We have accepted Sarah Lyons’s resignation as Editorial Director at Riptide Publishing, effectively immediately. In her business relationship with Xen Sanders, her behavior was unacceptable, and we do not condone it in any way.
Romance is an intimate business, but there is no denying that Sarah’s behavior crossed the line, and that her behavior is not just her responsibility--it is also ours because she represented our business. We apologize to anyone her behavior has hurt. Though it is challenging to oversee the day to day operations of staff without a shared office space (our entire staff works from home offices), we are implementing closer oversight of the editorial process. Some of these oversights include a prohibition against contacting authors outside an official company email or phone, and an updated editorial handbook with a vastly expanded section on both cultural sensitivity and professional boundaries. As well, our inboxes, ears, and hearts are open to anyone who wishes to share their stories or concerns with whomever at the company they might be most comfortable speaking.
We also removed Kate DeGroot from our freelance editorial roster shortly after she was brought on because of conflicts with authors and shortcomings in her work.
Over the course of 2015 and 2016, incidents occurred that compelled us to take a hard look at the culture of racism in romance. We have made mistakes. We own our missteps, and we apologize, once again, to anyone we hurt because of them. Since 2016, when Xen experienced the issues he shared today, we have taken many steps to grow, change, and do better, both as individuals and as a company, and we have been committed fully to both their execution and the spirit behind them. We instituted our sensitivity reader program. We created a priority submission process for writers of color. This year, we hired four new editors of color across different racial and cultural backgrounds. We do not condone Sarah’s statement to Xen about people of color on cover art, and are including people of color on the covers of books featuring non-white characters. We know these steps are just the beginning, and our work is not done. We must do more than apologize for harm done; we must continue to change, and our commitment to do so is unwavering.
Once more, we express our sincerest apologies. We are listening.
Rachel Haimowitz, Principal
Tal Valante, Principal