Jevon Bolden, a vocal advocate for agents of color and their clients, is part of the ECPA's standing committee for DEI. She spoke with PW about changes she has seen in the past three years.

Where do you see improvement?

I see a lot of intentional efforts. Conversations are happening about how to make changes. There is a desire for it and no shrinking back.

How is this benefitting your clients?

A good 80% of those I represent are first-time authors. I am excited to see more and better contracts for women, and Black and brown authors. When I talk with publishers, we are open about what my authors may need in negotiations, marketing, cover design, and more. We have more opportunities to collaborate and have input.

The tough economy is blocking many publishers' plans to diversify their workforce. What do you say to them?

Can't add positions? Hire outside PR or marketing people or freelance editors of color to support your legacy team. There are ways to make up for inequities by paying attention to conversation and collaboration. Editors may not understand authors and audiences of color. Bring in consultants to help with training and communicating and dealing with the fear that always comes with a power shift.

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