Madison joined the INCLUDAS team in August 2017 and is the Senior Editor. We are so excited to have her with us!
Tell us about yourself.
I can read really fast, which definitely helps me as a publishing professional. I can get really determined to find a way to do something, even if it’s not conventional. When I was in kindergarten, I was really afraid that I would never be able to learn how to read. I don’t know why I thought I wouldn’t be able to—maybe it had something to do with my disability. I thought, for some reason, that it would stop me from being able to read. But I always had a weird fear, and my family made sense of it before I did and encouraged my reading, and I ended up picking it up really quickly. When I was around 10 years old, my parents bought me the Nancy Drew books, and that was my first memory of reading a book I liked. Ever since then, I’ve been in love with books.
What makes you proud of yourself, and what are your aspirations?
Moving out of my parents’ house to live with my partner. I need a lot of care for my disability, so being able to take that big step was really big for me personally. My book collection is also something I’m really proud of and have grown to love. For publishing, I’m interested in becoming an agent or continuing to be an editor, but I’m not sure what path I want to go down yet.
Why are you interested in working in publishing?
I became interested in publishing mostly in college through an internship at a publishing house. I started doing more research, learning a lot more about it in specific ways, like the difference between agencies and publishing houses. Not seeing people like me in books, I wanted to learn more about how to include people with disabilities in the industry and what can help me succeed.
Why is disability diversity in stories important to you?
When I was a kid, there were no books with main characters who were disabled like me or disabled in general, whether a physical, mental, or chronic disability—there was nothing. I felt like I failed because I didn’t know any other people like me, so I didn’t know there was a whole community. I think that’s why it’s important—kids should know that they’re not the only person like them, and we can find that in books and other media. And as they grow into adults, they should be able to find themselves in adult fiction as well.
I’d like to see more characters that are confident and don’t give up because of their disability. And characters with disabilities making sexual references or experiencing intimacy is unheard of in fiction, so it would be great to have more of that.
What’s the most fulfilling part about being on the INCLUDAS team?
I think reading the first draft or something that you know will be good with great disability representation. Being able to find a story with great characters who have disabilities has been really fulfilling.
Any advice for those wanting to work in the publishing industry?
Research everything! Something that I have found helpful is to look at the books, the publishers you like, and what they represent. If you go further, you’re a lot more prepared, and make sure you have a taste that aligns with the publishers you want to work for.