Do You Have A Book To Promote? Are You A Blogger? Diverse Book Tours Is Here!

Diverse Book Tours

Diverse Book Tours

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.

Guinevere Thomas, co-partner of Diverse Book Tours

Guinevere Thomas, co-partner of Diverse Book Tours

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?

Libertad Thomas, co-partner of Diverse Book Tours

Libertad Thomas, co-partner of Diverse Book Tours

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.

By M. Steffens, Brazilian Designer and Illustrator

By M. Steffens, Brazilian Designer and Illustrator

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.

signup-750x290Ignoring 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!


Posted in Book Reviewer Interview | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Call for Panel Proposals for 2014 KidLit Con: Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next?

2014KidLitConLogoType of Event: 2014 Kidlistosphere Conference

Theme: Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next?

When: October 10-11, 2014

Where: Tsakopoulos Library Galleria 828 I Street Sacramento, CA 95814, USA.

Goal of the event: “(…) find out ‘the best way to get the right books into the young reader’s hands.'”

Organizers and additional information
This is the eighth annual kid lit conference organized by Kidlitosphere Central, the Society of bloggers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. The event is a great venue for “librarians, authors, teachers, parents, booksellers, publishers, and readers.”

If you’re a blogger, you’re kindly invited to submit a session proposal by August 1st, 2014. For more information and to register, click here.

Would be awesome if you’d help out the event and the kidlit community by spreading the word!

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Bombs Over Bikini Giveaway Winner!

Dear Rosi,

it is with great pleasure that I will mail you a copy of Boms Over Bikini. Per your wishes, Alpha Middle School’s Library, in Elverta, CA, will also receive a copy.

Heartfelt thanks to anyone who left a comment.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Non-Fiction Book Review + GIVEAWAY: BOMBS OVER BIKINI, by Connie Goldsmith

Bombs Over Bikini CoverFavorite quote, which happens to be the opening line: “As soon as the war ended, we located the one place on Earth that hadn’t been touched by war and blew it hell.” – Bob Hope, US Comedian, and Author, 1947.

I haven’t been this moved by a non-fiction book in a long time.

I first heard of the bombings in the Marshall Islands when I was a teenager living in France, through Greenpeace activism. Indeed, the association’s members regularly made the news, both in print and on television, by their protests at various nuclear sites and arrests. Those actions consequently got the word out about the cause they were fighting for.

BOMBS OVER BIKINI, written by Connie Goldsmith and released in January 2014 by Twenty-First Century Books (a division of Lerner Publishing Group), boldly revisits a series of events that took place in the Marshall Islands shortly after World War II, and explains the reality behind the experiments performed to extensively understand the use of the then newly created nuclear bombs. The events took place during the Cold War, and the book focuses on the U.S. Nuclear Testing Program that ran from 1946 until 1958.

Underwater H BombDo you know the difference between a fission and a fusion bomb?

How were animals treated during those experiments? And humans?

Was an entire population, the Rongelapese, purposely sacrificed and used as “human lab rats” by the American government and military to study the effect of the H-bomb? What is their living situation today?

A great read for both upper-graders and adults, BOMBS OVER BIKINI answers all these questions, and more. The tests performed in the Marshall Islands were over the course of only 12 years, and equated to unleashing several thousands Hiroshima bombs in that paradisiac part of the world. The exact number of bombs detonated (see page 67) is likely to surprise you.

My opinion
The book is both gripping and horrifying. I command Connie Goldsmith for her writing skills. Indeed, with BOMBS OVER BIKINI she created page turner, a non-fiction book that reads a bit like a fiction thriller. I couldn’t put it down, and I therefore highly recommenend it. We cannot afford to not know, or forget or overlook the mistakes and sacrifices of so many of our peers.

About the Author
Connie Goldsmith_MediumConnie Goldsmith is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science degree in nursing and a master of public administration degree in healthcare. She has, at the date of publication of this review, 15 non-fiction books and over 200 articles published, mostly on health and history topics. A member of the Authors Guild and an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Connie writes for children and adults. She is currently working on several non-fiction and fiction projects.

