Control, Knowledge, and the publishing industry.
Over the past two years, I've published 6 separate titles, with numbers 7 and 8 due to be published over the next few months. Back in 2017 I set up a publishing company to publish my books, after sending hundreds of emails and receiving 4-5 polite rejections. 5 years later and after selling thousands of books, it's still hard work getting reviews and interviews for new books - it's to be expected, nothing worthwhile comes without hardwork, sacrifce, support and a slice of luck.
Recently, I called Scholastic Books to pitch my books in the hope of getting them in one of Scholastics book clubs or leaflets. Those 5-6 page leaflets that many of us were so excited to flip through as children. The person on the end of the phone proceeded to tell me that Scholastic wouldn't touch a book unless it was published by a major publisher or agent, and that any samples would probably be sent back. I won't reveal the person's name or title, but they claimed to have worked for the company for many years.
In an instant I saw the monopoly for what it was. I realised not only how the publishing industry decides who gets to be published, but also how they control knowledge and ideas. Especially for publishers such as Scholastic who specialise in education, this gatekeeping of knowledge means that many Black and Brown writers will never have their books made available to children around the country, all because a publisher said no. Controlling the books in mainstream UK education, means controlling the knowledge that children are exposed to and influencing the thinking of society for potentially the next 20-30 years.