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How Published POCs is creating community in the publishing industry

Founder Mia talks about building a network, a platform, and an amazing archive for people of colour in publishing and media

By Ally Faughnan

The publishing industry has a problem with representation and we all know it. This is why Mia Sakai set up Published POCs, a community network and platform for people of colour in the publishing industry, as she noticed this on her own journey into the industry and “didn’t want every young person of colour starting out on their publishing journey to ever feel alone.”

Over the past few months, community has shown itself to be more important than ever and the network, platform, and archive Mia is creating feels like a needed space in the industry. I talked to Mia to find out more about starting this community and how to get involved if this is for you!

Published POCs is building a really important network for those interested in and working in the publishing industry. What made you want to start this online community?

Thank you! I started it because, for me, starting out in the publishing world I just always felt like I had no one to turn to. I often attended zine fairs, and as cliche as it sounds, I never really found 'my people'. I didn't feel like I had a support network or a community, and on top of that I noticed that the industry was very white.

It seemed, yet again – that we (POC) were the minority and much rarer to come by. I still to this day often feel quite alone in it, and that's when I decided that I needed to create a space for people like myself to feel safe and cared for in. I don't want every young person of colour starting out on their publishing journey to ever feel alone. I wanted to create a supportive network and community, and I hope it will really grow into that.

”I needed to create a space for people like myself to feel safe and cared for in.” – Mia Sakai

You’ve already started using your platform to create an amazing archive of publications featuring and owned by people of colour. How do you hope this can help bring more representation into the publishing space?

I think it will help a lot of people, because when you're interested in that world, to see editorials or features with POCs in them is such an exciting feeling. Although it's never the majority of the magazine, it's a lovely feeling to see it. So I just thought, why not pick out these features/editorials and put them in one place? This way when someone is looking for a reference or just for inspiration, they'll know where to go. They won't have to spend hours flipping through magazines trying to find that one shoot.

You also run an amazing publication Aether Magazine for young creatives! Which other independent publications are you loving right now that we should check out?

Hmm, I haven't been able to actually purchase a magazine in a while because of Corona – but I would recommend looking at Plantain Papers, Brick Magazine, Thiiird Magazine, Ashamed Magazine, ROOT-ed zine, Black Hair Stories zine, and Sakina Magazine – POC owned/ran too. There's so many more to come I hope! I need to keep looking out for more as well.

Most importantly, how can people get involved with Published POCS (I saw you have a Facebook group!)?

I want people to submit their own favourite zines, books, magazines, shoots - whatever! Anything that's printed media - I'm always open to submissions. I also want anyone who wants to network and be part of the community to please join the FB group, so that we can all support each other through these extremely challenging times. I hope in the future this can translate to events, talks, and workshops in real life.

Check out Published POCs’ Instagram and join the Facebook group if this is something for you!

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