Welcome to Stacy Whitman's Grimoire
Currently, she is seeking fantasy and science fiction for children and young adults that features diverse characters and settings. See the submission guidelines for Tu Books for more information.
If you didn't see me hyping this up on pretty much all social media on Thursday and Friday, here's your chance to know about a sweet deal for all my books, this week only (ends Friday)---the Tu Books Friends & Family Sale.
This is our way of saying thank you to our supporters over the years, and to celebrate the release of our fourth season of books. Not to mention the 1-year anniversary of the publication of Cat Girl's Day Off and Vodnik. Whatever you'd like to celebrate (the 1 1/2 year anniversary of the release of Tankborn!), celebrate with us by using the coupon code and by sharing the sale on to your friends and family.
Feel free to share this on with anyone who might be interested--it's a great deal for librarians and teachers! Use the code FAMILY at check-out.
FYI, we seem to be having some trouble with the international ordering, but if you call the office at 212-779-4400 with the coupon code FRIENDS, we can still give you the 35% off your order for international customers (no free shipping, sorry).
With new titles come new responsibilities, which means more to keep track of. I'm about to overhaul my desk and my task-management system, so before I really dig in beyond cleaning my desk, I thought I'd throw the questions out there:
- What's your favorite task-management program? Preferably one that allows you to set deadlines for tasks and organize complicated subjects while being able to prioritize.
- What are your favorite resources for customizing your desk? I'm looking for ideas for using vertical space in a cubicle, in particular. I have some bookshelves I could repurpose, too, if necessary, but I'd prefer to be able to hang something from my cube wall. I'm looking particularly at things like this, but I'm wondering if I might be missing some possibility, particularly something that could hang above the computer and hold more than just paper. And for something that could hold large stacks of 11 x 17 paper (galleys) and such---piles of paper that I generally need in plain sight but not always right on the surface of my desk.
- Speaking of piles of paper, slush pile management practices (digital and paper) welcome.
- How do you keep e-mail and other digital resources organized? Any particular systems you prefer? (I'm doing much better on the computer than on my desk, but while I'm in this organizing kick, I'm also planning on integrating these ideas into e-organization as well.)
- Any resources you go to for office organization, particularly desks and file systems? Links, please!
You might notice some changes happening in my bio below my posts, on my About Me page, and on my social media sites. I’ve already mentioned it on Facebook, but I thought I’d better note it here, as well. For the last three years, I’ve been editorial director of Tu Books, focusing on the editorial side. Now my responsibilities have expanded to include marketing and sales, and so my title has changed to publisher to reflect that change in duties.
What this means for writers: I won’t have as much time to accept new submissions, so from time to time our submissions guidelines will reflect that we’ve closed to unagented submissions. We did this over the holidays, and haven’t yet reopened those submissions; I need time to catch up on what we’ve already received, including a nice large number of New Visions Award submissions. So keep writing, and watch for when we open for submissions periodically. This will allow me to concentrate my editorial time on the books we’ve already contracted, with concentrated windows during which I’ll seek new voices.
While this is a big change for me, for the purpose of writers things shouldn’t change too much.
Hanukkah is in full swing, and Christmas is right around the corner. Thinking about getting a book for that teen or kid in your life? Or for the adult YA reader in your life (you are welcome in this no-judgement zone; we love YA too!). Don’t forget to include Tu Books in those plans! Here are a few examples of people you’re looking to find a gift for.
For the reader looking for comedy (sometimes light, sometimes a little morbid):
For the teen looking for something with an edge:
For the middle-grade reader or young teen looking for a “clean” read:
For fans of folklore and fairy tales:
For fans of science fiction, especially technology and space-related:
For fans of Twilight:
For fans of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Chicago:
Got any other kinds of readers in your life that need a Tu Book recommendation? Ask away in the comments!
Have you been waiting for the right time—for example, a holiday promotional event—to buy a Tu Book or two? We’ll be sending out a special holiday discount to all our e-news subscribers, so sign up for our e-news to be sure that you’ll be in on the action.
