Multiculturalism Rocks!: Hi Guinevere, thank you for joining Multiculturalism Rocks! today on behalf of Diverse Book Tours! Let’s talk first about the company’s name: what do you mean by “Diverse Book?”
Guinevere, for Diverse Book Tours: Thank you so much for having us on your blog first off. Book Bloggers by far are the strongest resource for an author, traditionally published or self published. As book bloggers ourselves, we know the time and effort that goes into one, and your effort to interview us to spread the word is greatly appreciated.
We, at Diverse Book Tours, define a “diverse book” as the following: Any book that features a MAIN character who is either a person of color, queer/QUILTBAG, disabled, and/or not limited to anything that may not typically be highlighted as a “default.” We highly encourage religious diversity and size, and age diversity, but we stress that many of these categories are welcome, and encouraged to intersect. If anything, the more intersectionality the better!
MR: Now tell us about DBT’s origins. How did your adventure start? What was the trigger?
DBT: We can’t take all the credit. Even though on our own blogs we’ve stressed the desire to create a blog tour company for diverse books, we didn’t know enough to be confident to start. An author we’d interviewed had mentioned the idea to us, but we didn’t know how to start one. Essentially the passion was there, but at the time being, it was an idea, with no starting point.
The founder Sasha we’d met through Goodreads, and socializing throughout the blogosphere and social media. She brought her interest to start up the company, and thought our connections with authors who write diversely, and bloggers who are open to diversity in books, would be a decent start as far as outreach.
We started out as a team of five, but two were not able to commit a the time being, which we were ok with. It requires that much more work, but we were willing to push forward and put in the extra effort.
Our blog, Twinja Book Reviews, has been a wonderful door to authors, editors, bloggers, social media presences and books that promote diversity. Our journey to become book bloggers stemmed from wanting to self-publish a book ourselves, to learn how to reach an audience and to connect, learn proper online etiquette, and the like. But we noticed there aren’t a ton of resources for authors, or people looking for books that feature more than just you’re able bodied, neuro typical, cis gendered, white and straight main character.
You could write the best book of your career, but the marketing plans for diverse books isn’t strong, or many arent made aware of them. Our goal is to put authors in the reach of those most likely to read, review and promote their books.
We are preparing our launch at the end of August, and were hoping to get the word out!
MR: Are you publicists? If no, what is the difference between a publicist and you?
DBT: First and foremost, we are not publicists. We are book bloggers who intend to provide publicity throughout the online publishing industry, but we are not publicists ourselves. We share many roles with publicists, as we become blog researchers for bloggers who might be interested in diverse books, media connectors throughout our circles, and readers. Also we cannot guarantee sales. Like a publicist, we can only guarantee exposure. Anyone who tells you they can get one thousand people to buy your book is lying to you. Ideally, we can get your book in the hands of a blogger who is the most likely to read it.
Much of our skills with promotion are what we’ve learned throughout the blogosphere. I dont believe it would be fair to compare our role to a publicist, as this is a venture not motivated by money. The publishing industry is still a business. A publicist can not make a living if it’s just a hobby for them. Each person connected to Diverse Book Tours is so dedicated to diverse books, we would be willing to do it for free, and have on our own blogs!
MR: Who are you offering your services too? Authors only? Or independent publishing houses too?
DBT: We are offering our services to authors both traditionally published and self-published or independently published. Publishing houses are welcome to contact as well, but we are especially interested in authors who are independently published or self-published, as long as their work meets an industry standard.
MR: Do you take on any books coming your way? If not, what is your selection process like?
DBT: We want authors to know that we are not out to take their money. We do things on our own blogs for free, but with the reach we are trying to achieve for future clients, it requires a lot of leg work. Sasha is a law student, and Libertad and I both work two jobs. We all know this isn’t a business venture we can start quitting our day jobs for. So for that reason, we’ve decided on a screening process to fit the needs of the author.
We advise authors not to pay for services until we know what to expect for you, and you know what to expect from us. We will all commit to the first fifty pages of the book. At the end of the week, we meet up via Skype, and/or Facebook, Google Chat, and discuss how we felt about the prose, the representation, the editing, etc.
We do not want to turn anyone down, but we do not want authors to pay for services that will affect them negatively either.
We understand not everyone has agents, professional editing, and many other things that may not be at their disposal. If you are interested in a particular package, but we find that your book may not meet an industry standard with reviewers, we might suggest a package much less expensive, such as a cover reveal or a blitz tour (both of which would only set you back 35 dollars, and still guarantee you exposure) or we may suggest you don’t use our services.
This venture isn’t meant to make the most money possible, so we don’t want those interested to pay for promotion that will not work for them. If a book tour company is willing to take you on, despite issues they may find with your work, that should say more about them, than your work.
MR: What makes Diverse Book Tours a good match, if not a perfect fit for authors looking to promote their books?
DBT: Well, for the most part, the most essential part actually, is as far as authors who have books with marginalized main characters, all of our blogging with Twinja Book Reviews has made us greatly connected to those in search of diverse books. If we hadn’t started Twinja Book Reviews, we would’ve never heard or been apart of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign. There was no such thing as a small effort with that event. We learned just how important representation was, and who felt neglected in the conversation. Nearly everyone does.
Wether you are a woman of color, queer or disabled, you have to realize that your marginalization is not the only one that matters.
As a Black-Latina, I often feel nearly invisible. There is no strong representation in books for characters I could relate to growing up, but I was proud that the 90’s featured positive role models for black women. Latino culture didn’t always embrace me, but I’ve found representation in women I could identify with physically. Culturally too, if you look at the root of many cultures stemming back from Africa.
However, upon searching my brain, I cant recall any positive images for queer and characters with disabilities being present. We all know what stereotypes are. We all fall victim to them. The best way to start abolishing them is through positive representation.
If we know anything, it is how to reach people looking for strong and positive representation.
MR: Thank you for your deep and honest answer. Your website mentions that you’re looking for tour hosts. What are the benefits for the blogger hosting one of your tours?
DBT: Obviously free books to read if they do choose to sign up for a tour that interests them. We honestly can’t ask of people to force themselves to be apart of tours they do not wish to be apart of. A few book tour companies do that, and we don’t want to take the fun out of participating by making it seem like work.
Ideally a book blogger will want to read, review or promote books that need more help and reach than books that are out there, and are best sellers.
It saddens me to say that for twenty-six years of my life, I’d never thought about reading diversely. I bought books based on what was popular, and didn’t realize how damaging that was to me. When people of color, queer, disabled, people of diverse religions and sizes say that it shouldn’t matter whether a book has “insert marginalization here”, I cringe. Your image should matter. Representation matters.
Ignoring diversity doesn’t make you a bad person, but if seeing representation of different marginalizations makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you’re not doing as much as you can to read diversely. This is true for everyone, even the Diverse Book Tours team. We all could be doing more for diversity in books.
We’ll host giveaways every few months for people who participate, but I think anyone who promotes diverse books makes a difference and gains something, whether s/he knows it or not.
MR: Great, thanks Guinevere! Is there a question you wished I had asked?
DBT: I believe your questions allowed me to answer accordingly, and again, we really appreciate you taking the time to feature us on your blog! We hope we can get a little more interest before the launch date, and anyone who signs up can enter our rafflecopter giveaway
MR: I’m excited about your new venture, and I wish you and the authors you will work with much success! Thank you for this conversation. :)
For more information on Diverse Book Tours, click on the links below:
For additional information about Sasha, Libertad and Guinevere–their biography, including how to be connected via goodreads, twitter and more, visit Diverse Book Tours’ team page.
Click on the picture below to participate in the Giveaway Launch Party. The deadline to enter is 8/31/14! Thank you for reading, wishing you a great week!