How Some Publishers Discriminate Against Introverted Writers

Of course, I know that we live in a society that favours extraversion. That is simple psychology.

Despite introversion becoming more talked about and many people seeking groups that try to get equal respect for introverts, it remains the case that the vast majority of people do not even really know what those words mean – except for some vague references to outward behaviour, like talking a lot or going to parties. That misconception implies that it is a choice people make, or that it is learned behaviour, and, therefore, introverts should try and get over it.

That attitude is nothing new; schools have always berated introverts for being shy, for not speaking up in class, for not wanting to be in the sports team or drama club. Even if extraverts are more often told off for talking in class, teachers do not associate that with being flawed as a person as they do introversion.

Offices may have in the past been too focused on quiet work, and extraverts, no doubt, had trouble with that, but the recent fashion of open area offices, where people are expected to change desks every day to “be social”, and where brain storming sessions or meetings are the order of the day, is proving detrimental for introverts. They are forced to take many more sick days that they have, just to get over the poisonous atmosphere, never mind the decline in the quality or amount of work.

Then there are the countless recruiters who have joined the idea that a person who is not on Facebook must be antisocial and therefore not employable, without understanding that it is often exactly those who have been discriminated against or bullied who shy away from those networks, while bullies tend have huge amounts of ‘friends’.

But now, book publishers are joining the party, despite writing being very much an introverted activity. I am not saying that extraverts are not writers or cannot write, but they also have many other ways to tell their stories; just look at Twitter and You Tube.

Introverts often have no other way to express than to write. They made up the majority of writers in the past. Today, however, many publishers want evidence of followers on social media before offering somebody a book deal, or they force the writers to do their own marketing. This blatant misunderstanding of writers comes from an industry that claims to exist to support the art of writing.

Equally ignorant, writers of marketing advice endorse this practice by threatening writers that they will never get a deal if they do not follow the trend. They make it sound as if there are no decent publishers around at all anymore, but that is not quite true.

Although it is often exactly those publishers who shout “equal opportunity” on their websites, who judge the writers rather than concentrate on the contents of the stories, there are still some respectable publishers around (both for books and magazines), who read content before asking the writer for personal information. They often state this on their websites.

This practice was started to prevent discrimination for reasons of ethnicity and gender, but it can help introverted writers as well, and I would strongly advice all serious writers to seek out those publishers.

If a publisher won’t accept you until you have a certain number of social media followers, they are not in it for the writing, but for the money. They are hurting the writing community more than they help it and I would say, boycott them. We need equal opportunity for all people and we should finally stop judging books by their covers – whatever form that cover might take.

Thank you for reading.

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