An Editor Goes Cliff Jumping: The Story of Tu Books

As a social media user (addict?), I watched and cheered as unemployed editor Stacy Whitman broadcast her vision of publishing excellent multicultural science fiction and fantasy YA novels. She set up a blog, rallied us for startup funds through a Kickstarter campaign, and spread the news artfully through Twitter and Facebook.

It didn't take long for publisher Lee and Low to notice how much support Stacy was garnering. A few weeks ago, we got this good news:
Lee and Low Books, the respected independent children's book publisher specializing in diversity, has acquired Tu Publishing, an independent press focusing on multicultural fantasy and science fiction for middle grade and young adult readers.

“This is a natural fit for us,” says Lee and Low publisher Jason Low. “Our customers have been asking us for years to publish stories for older readers. Tu represents an excellent way for us to bring diversity to a whole new audience.”
Now Tu Books is up and running and Stacy's moved to New York. How did this happen so quickly? Blogger and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith recently asked Stacy what she's learned through all this. "I have just been trying to make the best of an economy in the dumps--creating a job for myself and finding a hole to fill," Stacy said. "The main thing it's taught me is that it's worth it to follow the little niggling feeling that tells you to jump off a cliff. (Figuratively, of course.)"

Isn't that the spirit we're all going to need during these tight times? As the book industry morphs so fast it's hard to know what's coming around the corner, it could be exactly the right moment to take a creative risk.

Why not jump off your own cliff and think about writing and submitting a manuscript to Tu Books? Read these guidelines, and here are some resources that Stacy recommends:
For examples of the kinds of novels we're looking for, check out this list of multicultural science fiction and fantasy novels. Note that there is a gamut of historical, contemporary, futuristic, alternate-world, and other kinds of speculative fiction.

For writers who are writing from a perspective not their own, see Nisi Shawl's excellent article on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America site about Transracial Writing for the Sincere.

For guidance on word counts and other requirements for middle grade and young adult novels, check out Harold Underdown's The Purple Crayon and, which should lead you to more information. Also keep an eye on the LEE and LOW blog and Tu Editorial Director Stacy Whitman's blog, and the Web sites and blogs we link to, because these experts have great advice for writers.
Bon voyage, Tu Books!