” The readers of Storey books come from around the world and hold a wide range of viewpoints, backgrounds, ages, and identities. What unites them is a shared desire to be more self-sufficient, whether that means growing their own food, knitting a sweater, making sauerkraut from scratch, raising chickens, making soap, or keeping bees.
Our goal has always been to provide authors who have time-tested, hands-on experience with as broad a platform as possible from which to share their expert knowledge and advice with this diverse audience of fellow enthusiasts. However, we have not done enough. The increased awakening in recent weeks to the racial injustice and inequality in our country is taking place at Storey as well. We need to do more to prioritize racial diversity among our staff, authors, artists, distributors, freelancers, and vendors. While this isn’t a new initiative for us, we are determined to do more. We are signing more authors of color; we are seeking out more photographers and illustrators of color and demanding that the stock agencies and illustrator agents we work with expand their pool of artists of color; and we are committed to ensuring that people of color are represented in the imagery in all of our books. We also commit to acknowledging the varied cultural roots and traditions that have inspired contemporary practices described in our books. Along with our parent company, Workman Publishing, we are developing staff hiring and training initiatives that will move us toward greater diversity and increased cultural sensitivity among staff.
Expanding the reach of authors whose voices and experiences have been underrepresented can only enrich the effectiveness of our mission to empower readers to do, grow, make, and build more for themselves and their communities. We are committed to making our books welcoming and accessible to all who want to learn these life skills, which we believe belong to everyone.