Additional information and notable mentions:
o Junior Library Guild Selection for 2014
o Recommended by the National Science Teachers Association and featured on its website in February 2014.
o Find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, at your local bookstore.
o Connie Goldsmith Website
o Follow Connie on Twitter

To win an autographed copy of BOMBS OVER BIKINI:
1- Leave a comment. Add your twitter handle if you have one, and nominate a school library. If you win, the school library you picked will also receive a copy.
2- Share the review on Twitter and/or Facebook, or any other social media, a blog if you have one. Use the hashtags #BombsOverBikini and #MulticulturalismRocks.

The winner will be selected via, and announced on Friday, May 9, 2014. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. Good luck!

For up-to-date information on cultural diversity in children’s book and other media, join the network on Multiculturalism Rocks! Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter.

Posted in Books, Non-Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Multicultural Links of the week: 04/23/14

Hi everyone! This has been an exciting month in the world of cultural diversity and children’s literature, with many articles published on the topic in mainstream media. Here are the ones that stood out. Happy reading!

Artwork by Julie Dillon, for BuzzFeed

Artwork by Julie Dillon, for BuzzFeed

1- Heaher Tomlinson, Author. Continuing The “Diversity” Conversation.

2- Daniel José Older, Buzzfeed Contributor, Author and Musician. Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing.

3- Nina Terrero, Entertainment Weekly, Journalist. Kid Lit’s Primary Color: White–REPORT.

4- FREE WEBINAR by Booklist Online, delivered by experts from the American Library Association: Register now! Reaching All Readers: New Multicultural Books For Children And Teens.

5- Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson, featuring Walter Dean Myers and Chris Myers, Here & Now. Apartheird Or Just A General Lack Of Color?

6- And I got a kick out of this one: a tweet from mega-selling author Rick Riordan, whose contribution to cultural diversity in Kid Lit includes the Kane Chronicles Series. Read Kelly Jensen’s article on Bookriot’s website. We Need Bigger Megaphones for Diversity in Kid Lit.










Any other articles that should be there? Let us know with a comment!



Posted in Multicultural Links | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Deadline Fast Approaching for Unagented YA Submission

If you don’t have an agent, have never published a book, including through self-publication, but have a young adult manuscript ready, publisher Andrew Karre of carolhoda LAB is awaiting your submission until January 12.

For more information visit Carolrhoda LAB’s blog:

Posted in Contest, Miscellaneous, YA Books | Leave a comment

Happy Holidays: A Few Favorites from 2013

Hello everyone!

It’s been a long time since the last post, but I’m hoping a time well spent, with good, promising seeds planted. A few people, who happen to not have a Facebook account, asked me how they could keep in touch and “follow” my progress. The answer is this blog, and my Twitter account. To answer some of the questions I’ve been asked, here is what has happened since the last post, which still reflects my current life: work, writing every day, editing a newsletter for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators with Beth Hull, and school. Little sleep but happiness nonetheless, and gratitude for the opportunity to tend with passion to all the areas mentioned.

I’m curious: What were your highlights this year? What is one literary event, one piece of information that you wish would go viral because it’s so good it’s making a difference?
Here are some of the news or discoveries that gave me hope in 2013, in bullet points:

2013 in retrospect – click on the links for more info

Good News
* Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award 2013. I wasn’t aware of that award until recently. Though set in the United Kingdom and not in America, it positively adds to the awards created to promote awareness on the great multicultural stories told and published, and I hope it does so in America as well.
* “In March 2013, First Book purchased $1 million worth of culturally-diverse content from two publishers: Harper Collins and Lee & Low Books. Those purchases, which Kirkus Reviews called a “colossal commitment,” were unprecedented for a nonprofit, and served as the first major step in creating a new market for multicultural children’s literature.” – See more at:
*Literary agent Barry Goldblatt created a scholarship for children’s book writers of color: “Vermont College of Fine Arts and Barry Goldblatt Literary Announce The Angela Johnson Scholarship.”

