We were the 1st trade publisher in the UK to produce dyslexic-friendly fiction for adults (there’s many indie authors out there doing it already which is brilliant! ).
I don’t say that we’re the 1st to show off or to wave my hands in the air saying ‘look at me!’, but to highlight the issue that publishing has a very long way to go to be truly inclusive and accessible. The industry unfortunately often treats inclusivity as a band wagon it can hop on and off of, depending on the media coverage of any given subject. For example, I saw a huge increase in calls from the big 5 for submissions by minority writers when the BLM movement was forefront in the media, but those calls soon dropped off as the media coverage lessened. Does that mean the big 5 weren’t considering minority writers before?
Dyslexia is not something someone grows out of, and children and teens who increase their love of reading by using dyslexic-friendly books for their age range are left with nothing once they enter adulthood. I actually discovered this by accident some time before Scorpius Books was born. My husband, who is dyslexic, has many books at home that he hardly ever picks up because they’re just too tricky for him to process, with tiny writing all squashed onto a page. By the time he’d read one paragraph, he’d had to start again to actually process what it was that was happening in the story. I decided to get him a dyslexic-friendly copy of his favourite author for a gift.
Only there was no trace of anything of the kind, not just for that author but anyone. Nothing. I actually couldn’t believe it at first and continually Googled, thinking I was missing something. It took a couple of phone calls to booksellers to confirm that there was nothing on the market, but a definite audience for such books. With 1 in 10 people in the UK being dyslexic, that’s a hell of a lot of people being ignored by such a huge industry… That’s how our dyslexic-friendly range for adults was born, and we haven’t looked back since.
With a larger, dyslexic-friendly font and increased line and letter spacing to prevent blurring, all presented on creme paper to prevent glare, our books have been amazingly received by both readers and bookshops alike.
We’ll continue to advocate for dyslexic adults who want to read for pleasure, because it’s becoming increasingly clear that the big guys won’t. We made our point loud and clear at the Futurebook Conference last year, and the biggies just didn’t want to know. They’re inclusive when it suits them or when the media dictates that’s what they should be doing.
What do you think? Do you think publishers are doing enough to be inclusive or have they got a long way to go?
If you’re curious about our dyslexic-friendly range, you can check them out on our book page here.