New group launches for Christian Publishing Professionals of Color
ORLANDO, FLORIDA — July 15, 2020 — On February 3, 2020, Embolden Media Group founder and CEO, Jevon Bolden, launched an online community called Christian Publishing Professionals of Color (CPPOC).
The group was formed out of Jevon’s desire for camaraderie, the same desire she perceived among others like her in the field. “Our voices, perspectives, and experience matter so much, but so often we are overlooked, excluded, passed over, outnumbered, outvoiced, outvoted, or undervalued. I hope that CPPOC will be a place we can sense our worth, put down our guards, and feel heard and supported.”
Prior to launching Embolden Media Group, Jevon worked in the Christian publishing industry for twelve years as senior acquisitions editor for nonfiction adult titles and then spent a few years working in mainstream publishing as a senior nonfiction kids editor. She hopes CPPOC will be a group where BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Christian publishing professionals can:
- Connect with other each other to bond, brainstorm, strategize, and problem solve
- Be heard as they share their unique challenges and opportunities
- Discover ways to grow in their career
- Build confidence in their personal agency and expertise
- Get encouragement, advice, like-minded empathy, and support
CPPOC is open to BIPOC Christian publishing professionals who work in traditional publishing or providing services that serve the Christian publishing industry—marketing, sales, distribution, ghostwriting, editing, literary agenting—or those who are aspiring to any one of those positions in the field. The group is comprised of both industry veterans with decades of experience to those who are just starting out in the industry.
Recasting the reality that people of color are often from underserved communities, CPPOC sets the core of its value statement on the acronym SERVED, where each member can feel:
S – Seen
E – Embraced
R – Represented
V – Valued
E – Elevated
D – Divinely diverse
The group is receiving a welcome reception from BIPOC professionals from around the Christian publishing industry.
In an online dialogue with Jevon about forming the group, Rachel Kang, writer and creator of Indelible Ink Writers, said, “You’re putting words to an intangible that I myself, and I’m sure many other publishing professionals of color, feel and sense—the externals of lack of representation, support, and opportunity, as well as the internal feelings of inferiority and inadequacy that come with stepping into a field where a greater White narrative still dominates, which stems from America’s history with literature and education.”
She went on to say, “We not only need more books written by women and men of color, we need more women and men of color on the other side of those books—acquiring, harnessing, and refining these stories. This is needed. You’re the one—please do be another hand on the plow paving the way.”
“Following, joining, supporting,” said Jamie Lapeyrolerie, senior marketing manager from WaterBrook and Multnomah. “I get a lot of the industry newsletters (about diversity in publishing) and follow along, and while they are helpful in many ways, I think one for the Christian space is much needed. Plus, I’d love to know who else is out there.”
“I’ve been wondering whether there was a group like this for a while now,” says Patnacia Goodman, acquisitions editor for Bethany House Publishers, “so I am very, very, VERY happy this community exists!”
Amanda Mae Steele, marketing specialist for B&H Kids, says, “I’m grateful, especially as someone new to this industry, to be around other seasoned publishing professionals who are black/POC—who get it. This community helps me persevere when I feel like my efforts are futile and I’m tempted to give up.”
“Being Christian and a POC can feel like being an unwanted nomad in the land of publishing,” says E. Danielle Butler, independent publishing expert and ghostwriter, “CPPOC has become home; I can stop wandering.”
“A community like this is sorely needed. Despite the release of titles that are inclusive, the publishing industry–particularly in decision making roles is sorely underrepresented,” said, Woodley Auguste, principal of The Awareness Agency. “CPPOC will not only provide support and encouragement for industry veterans, but also those new to the industry.”
Other founding members include Lisa A. Crayton, freelance writer and editor; and Ashley Hong, assistant editor from Convergent Books/Random House.
Many people in and outside the industry feel that this specific moment in history feels unique. As conversations swirl around representation, community, and Brown and Black lives, there is a special energy in the air. Jevon hopes that CPPOC will be one catalyst to help Christian publishing align with the new thing God is doing.
“We know diversity is God’s idea,” she says, “and it’s been long said that Christian publishing is far behind God’s ideal. I’m so excited for the possibilities this group holds. I hope more Christian publishing professionals of color will accept the invitation to come experience this moment in time with us!”
EMBOLDEN MEDIA GROUP LLC is a boutique publishing consulting firm headquartered in Central Florida that provides publishers and authors quality content development and publishing services that help them reach growing, diverse, and global audiences. It is the holding company for jevonbolden.com, Embolden Literary, Embolden Publishing Group, Christian Publishing Professionals of Color, and Pneuma Writers.
Media Contact: Jevon Bolden, founder and CEO, Embolden Media Group, email@example.com