Especially stories that are less likely to be published not only because of the race of the characters, but because of the race of the author. There is no denying the discriminating dynamics of publishing, be they intentional or not. There is no ignoring the rising call for representation in books across all genres. More and more characters and stories that defy the "white default" are being published. What is being denied as well as ignored is how far the mentioned racial dynamics reach concerning who is and is not being published while writing said stories.
An author of color, or a native author, writing a story diverse in race is still far less likely to be published than a non-person of color, or non-native, writing that same story. Harmful narratives and stereotypes are produced as a result. Not all of the time, but far more often than they should be. What this says is diversity is fine, so long as it remains on the page, and only partially true to heart.
With so many paths to publication out there, one that has risen in popularity is online contests. The W.C.N.V. is such a contest, but also an attempt to directly combat inequality in the industry, by focusing not only on Native characters and characters of color, but authors as well.
This contest will feature queries and the first 300 words of COMPLETED, POLISHED manuscripts written by native authors and authors of color. The entry window will be open from 12:00 am (midnight) Eastern June 12, 2016 until 11:59 pm Eastern that same day.
During the entry window, authors can submit their stories via the instructions on the Submissions page. Once the entries are in, slush readers will spend days selecting stories to be featured here on the site. The entries will go up at 8:oo am Eastern time on June 17th, where agents will be able to make requests at their leisure.
The fight for representation and equality in publishing cannot be reduced to a contest running for one week. We're going to keep the conversation and the demand for change going, front and center, at all times.