There are a lot of ways for writers to be published these days—big presses, small presses, independent or self-publishing platforms. But even within each of these categories, there are differences. I’m very proud of my current small press publisher, Inspired Quill. IQ is located in the UK, and one reason I’m proud of them is that, in the UK, they are a registered social enterprise.
I’d never heard the term “social enterprise” before I read IQ’s site while researching them. I think many US readers would be unfamiliar with it. Here’s an explanation.
What is a social enterprise?
Here’s a definition of “social enterprise” that comes from the Corporate Finance Institute.
All social enterprises usually adopt two main goals – the first is to generate profits, while the second is to reach its social, cultural, economic, or environmental outcomes outlined in the company’s mission.
Another way to say this is that a social enterprise tries to do well by/while doing good. They use their commercial activity to give back to the society around them in whatever way is most meaningful to them.
IQ’s Mission Statement—Creating More Diversity in Publishing
Publishing in its current state is not particularly diverse. A recent survey showed that publishing professionals are about 74% cis women and 23% cis men. That female/male distribution reflects the industry’s low pay too. Publishing is often a job chosen by those from elite institutions who can afford to do it.
Publishing is 76% white. These folks are largely people of good will, but they bring their own experience with them when they choose books to be published. IQ takes it as its mission to improve that situation.
Here’s a quote from IQ’s website that lays out their mission statement:
To champion non-tokenistic diversity in all areas of our business and publications in order to more truly reflect the world in which we live and empower everyone – regardless of sex, gender, race, ethnicity, age, class, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, physical and mental ability.
That addresses the books they publish. They also act to get those books into the hands of readers who might not have access to them. At the moment, they’re partnering with the Derbyshire LGBTQ community to get diverse books out.
They also provide free mentoring for people who want to work in publishing. This is a good method to deliberately create opportunity for a wider variety of people.
I Love My Publisher
Writers seldom get rich or even earn a living from the books they publish. We get satisfaction from the act of writing, from seeing the book that finally emerges, and from hearing from readers who enjoyed those books. But I also get satisfaction from working with an ethical, socially conscious publisher. I wish there were more businesses like IQ.