A few favorite articles
* The Horn Book: Talking About Race in Children’s Literature: Commentary and Resources.
* Tina Kügler‘s Illustration of Equality, served with sobering numbers about cultural diversity in children’s books, and links to additional helpful articles.
* As Demographics Shift, Kids’ Books Stay Stubbornly White
* The Guardian: More calls for books about non-white children
* NBC Latino: No Latino children’s literature in annual book list – again
* Posts by award-winning publisher and activist Lee & Low Books. If you’re not already familiar with their blog, here’s a link to wet your socio-cultural appetite: Literary Agents Discuss the Diversity Gap in Publishing
* Ellen Oh: Why Being a POC Author Sucks Sometimes
* Series of posts on Courage, highlighting several writers, by librarian Edi Campbell. Here’s a sample: About Courage #3: Margarita Engle
* From Soraya Chemali, of Huffington Post: What Does it Mean that Most Children’s Books Are Still About White Boys?
* This article by a UK teacher, which I believe also applies beyond the British borders: “You can’t do that! Stories have to be about White people”

Book Lists
* The Birthday Party Pledge has a list of books with culturally diverse contents, categorized by interest. It is also a great cause to support.
* CBC Diversity’s book lists, which include: 50 multicultural books every child should know, 30 multicultural books every teen should know, 101 ways to combat prejudice, and more.
* New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books of the past 100 years. Congratulations to all books creators, notably these ones, for making it to the list – I’m so proud and excited for the groundbreaking meaning behind these nominations, for your books being so sought after, and for your hard work being celebrated: Mitali Perkins, Rucksana Khan, Lucía M. Gonzalez, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Yuyi Morales, Jerry Pinkney, Jacqueline Woodson, Ed Young, just to quote a few.
* I’m adding the following list because multicultural books can also be found via publisher’s catalogs, and because that list might be helpful to several writers and illustrators as well: Small Presses of Color, with thanks to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Scool of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison for putting that wonderful resource together.

Causes You might be happy to know about
* Books+Water/Waterbridge Outreach: this is bittersweet to blog about. Bitter because the amazing multicultural literary non-profit PaperTigers had to stop its activities. I learned So much from their work over the years, and connected, thanks to them, with amazing books lovers and writers from around the world. I miss their website, but it is still available for everyone to consult, and serves as an archive haven. Sweet because the PaperTigers team is now focusing all its energy on bringing more multicultural books to undeserved communities, as well as drinkable water – note: the lack of drinkable water in several continents is the number one cause of death, and prevents many children from attending school, among causing other problems such as wars. Please check out their website, support that great cause if you can, and spread the word. For more information on Books+Water/Waterbridge Outreach, visit Warm thank you.
* First Book. You heard the good news about First Book’s purchase of 1 million dollars worth of multicultural books. Hear this too: Publisher Random House will match 3 times any donations you make to First Book to support that great cause. I thank Media Bistro’s Galley Cat for the information. Read more about it here, please spread the word as well. This is good until December 31.
* Ventana Sierra, founded by bestselling author Ellen Hokpins. Foster care children are often left to fend for themselves once they turn 18. Ventana Sierra thrives to offer them a place to live, while setting up with a mentor with whom they learn a craft that will allow them to make a living – via internships, etc. Ventana Sierra accepts donations, but also raises money via an online store and advanced writers workshops, the next one taking place taking during the weekend of June 6, 2014. For more information on Ventana Sierra, visit To learn more about the workshops, click here.

Last minute deadlines you might be interested in:
* SCBWI’s SPARK Award, recognizing and celebrating excellence in children’s books self-published or non-traditionally published in 2013. You need to be a SCBWI member to apply.
* Call for submission for Kaleidoscope, a Diverse YA Fantasy and Science Fiction anthology, published by Twelfth Planet Press.

Wishes for 2014
More buzz, a deeper connection between readers and the creators of culturally diverse books, continued smart marketing of said books, wishing more writers, publishing houses and publicists to make the most of the abundance of the social platforms to spread the word, enthusiasm and passion for kids books with characters from ALL walk of life.

Wishing you a safe, warm and inspiring holiday season,


Update 12/28/13
* From Inside ‘A Fuse #8 Production,’ by Elizabeth Bird: 2014 Kids of Color: Things Are Looking Up

Posted in Awards, Books, Literary Agency, Literary Agent, Miscellaneous, Multicultural Platform, Publishing Houses, Uncategorized, YA Books | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments