“Publishing to me is not only sharing knowledge, but providing ideas and promoting life-long learning. This is what we should hope to develop in children–a love of reading and learning.”
Why did you become a book publisher? I became a book publisher because I wanted to share my interest in Chicago history and culture, as well as American history with the public. I became a volunteer interpreter at the Chicago History Museum in 2000 and learned so much about this great city. I have since written several books and developed tours that focus on what makes Chicago a great place to live and to visit.
What do you like best about publishing? Publishing to me is not only sharing knowledge, but providing ideas and promoting life-long learning. This is what we should hope to develop in children--a love of reading and learning.
What do you publish? Neighborhood tour guides, books about Chicago history and culture; children's stories
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? The most effective marketing is working with cultural institutions and museums locally and nationally. I have also started partnering with professional educational organizations. I have attended national educational conferences and participated in author pavilions at the National Black Caucus Foundation and at the Jack and Jill Conference.
How do you define a successful title? A successful title is one that sells through several printings. As a small publisher, I do limited printings starting at 500. I have several titles that have been successful into the second printing.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. I am most proud our most recent book called Tate and His Historic Dream that is a children's story that focuses on 28 characters from African American history. The story brings the history alive for children, who have not typically had good instruction or any instruction in history, or who have little interest in the past. We are currently working on a sequel that goes deeper into the African American experience.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? Getting distribution is very difficult. I plan to devote more time and effort to promote my books this year and in the future.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Make sure that you are thinking about the market before you publish a book.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? I can see the company growing and expanding into more diverse offerings that have a national and possibly an international appeal. I would like to publish in other languages besides English.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? I am a volunteer at the Chicago History Museum and give tours. My favorite sport is tennis and I play weekly as well as attend tournaments.
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