A type of access in the publishing industry began swimming around my brain for the past week and I wanted to highlight why there should be more of it.
It began when I was recommending a book to a sighted friend. They wanted some book recommendations. I recommended some books, they tried the books, then they reported back,
“These were hard for me to read because of my reading struggles.”
I suggested audio books, but the words used were still too complex. I began looking for a plain language version of the book but couldn’t find any.
Plain language writing is a writing practice that broadens readership. When content creators write in plain language, a variety of ages, education levels, and disabilities can understand your content.
People that are also learning English as a second language can benefit from a plain language version of your books.
Even though there are children’s books that are already in plain language by default, making a plain language version of your adult book will allow a broader readership to enjoy your work.
Plain language can also help in time crunches. In some cases, people might be working all day and might not have the mental strength to process your writing.
People might not have the time to read lengthy sentences or define hard words.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to find a lot of plain language versions of books. Alice Wong, a fellow disabled writer, was the only writer I could find offering plain language versions of books.
Audio books are not for everybody. People could have auditory processing troubles. People could have other disabilities that prevent them from listening to books.
Publishers can drastically increase readership if they offer plain language versions of their titles.
If you’re a traditionally published author and you want publishers to consider making a plain language version of your book, talk to your agent about putting that in the contract. Access is love!
If you’re a self-published author or hybrid author, you’d have to hire a freelance plain language writer. I wasn’t able to find any for creative writing.
Below, you can find examples of plain language versions of books.