So I wanted to share this today. One of my friends, a fellow editor, is starting up her own YA speculative fiction publishing company. Here's the details from Stacy Whitman:
I'm cross-posting this from the Tu Publishing website, the website of my small press. I promised you the announcement of a project, and I've finally finished it at 3:15 a.m. I'm going to go ahead and share it everyone despite the video needing a little fine-tuning still. (I seem to have a different resolution camera than Christine Taylor-Butler, who helped me out by providing an educator's and parent's perspective on multicultural fantasy and science fiction.) The Tu Publishing site is a work in progress--I didn't have time last night to completely update it when I posted the video, but it will be changing and getting more informative soon.
Just a reminder (though I iterate it below, too) that those who have used the "donate" button here on this blog are on the list to receive the same incentives put in place in the Kickstarter project. You've been very helpful as we've gotten through the red tape to start a company, and I want to reciprocate, even if it's a pretty small gesture comparitively.
Tu Publishing is a woman-owned small press startup that believes in the power of books to change lives. Childrens books, especially, have the ability to inform, inspire, and entertain in a way that few mediums can.
The word tu means you in many languages, and in Ainu (the language of Japans native people), it means many. Tu Publishing is dedicated to publishing fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and historical fiction for children and young adults inspired by many cultures from around the world, to reach the "you" in each reader.
Kids who love to read do better in school. One way to encourage that love of reading is to provide stories that readers can identify with. By increasing the number of books that feature multicultural character and settings, we can influence the multicultural world of tomorrow.
Fantasy and science fiction, mystery and historical fiction--these genres draw in readers like no other. Yet it is in these genres that readers of color might feel most like an outsider, given that such a large percentage features white characters (when they feature human characters). It is the goal of Tu Publishing to publish genre books for children and young adults that fills this gap in the market--and more importantly, this gap in serving our readers.
As author Mitali Perkins and many others have pointed out, books can be both a mirror and a window to other worlds for readers. Tu Publishing hopes that by publishing books that feature multicultural characters and settings and books with worlds inspired by all the many non-Western cultures in the world, we might shine a mirror on you and open a window to many.
To be able to achieve that goal, we need to raise enough money to fund the acquisition, production, marketing, and distribution of our first two books, for which we hope--with your help--to begin acquiring in January 2010. With your help, we can make this happen.
We have officially started our fund-raising project at Kickstarter.com and invite anyone interested in being a part of making Tu Publishing a reality to check out the project.
What is Kickstarter.com? If you know Cheryl Klein, you might have seen her project to publish a book of her essays on writing there. This project is similar, except that it's a bit more than Cheryl needed because we also need to pay a modest advance to the authors and publicize and market the books we acquire. It takes a lot of money to get a publishing company started, and we thought that this would be a nice, secure way for anyone interested to get involved, and to get something back for it. Kickstarter runs their payments through Amazon payments, and the project is only funded if the full goal amount is reached by the deadline. If it isn't reached, no harm, no foul, and no payments go through, with the idea being that it would be worse to have a project be underfunded than not funded at all.
For those who have already donated before we started the Kickstarter project, you are on our list already of people to receive the same incentives here. Thank you for your support.
ETA: Yay! I've figured out how to fix the video. I had to completely upload a new one to replace the one that squished Christine, so I ended up adding music and making it shorter, too. If you've been sharing it, please note the new location.
The challenge portion of this
Whether or not you can donate, I'd love to see people, especially teen readers/nonreaders, share their own video or blog responses to this video, discussing whether you identify with the characters in the books you read and whether it matters to you. Mitali Perkins got this ball rolling separately as a part of the larger conversation about race in children's and YA in her blog post asking "are books windows or mirrors?" I found her use of the mirror/window analogy very important--books can be a window to other worlds, but they also need to be mirrors in some ways, especially for young readers. The more "mirror" books we have for every child, the more "windows" there are for everyone. What do you think?