LITITZ, Pa. — After failing to get her children's book published for almost a year, one Lancaster County woman decided to take matters into her own hands.
She started her own publishing company and has already had success in the literary world. However, the success didn't begin until after being rejected by several publishing companies.
Her story, "The Little Brown Seed," has been a passion project for Diana Jules-Peene since she was a child after spending years looking for books that she could identify with as a Black woman.
"I found that as I got older, I still was not seeing my face or faces like myself in the pages, so I said, 'you know what, I need to change that,'" described Jules-Peene.
She would eventually write her first children's book and search for publication, but only found rejection.
According to Jules-Peene, several publishers rejected her book due to creative differences.
However, she was determined to have her story told as she intended.
As Jules-Peene says, "I wanted to stay true to myself, and I did so I said, 'you know what, I’m just going to go ahead and publish my own book.'”
Jules-Peene also noted how less than 10% of Black authors experience publication, but she hopes her company can change that.
She explained, "only three out of every 10,000 manuscripts are typically chosen to get published for Black authors."
Less than six months ago, Jules-Peene started her own company called DJPublishing. She has already been approached by other Black and minority-group authors.
However, because she is still establishing her brand, she has not accepted any manuscripts.
“The book industry shapes our culture, so if it shapes our culture, it allows you to go to different cultures, it allows you, you know, have new ideas, learn about new ideas," noted Jules-Peene.
She mentioned how her book was partially inspired by her own experiences growing up as an Black woman, but she says the book is for every child, regardless of race.
As Jules-Peene described, "all of us typically go through something in our lives and we find the inner strength to get through that and become our true self, so that was my inspiration."