Books Without Borders

April 4th, 2006 · No Comments
by Booksquare

It is an interesting concept, targeting publishing efforts toward major audiences. Rayo, an imprint of HarperCollins, is focused on providing good books to the Latino community — in both English and Spanish. Yes, yes, we know, such radical concepts require more warning before being dropped in your laps.

That fact that it wasn’t until the year 2001 that this happened boggles the mind — and we do not possess an easily boggled mind.

When we started back in 2001, I think we were one of the very few publishing houses out there making books for the Latino community. Although the census figures were out, projecting that Latinos would soon become the largest minority in the country, few had thought of actually publishing books for this community. It was a challenge to get our books reviewed, and a lot of the work was convincing people that yes, Latinos do read, and that there is an audience out there not only for books in Spanish but also for books on Latino culture.

While Andrea Montejo of Rayo is seeking the usual good books, she’s also looking beyond the traditional borders of the publishing industry. In other words, you can rest assured that a chicklit novel coming from the diverse Rayo imprint won’t feature an underpaid New York editor who wears only black. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We particularly enjoyed this sentiment:

The biggest challenge, I would have to say, has been finding authors that represent all the different national origins that exist within the Latino community. While we get many submissions from authors of Cuban or Mexican descent, we get very few from Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries, such as Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, etc. Although this does make sense when one considers that most Latino immigrants in the United States come from Cuba and Mexico, we do still try to have every nationality represented in one way or another, and it hasn’t always been easy.

File Under: Publishers and Editors