You’ll see on that link that there are four options on the e-news: one for everything, one that is targeted for authors and illustrators—including publishing advice and contest announcements, another that focuses just on the books themselves, and another for teachers and librarians that includes classroom helps and links to resources on our site. You can sign up for all of them, or just one or two.
And the discount coupons don’t just come during the holidays—each e-news comes with discount codes just for e-news subscribers.
I’m updating my dragon booklist today and putting it on Pinterest. Now that my nephew is eight, he’s into full-on middle-grade books, and STILL loves dragons, three years later. So what dragon books have come out in the last three years? What books did we keep off the list last time because they weren’t that great for readalouds? Let me know in the comments here, as I think the old post is old enough that the comments have closed there.
We’re celebrating here at Tu Books today, because one of our fall books, Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, has received a starred review from School Library Journal. Our first star as an imprint, in fact! Celebrate with us and get a peek at part of the review:
“Written in the style of magic realism, this is an enchanting look at Mexican mysticism, coupled with the realistic celebration of the true meaning of family. The sisters’ relationships are believably drawn, and the juxtaposition of modern realities and ancient Aztec mythology elucidates the importance of the spiritual side of life in Latin cultures. The plot is well paced, with the illicit nature of the girls’ entry into Mexico adding drama to their adventure. While some readers may find the interweaving of the magical elements somewhat unsettling at first, they are sure to be intrigued by both the unusual qualities of the mythical characters and the sense of adventure that lies behind every twist and turn of the girls’ revelatory journey. As with McCall’s Under the Mesquite (Lee & Low, 2011), this is a peek into Mexican American culture, but its ties to the supernatural add an interesting dimension.”
If you’re in New York City and have the time (i.e., you’re not out volunteering or salvaging your own home) the A Is for Anansi conference at NYU this weekend is still on, despite the university being shut down for the week after the hurricane due to flooding and electrical outages. That is now taken care of and they’re getting back on their feet, and looking forward to discussing literature for children of African descent on Friday evening and all day Saturday.
There’s an RSVP number at that link, but if that isn’t working (I’ve heard there might be troubles with it), don’t worry—just show up. The conference is free to the public, so anyone may come.
I’ll be on the fantasy/science fiction panel on Saturday, along with Nnedi Okorafor and Zetta Elliott, which I’m really looking forward to. We’ll be talking about the scarcity of fantasy/science-fiction books featuring children of African decent and how we hope to fix that. I hope you can make it!
November 9-10th, 2012
Location for all programs: Kimmel Center-NYU,
60 Washington Square South, E&L Auditorium, 4th Floor
Friday 6 p.m.–8 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m.–after 5 p.m.
Are you starting off on your yearly Nanowrimo marathon? If so, perhaps you’re thinking about how to diversify your cast or settings. Preferably both, right? This month I’m working on at least one new diversity post, but I also thought perhaps a list of existing resources in one place would be useful. Most of these links, which I’ve been sharing via Twitter and Facebook as I find them, can also be found on the CBC Diversity Resources page, specifically on the resources for writers page, along with resources directed at other publishing professionals such as editors, sales and marketing, and booksellers. I’ve added a few more recent articles/sites that I’ve recently run into, as well.
This is kind of a hodgepodge of links, but I think it’ll help you have plenty to think about. If I run into anything more in the next couple of days, I’ll likely add it. Most of these links apply to writing cross-culturally, but as I like to remind people, this can mean anyone writing from a perspective not their own. I’ve talked to New York City-based writers who make assumptions about Iowans based on what they’ve seen on TV that I as a Midwesterner find unbelievable at best. I’ve known probably as many writers of color who want to write about different cultures that fascinate them as white writers who would like to write about people of color. In all of these cases, if you aren’t writing “what you know,” then research is involved. You have to know what questions to ask, what assumptions you’re making because of your own worldview that your character wouldn’t make. These resources will help you with that.
Though, beware, there’s a lot of info here. If you’re Nanoing, perhaps you might want to go with one at a time to leave yourself time to write!
Nnedi Okorafor examines Stephen King’s use of the “Magical Negro” trope and discusses how it can be avoided.
Chimamanda Adichie’s transformative TED talk, The Dangers of a Single Story, shows us what happens when writers focus on only one kind of story, and how a multitude of voices from minority cultures need to be heard for that danger to pass away.
