Beyond Busy Podcast Features QSLA Founder Ayanna Coleman


A few months ago I was approached by a friend and colleague about participating in a podcast. If you recall, I’ve done these before and although that last time was pretty painless, I’m not one to test fate.


Podcasts are all about your voice and your composure and what you have to say.


Yes, some amazing people read and appreciate the QSLA blog posts that my fabulous interns and I create–we are so grateful for your attention–but actually listening to me speak for an hour without any visuals? That doesn’t seem fair.


But I forged ahead and embraced my discomfort and said yes to participating.


Enter Graham Allcott of Think Productive and author of How to be a Productivity Ninja. He runs is a one man podcast machine and it was my pleasure to chat with him for his show, Beyond Busy. That April afternoon in the Madison Avenue NYPL, we taped what I later found out would be the culminating podcast of the first season of his show.


His podcast is interview format where he focuses on people from all walks of life and asks them to tell him about their thoughts on productivity, work/life balance, happiness, and success.


Graham was lovely. He put me totally at ease and teased out some interesting points all at the same time. We talked about the publishing industry and the children’s literature world, stress relief, balance, fear, guilt, success, and of course productivity. Feel free to share your comments below or on social media about anything that resonated with you during our chat.


Listen to the conversation

In advance of the 2016 Writers of Color Roundtable event at GrubStreet’s Muse and the Marketplace conference they kicked off the conversation with #Muse16 presenters. In this installment is literary agent Ayanna Coleman, who lead a Muse session on The Character of YA Literature.


Have you ever felt pressure to be representative of your nationality, culture, ethnicity, or race?

Definitely, yes. More times than not I’ve been in a room where I am the only minority and, even more often, the only African-American. It’s an interesting thing to watch the room get quiet because no one wants to “step in it” when discussing diversity and the inequity minorities in our society face — this happens when discussing characters in books as well as the current state of the industry. It’s frustrating to be perceived as the voice in the room who has authentic experience to share as “the other,” knowing that my experience is still so very different from many others.


Read the full piece here!

Publishers Weekly’s 6 Tips for More Diversity in Publishing

PW's 6 Hacks for Publishing-1After releasing its annual Salary Survey, PW followed the news of the results with a panel of publishing industry insiders discussing the survey findings, their reactions to them, and asking the panelists to recount their own experiences in the industry. The panel discussed what is working and what needs to be focused on more in terms of changing the face of publishing–who works within and what products are coming out.


The great thing about the event was that those who attended were obviously the people very much invested in seeing change. Audience members and panelists, alike, contributed much to the conversation. As a result, some of the audience members, including Quill Shift’s founder, along with other industry professionals were canvassed for their thoughts on what actually is being done, and what could be tapped into to make publishing more representative in the PW article Six Hacks to Improve Diversity in Book Publishing written by Diane Patrick and Calvin Reid.


Of the six hacks, the last really resonates:


Hack #6: Start Today

Although Ayanna Coleman said, “A lot of the press about diversity is such a downer!” she and the other professionals responding to our questions made it clear that there is no shortage of committed people working behind the scenes to chip away at the industry’s diversity disparity.

Nothing will ever be accomplished if people don’t start doing.

The Diversity in Kid Lit Dream

Edith Campbell features a guest post by Founder Ayanna Coleman on her blog, Crazy QuiltEdi. Here’s a snippet:


I do not wish to keep my dreams of a world where there is full diversity in children’s literature inside my mind any longer. I want this dream to become a reality through a vision that creates evolutionary action in the book industry; an evolution that will consider diversity an essential dimension to broaden and shape young minds through the provision of equitable views and examples in their reading experiences. I believe the following would be appropriate starting points:


1) Greater diversity in the kid lit industry

2) Greater diversity of talent creation and being promoted by their publishers

3) More contemporary, “just happens to be stories” with diverse protagonists

4) Better collaboration and support between all parties involved in this journey to equity in children’s literature


Read the whole guest post here.

GrubStreet Micro-Interview with Ayanna Coleman

grubstreet-logoIn preparation for the Muse and the Marketplace 2014 conference, the amazing organizers of GrubStreet conducted micro-interviews with some of the “authors, agents and editors who will be attending the event.” See one of the five questions Ayanna Coleman answered as the 11th interviewee in the series below.


Does the digital marketplace help or hurt writers?

The digital marketplace complicates things for writers. There are so many more options than there were 10 years ago and that can be very overwhelming to any writer, never mind experience in the field. Understanding your strengths and your time constraints are very important for all writers, but so much more so for those entering the digital marketplace because more oft than not, they are taking much of the publishing process into their own hands. If time and skills are not allocated well, the digital marketplace can hurt a writer. If they are managed exceptionally, the digital marketplace can bolster a writer’s career.

–Ayanna Coleman, Countdown to Muse 2014: Micro-Interview 11


Check out the whole interview here.

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