Filling a Need
Have you ever seen or heard of a need and felt the urge to fill it? Just knew that you needed to do something?
After having a book-themed baby shower for our gender unknown baby, my husband, Adrian, and I saw a need: minorities were GROSSLY underrepresented in children’s literature, ESPECIALLY as LEAD characters. As an interracial couple about to have our first biracial baby, we wanted to have books depicting persons of different color, ethnicity, culture and country. We wanted to have books depicting our family dynamics and the possibility of what our daughter or son may look like.
Because we received only a couple of books fitting this description (from almost eighty books), we started an intentional search. We found a select few, but most of the books with African American characters as the lead were historical. Where were the books that showed minority children doing every day activities like learning how to ride a bike, sharing, making friends, going for a hike or embarking on a make-believe space adventure? Where were the biracial children as lead characters?
My husband kept asking, “Where are the beige babies?"
After a few months of intentionally searching for children’s book with biracial or African American children as the main characters that were NOT about a historical figure, slavery, or adiversity, we only found a few. That’s when Adrian began encouraging me to write a children’s book for our “beige baby,” Sophia, who was then just couple of months young.
The task seemed daunting: writing a book, finding an illustrator and publisher, promotion, marketing, etc! But as time went on, the need became more apparent and so did the desire to fill that need. And so, in the wee hours of the night, while Sophia peacefully slept and I pumped, I started to pen ideas, characters and even stories for what is now the CeCe and Roxy book series. With four books illustrated and fifteen written and waiting to be illustrated, the series has taken on a life of its own. CeCe, her family, and Roxy have taken root in me and new stories are being written ALL. THE. TIME!
Task 1: Find an Illustrator
In pursuit for what could be and hopeful of what would happen, I found a local artist in Fayetteville, NC, willing to begin illustrating my stories while I searched for a way to publish the books. Caroline Merino, a native of Fayetteville, NC, and daughter of an interracial couple has a playfulness to her paintings that made her style the right fit for the series. CeCe's "poofs" are a nod to Caroline's hair as a child.
Task 2: Connect with a Publisher
After almost two years of working on the books without a means to publish them, I was introduced to a hybrid publisher, Mascot Books, through author Scott McBride. At the end of 2016, my brave friend, Sara, spoke to Scott after a reading of his first co-authored book, “Connor the Cutter.” I am forever thankful to her for making mine and Scott’s connection happen, which led to my introduction to Mascot Books.
In turn, Mascot Books recognized the need for a children’s book (and series) that featured an interracial family and was excited to sign onto the project, but, unfortunately, my illustrator and I were not quite ready with the necessary illustrations. Mascot Books stood behind the concept and waited patiently as artwork was completed, my husband and I had our second child, we moved to Seattle, Washington and the website for CeCe and Roxy Books was created.
But now…NOW we are READY!
With the help of my creative team, Brittany Wilde of BWilde Designs (illustrator), Ben Brownlee of BCI Designs (web designer) and Nick Eskridge (videographer), we are ready. Brittany has been giving all of her spare time to revisions of illustrations; Ben has created the CeCe and Roxy Books website and Nick has produced TWO amazing videos, including the one seen above.
Task #3: Funding for Printed Books!
We need YOUR support to PRINT the books! Would you please consider taking this next step with me? with us?
Where Your Money Will Go...
- Printing costs for the first 2 books ($9,600)*
- Shipping and packaging: ($1,500)
- Promotional Items ($1,100)
- Kickstarter fees (5% of total and 3% of processing fees)
We are asking for the support of TWO books since the books must be printed overseas. Board books printed overseas traditionally take up to three months to print. Printing two books at once saves on the overall cost per book and allows us to provide a second book with a quicker turn around. Any additional funds will go to illustrating the next book.
Additionally, CeCe and Roxy books will be donated to every library, preschool, and elementary school I read to/visit, in addition to those listed in the incentives for pledging.
Let's bring CeCe and Roxy to EVERY home, library and school!
With your donation and support, CeCe, her family, and Roxy can share their joy and love to the United States and the world! I have BIG dreams for CeCe and Roxy, but publishing the books is the number ONE priority!
WITH YOUR SUPPORT WE CAN DO THIS!
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges are minimal because the stories are written, the illustrations are COMPLETE and Mascot Publishing is ready to edit and send to the printers!
The main challenge is determining the exact delivery day of the printed version of the books since they are being printed overseas. Typically it takes 3 months from time of submission to return of product and another 1-2 months for reviews.
My hopeful timeline is as follows:
February 13: Launch Kickstarter
March 20: Completion of Kickstarter. Begin final editing, formatting and such for printers.
April: Books 1 and 2 are sent to overseas printers
July: Books are BACK in USA and sent for reviews and promotion.
August/September: Books are ready for purchase, both online, in select stores and directly through me!
*Rewards: some may be available as early as May, others not until August/September.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (34 days)