Whew, what a couple weeks. I hope this note finds you and your's well! I'm well overdue for an update.
Thank you for making Blood Orange Press possible. We wouldn't be here without the spirit of generosity you shared back in 2011!
Earlier this Fall we launched an IndieGoGo campaign to fundraise to make more books that celebrate and affirm children who are missing in children's literature. We have just a week left of the campaign, and if you haven't made a contribution yet, I hope you'll check it out, and consider supporting this project!
In other news - we made it into the news! The San Francisco Chronicle published a piece on Blood Orange Press in this morning's print edition. It was a huge boost in so many ways, and has helped our work reach a wider audience.
Happy June! I hope this note finds you and yours happy, healthy, and creatively shining.
Hard to believe it’s been nearly 4 years since we launched the Kickstarter fundraising campaign for Oh, Oh, Baby Boy! - And that that campaign led to the creation of Blood Orange Press, the publishing company I dared dream of 15 years ago.
This is a juicey update - thank you in advance for giving it a look! To express my appreciation, I'm raffling off an art print to KS backers - read on to find out how to enter.
In this update you’ll find information on:
The inequalities in children’s publishing
Blood Orange Press, and how we’re working to even the scales
New books in the works
Ways you can support the effort
How to enter a KS backer raffle for a limited edition art print by me :)
Here's a graphic I just created to share Blood Orange Press's perspective and rationale:
As a child looking for reflections of my world in children’s books, I experienced the inequalities in children's literature first hand - you may have, too. Blood Orange Press (the small publishing company you helped seed!) is dedicated to correcting the invisibility and misrepresentation of people of color in children’s books by filling these literary gaps with stories that value diverse readers and their experiences. We believe that children and adults of all ages should have access to stories that recognize and lift up their individual power, dignity, and beauty. These are the stories Blood Orange Press will keep publishing.
Award winning poet Indira Allegra is also working on a beautiful story about a child overcoming self doubt through musical expression.
And Lora Collier Chan has written a sweet story of a diverse community coming together. We plan to release this one as a board book.
I’ve been very lucky to work with the UC Berkeley Small Business Practicum. Its law students have provided much needed legal support (pro bono!) around the press’s entity formation and infrastructure.
I’ve joined forces with 2 other independent and equity driven publishers of color, and an ally. Maya Christina Gonzalez, award winning illustrator and founder of Reflection Press, Zetta Elliott, award winning author and founder of Rosetta Press, and children’s literature advocate and expert, Laura Atkins and I are continuing conversations about how to advance diversity and meaningful representation in children’s publishing.
Faith, Love, & Magic
The Oh, Oh, Baby Boy! Kickstarter Campaign in 2011 provided the funding to get our first book into the world, and just enough to make a soft launch of Blood Orange Press. We have three books in the works (and many more on the radar) that have come as far as they can with no additional funding.
When people ask, I tell them we’re working on faith, love, and magic alone.
Last year I began writing grants and reaching out to philanthropic foundations to build relationships and find resources for this work. I’m also gearing up to launch another Kickstarter Campaign to fund these new books within the next year.
In case you’re asking yourself, “How can I help?”
There are many things you can do (large and small) to add fuel to this work!
Introductions. Can you or someone you know connect me with:
A blogger, reporter, or media outlet that cares about diversity and/or literacy;
A grantmaker or program officer in the arts and culture, or literacy and education world;
A small business incubator or consultant that may be able to offer pro bono advice or analysis;
An angel investor, perhaps one who’s passionate about the literacy and educational success of children of color, and/or children’s literature. (Yes, a dreamy dream dream, and who knows what the universe may deliver!)
Though welcome, at this point there’s no expectation for immediate funding or support. I’m learning about what people are interested in, how our goals may align, and how we might be able to partner.
Financial Contributions. In the near term I’m looking to raise $3,000 to continue illustrations and pay our illustrator the remainder of his advance. If you believe in the importance of books that truly reflect the diversity of our world, and would like to help keep us moving forward on these books,
I can accept financial gifts through PayPal via this email address: email@example.com
My strongest and most powerful realization this past few years is that baby steps accumulate. Lucky for me, even just inching along we cannot help but make progress over time! In the moment, the progress may feel small, but looking back, the progress has been great.
Whew, that was a mouthful - 2 years’ worth of updates in one!
Oh yes, and the raffle! Post a comment on this update and "like" Blood Orange Press on facebook, and you’ll be entered to win a limited edition print of The Journey (5x7”, image above).
We don't have a ton leaf-changing trees in the East Bay, though the ones that do change are so beautiful. (Pulled over to the side of the road to snap the photo of leaves below)
One or two people have mentioned that they never received an email to complete their rewards survey. It should've gone out twice via Kickstarter with the words "Backer Survey" in it. A quick email search may help find it. (Hopefully it didn't get diverted to your Spam folder. )
If you have not yet received your reward, and can't find the survey, you can also email me your mailing address, and I'll do my best to get them to you before the new year. Email your name and mailing address to:
Finally, we'll be selling books at the Indie Author's Holiday Book Fair at Hub Oakland on Thursday, Dec 12th. Hope you can make it! Digital flyer below.
1) Check in about reward send outs 2) Share book reviews of Oh, Oh, Baby Boy! 3) Re-Invite you to Papapalooza in Oakland this coming Saturday 4) Share photos from my first book reading!
1) Reminder: if you haven't completed your backer survey, please do! - really want to send you your rewards. Doing final push on rewards mailing in the next few days. If you have completed the survey but not received your rewards yet, they're on the way!
2) Sharing great news - 2 book reviews so far, a couple interviews in the works. Both of these reviews resulted from connections to reviewers via word of mouth. (thank you!!) If you know anyone who writes on parenting, fatherhood, and/or families of color and think they might be interested in our first book, I would love to connect.
Fatherhood and the joys thereof come spilling off the pages of this most delicate tale of relativity and timelessness. In short, this book is phenomenal. It is because it does such an awesome job of exemplifying the connection that a father and son share and how that connection is instantaneously fore-shown when a son in turn becomes a father. I am highly recommending this pick for Father’s Day gifts near and far and can guarantee that the fathers who receive it will be delighted. - Tiffany Rachann
Common Sense Media (a nonprofit that reviews media and technology offerings to help parents make informed decisions) writes:
Oh, Oh, Baby Boy celebrates the cycle of life in which a baby boy grows up to be a man and the father of his own "Baby Boy" in this wonderful picture book by debut author-illustrator Janine Macbeth. It's great to see a dad doing the tasks that moms are often pictured doing: caring for the newborn, giving the toddler a bath, and teaching the boy to cook, helping the grown young man care for his own newborn son. The text is simple enough to be a bedtime read for a 2-year-old, but would also make a great gift for Father's Day or for a new father or a stay-at-home dad. ... Stunningly beautiful. ... This joyous view of a mixed-race family in a mixed-race world is both inspiring and reflective of many of our families and communities. - Regan McMahon
3) Papapalooza is just around the corner! Hope you can make it to this family festival at Mosswood Park. It'll be in Oakland this coming Saturday, 6/15 (1-5pm). [located at Broadway and MacArthur] We'll have a table there - hope you can make it if you're in the area! Please share this info with friends who might enjoy it - face painting, music, performances, book readings, resources, and fun. Bring something to contribute if you'd like to participate in the toy/clothes swap. :)
4) Finally, below are a few photos from my first reading at Sweet Adeline's Bake Shop in Berkeley! It was a small and super sweet event :)
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for your part in making all this possible.