When writing cross-culturally, we need to remember whether we’re acting as an invader, a tourist, or a guest. Nisi Shawl addresses how to watch out for stereotypes, bad dialects, and other problematic portrayals of people of color.
Nisi Shawl’s resources for those who want to get it right when they want to write cross-culturally; how to do your research.
Uma Krishnaswami on challenging subverting expectations in our writing.
Describing characters of color in writing
N.K. Jemison on how to describe characters of color in your writing without resorting to cliches and stereotypes.
A Tumblr that seeks to provide a visual representation of the everyday of microaggressions, “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.” Each event, observation and experience posted is not necessarily particularly striking in and of themselves. Often, they are never meant to hurt—acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects. Instead, their slow accumulation during a childhood and over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult.
Uma Krishnaswami on insider vs. outsider narratives (as she discusses Saraswati’s Way with Monika Schroder).
N.K. Jemison’s response to the segregation of black writers (and often as a result, readers) in some libraries and bookstores.
Uma Krishnaswami on the use of parenthetic comma phrases to explain cultural details to the reader as if the reader were always an outsider to the culture. How else might these details be conveyed without alienating readers who come from that culture?
Peggy McIntosh provides a classic list of privileges which a white middle class woman enjoys that many of other socioeconomic statuses or races do not. An example for writers seeking to write from a perspective not their own to muse on their own privileges, whether similar or different, so they can see their blind spots.
Things I Don’t Have to Think about Today
In the same vein as the above, science fiction writer John Scalzi talks about “Things I Don’t Have to Think about Today” paired with his post on narrative usurpation, covering why he wrote “Things I Don’t Have to Think about Today.”
A Checklist for Writers
N.K. Jemison on the “strong female character” stereotype that also connects with racial and cultural issues.
Uma Krishnaswami interviews Stacy Whitman about using cultural experts to read cross-cultural writing or to check details of a controversial or historical subject (even when the writer is of that culture).
From my own blog (be sure to read the comments section).
Notes from my SCBWI Winter Conference talk in which I quote from the book below (questions to ask to knowing what questions to ask)
This book by Joseph Shaules is directed to potential US expats living abroad helping them to think about cultural differences and ways to adapt to their new countries and enjoy the journey. But when read from the perspective of a writer, the questions Shaules raises can be applied to world building and culture building in writing.
My talk on the need for diversity in fantasy and science fiction (includes a resources for writers section in part 3).
The Language of the Night
This book is unavailable electronically and also out of print, but if you can find Ursula K. Le Guin’s collection used or at your library, published by HarperCollins in 1978 and 1989, two excellent essays for writers on diversity are “American SF and the Other” and “Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons?”
As I was talking about yesterday, Hurricane Sandy has affected us at Lee & Low—our office is still currently without power—o we understand that it has made it hard especially for those in the path of the storm to get your New Visions entry into the mail. After all, in the middle of all this, a lot of us have more important things to worry about, like electricity and food. Subway and train service is also still a problem, which might be essential for someone trying to get to the post office, and I’m not sure if many affected post offices are back up and running yet.
In light of that, we’re announcing today that we’re going to grant a 2-week extension to the New Visions contest. Our new deadline is Nov. 14. Like the original deadline, that is a postmark deadline. As long as your entry is postmarked by Nov. 14, your entry has hit the deadline. We hope this extension particularly helps those in the path of the storm, but it applies across the board.
All the other guidelines remain in effect. The contest page will be updated when we are able to do so—can’t change it myself and those who can don’t have access right now.
Given that those who need this deadline most might not even have electricity right now, please share this far and wide and please retweet, Facebook, and share on your blogs and other social networks today and perhaps a few times later this week. Please get the word out. Thanks, and for those who are hardest hit by this storm, our thoughts are with you.
P.S. If you’re in another area and wondering how you can help with the hurricane, I’ve heard that they have had to cancel several local blood drives due to the infrastructure damage. If you can donate blood, that might be the best thing you can do, particularly because on the night of the storm they had to evacuate an entire hospital down at NYU. You might also consider donating money to the Red Cross.