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The Presence of Blackness Score Project is growing!

In its first year, POB was designed to track the progress of short SFF markets in improving their accessibility to and publication of Black authors at a volume proportionate to their annual output. It uses an annual report and market scoring system to provide Black writers with an at-a-glance reference point for which markets will be most receptive to their work.

In addition to the annual scorecards and accompanying report, we will be expanding our suite of resources available for short fiction markets with interest in continued improvement and addressing what can be a full spectrum of blindspots for marginalized creators. The upcoming expansion will is planned to stretch into 2020, and will include:

  • A self-reporting tool –  Both POB Scoring and the #BlackSpecFic Reports rely on self-reported data from markets to some degree. A centralized portal will allow the markets being researched to report information such as issue contents for new releases, changes to mastheads, and publication status (active, hiatus, shuttered), to close gaps in the studies and ensure resulting reports are as accurate a reflection of the field as possible.
  • A newsletter/blog – A monthly newsletter or blog will provide news about industry diversity initiatives, resources, and best practices for how to become and maintain a more inclusive presence, as well as a networking hub that connects BIPOC looking to get more publishing experience with outlets offering those opportunities.
  • A demographic data collection portal – A portal accessible to all participating markets would be used to gather volunteered  demographic data from submitting writers. Each market would offer the link to the portal in their submission receipt confirmation emails. Should the writer choose to participate, they would provide information like age, geographical location, racial/ethnic identifiers, and other marginalizations. That information would then be returned to the market’s editors in a customized annual report, in hopes they might use it to improve their outreach not just to Black writers, but any writers in blindspots revealed by the returned data.
  • Extension of POB methodology – POB currently only tracks the contributions of Black writers to short SFF, but that isn’t the end goal. We intend to continue outreach to other marginalized groups in publishing who are interested in tracking their own representation.


POB currently tracks markets categorized as “professional” and select semiprozines who volunteer for study. These groups will also have access to the expanded resources. To learn more about scoring or to register your semipro or token paying market, check out the POB page.

Our partners at Gumroad are backing the project for a second year, a testament to the group’s dedication to creator communities. Visit their website or check out this piece by founder Sahil Lavingia to learn more about their work.

For general inquiries or interest in becoming a sponsor, contact POB Director L. D. Lewis at pobdata[at]fiyahlitmag.com.

L.D. Lewis is an award-winning SF/F writer and editor, and publisher at Fireside Magazine. She serves as a founding creator and Project Manager for the World Fantasy and Hugo Award-winning FIYAH Literary Magazine. She also serves as the founding Director of FIYAHCON, boardmember for Diverse Voices, Inc., Researcher for the LeVar Burton Reads podcast, and pays the bills as the Awards Manager for the Lambda Literary Foundation. She frequently authors studies about the treatment and experiences of racially/ethnically marginalized authors in speculative literature. She is the author of A Ruin of Shadows (Dancing Star Press, 2018) and her published short fiction and poetry includes appearances in FIYAH, PodCastle, Strange Horizons, Anathema: Spec from the Margins, Lightspeed, and Neon Hemlock, among others. She lives in Georgia, on perpetual deadline, with her coffee habit, two very photogenic kittens, and an impressive Funko Pop! collection. Tweet her @ellethevillain.
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