On Monday, Heather Zundel of The Secret Adventures of Writer Girl, posted about Tu Publishing. Heather has a contest going right now, so check it out, and spread goodwill.
The mission of Tu Publishing is simple and one that's close to my heart-- to broaden the scope of the genres of science fiction and fantasy, genres that have long ignored ethnic and cultural diversity even in imagined worlds. They even go so far as to recommend multicultural fantasy and sci-fi books on their site. I've copied their mission statement below:
"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. By focusing on multicultural settings and characters in fantastic stories, we also open up worlds to all readers.
The word “tu” means “you” in many languages, and in Ainu (the language of Japan’s 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 characters and settings, we can influence the multicultural world of tomorrow.
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."They hope to be open to submissions (unagented as well as agented? That's the way it sounds so far) in January, so you have only a month to spruce up that manuscript. The catch is, they are currently fund-raising in order to be able to do so. They hope to meet their goal of $10,000 by mid-month, so they need your help.
If you can contribute anything (I just donated $5), click over to this Tu Publishing post to find out how. It's safe and easy to donate, especially if you already have an amazon account, and who doesn't these days? I already had a card on file with amazon, so the whole experience was extremely painless. I wish I would have heard of this publishing house sooner-- I would have been plugging them this whole time.
On a personal note, I'm not sure who I would have grown up to be if not for my love of science fiction and fantasy. But I'm not sure if I would have liked fantasy and sci-fi if no one in the stories looked like me... I do know that I enjoyed reading about other cultures from a very young age, but I'm sure I would have been discouraged if all I had to read were books about some other culture, not my own. If I'd grown up being told that my race doesn't buy books, so why should publishers waste time and money catering to me? If I'd never had the pleasure of reading about a character who was like me. I can imagine I'd probably swear off reading for good, since I was a stubborn child.
But this was not the case for this little white girl who was a tad weird and friendless, luckily. I found in books all the friends I needed. If I hadn't had my books, and they hadn't been so very special to me, I'm not sure if I would be here today, blogging and writing for your reading pleasure. And I certainly wouldn't be the person that books have helped me metamorphose into. If I hadn't seen "myself" in books, I'm not sure that love would have had such a lasting affect on me.
I hope that this perspective might convince even one person to donate $5 to Tu Publishing this week. If we all donated $5, that would go a long way to help Tu Publishing meet their goal.
Thanks for listening, y'all! And have a safe and happy holiday season.