Happy Birthday to a Very Fine Publisher!
It's Bill Campbell's birthday! I am now going to tell you a story about him:
I first heard of him through the MOTHERSHIP call for submissions, and I was like "well, cool, but I got nothin' for an Afrofuturist anthology." Was totally going to buy it, though.
Then suddenly Bill's in my inbox all, "hey, you wanna send us something?" And I'm like "whut, me??" because at the time, I had nothing, just a ranty blog and one steampunk story, and there wasn't much of a market for steampunk stories set in rather obscure countries back then, but Bill says, "yeah, you" so I send it to him anyway.
Next thing I know I'm in a book with people I have crazy respect for like Nisi Shawl and Sofia Samatar and Nora Jemisin and Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I'm sharing space with people I didn't know like Minister Faust and Ernest Hogan and Daniel José Older and Chinelo Onwualu who I hadn't met yet, hadn't known about, but are trailblazers in their own right, and I got a chance to meet them later on. I'm in a TOC with folks like Linda Addison and Indrapramit Das and Anil Menon and JUNOT DIAZ and my brain is breaking but I don't notice because I'm too distracted by the awesome cover by John Jennings.
And I thought, well, that was a cool fluke.
Two years later Bill's knocking at my inbox again, all, "hey, seen you and Joyce keep talking about this anthology of Southeast Asian steampunk. You really wanna do it?" Why was Bill watching me and Joyce blather into the aether of Twitter, I don't know, but there he was, and now here we are, with The Sea Is Ours. It's not a star-studded TOC like MOTHERSHIP was, but Bill likes it anyway, and off we go to the fundraising races and printing.
Now we're fundraising to push out a whole new bunch of comics and books, which include SUN DRAGON'S SONG by Kim Miranda and Joyce Chng, BREAD & BUTTER by Liz Mayorga, and CRUSHED by Trinidad Escobar. THE ASSIMILATED CUBAN'S GUIDE TO QUANTUM SANTERIA by Carlos Hernandez, VOICES OF MARTYRS by Maurice Broaddus.
(Who are these people? Who's this random Chicana/Filipina/Latino artist/writer? Are they big enough a deal to hustle for? What do they have? What does that matter? These are the kind of people Bill Campbell's gonna hustle for. Because Rosarium Publishing has always been about finding POC talent and hustling for them. Me and The Sea Is Ours isn't a fluke in Rosarium, it's just how Bill works. It's built into how Rosarium is formed.)
Some people do and and some people don't know about how hard it is for people of colour in North American genre publishing. There's too much of a monopoly, there's too little profit to be made, too much debt and risks involved, too little incentive for the top dogs to change. And so here we are, Rosarium Publishing, a little POC-driven, POC-centric outfit trying to make it alive in a sea of monopolies and find a way to be sustainable, which takes time and capital that we don't actually have. As an indie press, Bill is hitting up all the cons and fests trying to appeal to various audiences at one go. We got a distributor taking a risk on us.
And we ARE a risk because we don't necessarily speak the same language as the rest of mainstream genre. Those of us researching critical race theory and racialized bodies in science fiction, and creative writing as a person of colour know how hard it is to speak across borders and languages, how rare it is to have an outfit in which the marginalized and the borderlands form the core. Diversity is usually the afterthought (the thought after "quality" and "profit" as if "diversity" doesn't have the same concerns).
So if you've liked anything Rosarium has put out, MOTHERSHIP or STORIES FOR CHIP or THE SEA IS OURS, or any of the really cool comics like THE LITTLE BLACK FISH or BLUE HAND MOJO or DAYBLACK, then please support us! Give to the IndieGoGo (and pre-order some cool stuff at the same time! Never let it be said you got nothing for giving something to us), tell your friends about us, or just Share this post, and help me say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Bill Campbell!! -->> bit.ly/rosariumpub