How Are Writers’ Demographics used by the Publishing Industry?

I offer a short overview of how the divide within this world forefronts white male straight and western writers. I know it’s not a surprise to many but this list might be interesting for those of us who hadn’t thought about it before. By understanding this, we can, as writers and poets, push back and in time change this status quo.

BISAC CODES, the intentions and consequences.

“The BISAC Subject Headings List, also known as the BISAC Subject Codes List, is a standard used by many companies throughout the supply chain to categorize books based on topical content. The Subject Heading applied to a book can determine where the work is shelved in a brick and mortar store or the genre(s) under which it can be searched for in an internal database.

Many businesses within the North American book industry, including Amazon, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Bowker, Indiebound, Indigo, NPD Bookscan, and most major publishers use the headings in a variety of ways. Some libraries are also utilizing the BISAC Subjects to facilitate the browsing experience for patrons.” 

I challenge that notion. Labels in this case can also be divisive. What do I mean by that? The default of white male voices is the umbrella, holding the focus without its own label that is placed elsewhere on the bookshelves online or in person. Everything ‘other’ is then identified, labeled, and to be found by a deliberate search. They live seperately on the shelves, which comes back to the theory of identity as us/them within a heteronormative white male world. 

Poetry: or  general categories:

POE000000     POETRY / General

POE007000     POETRY / African

POE005010     POETRY / American / General

POE005050     POETRY / American / African American

POE005060     POETRY / American / Asian American

POE005070     POETRY / American / Hispanic American

POE009000     POETRY / Asian / General

POE009010     POETRY / Asian / Chinese

POE009020     POETRY / Asian / Japanese

POE010000     POETRY / Australian & Oceanian

POE011000     POETRY / Canadian

POE012000     POETRY / Caribbean & Latin American

POE005030     POETRY / European / General

POE005020     POETRY / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

POE017000     POETRY / European / French

POE018000     POETRY / European / German

POE019000     POETRY / European / Italian

POE020000     POETRY / European / Spanish & Portuguese

POE021000     POETRY / LGBT

POE013000     POETRY / Middle Eastern

POE015000     POETRY / Native American

POE024000      POETRY / Women Authors

Nothing for men, nothing for white poets. The result? A reflection of how identities can be divisive. Separate. Us. Them. Other. 

FICTION codes by author’s demographic.  (

FIC000000       FICTION / General

FIC049000       FICTION / African American & Black / General

FIC049010       FICTION / African American & Black / Christian

FIC049030       FICTION / African American & Black / Erotica

FIC049040       FICTION / African American & Black / Historical

FIC049050       FICTION / African American & Black / Mystery & Detective

FIC049070       FICTION / African American & Black / Urban & Street Lit

FIC049020       FICTION / African American & Black / Women

FIC053000       FICTION / Amish & Mennonite

FIC054000       FICTION / Asian American

FIC079000       FICTION / Disabilities & Special Needs

FIC056000       FICTION / Hispanic & Latino

FIC059000       FICTION / Indigenous

FIC046000       FICTION / Jewish

FIC068000       FICTION / LGBTQ+ / General

FIC072000       FICTION / LGBTQ+ / Bisexual

FIC011000       FICTION / LGBTQ+ / Gay

FIC018000       FICTION / LGBTQ+ / Lesbian

FIC073000       FICTION / LGBTQ+ / Transgender

FIC081000       FICTION / Muslim 

FIC082000       FICTION / Own Voices

FIC044000       FICTION / Women

The Book Industry Study Group noted: FIC082000  “FICTION / Own Voices is intended for works where the main characters(s) are from a marginalized, minority, or under-represented group and where the author is a member of the group being written about.”

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