Tiger Stripe Publishing: An Interview with Founder Joy Triche

By Carrie Olivia Adams on Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Learn how Joy Triche created her own independent publishing company for diverse children’s books

Publishing Childrens Books for All: An Interview with Joy Triche, Tiger Stripe Publishing Founder and Publisher

Don’t forget that Chicago Women in Publishing’s Fourth Annual Publishing Fair is this Saturday, March 24 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Roosevelt University (430 South Michigan Avenue). If you have not signed up to attend, there’s still time! Click here to register to attend CWIP’s 2018 Pub Fair. As an attendee, you will have the chance to learn more about what publishing means today and make meaningful professional connections that can last a lifetime.

Today’s guest blog comes from CWIP member and freelance literary publicist Carrie Olivia Adams who shares insight into CWIP Publishing Fair exhibitor, Tiger Stripe Publishing and its founder, Joy Triche.

Creating her own publishing company has been a lifelong dream of Founded in 2014, Tiger Stripe Publishing is a Chicago-based independent publisher of children’s books whose mission is to develop high-quality products that celebrate underrepresented people and to increase the number of diverse books available to all.

“As long as I can remember, I have been a book worm. I got into magazines in high school like many girls, and I wanted to start my own magazine. I’ve never really seen myself as a creative person, but I liked the business side of publishing, and starting my own company made sense,” she said.

Before founding Tiger Stripe, Triche worked in educational publishing throughout her career.

“I started with a small company in Phoenix, Arizona, that created educational materials, and then I later landed at National Geographic’s School Publishing division, and I stayed there for almost a decade in the operations department, where I learned so much about the business side. I have always been interested in how things work, and coming out of that job, I felt like I could look at a book and have a good sense of everything that it took to build it,” she said.

This professional experience was essential when Triche decided to start her own business, but it was her experience as a mother that shaped her later interests. When she had children, she fell back in love with children’s books and realized how many of the books she had read as a child had influenced how she still approached the world.

“The messages of children’s books can have real staying power, and I gravitated toward finding books that could offer those positive ideas to my children. My oldest daughter has always been a voracious reader, but my son was a more reluctant reader, and I sought to find books that he could identify with. That’s when the lack of diversity in children’s books really began to occur to me. As a woman of color, I made it my mission to publish books that celebrate diverse characters.”

For Triche, the power of a book is its ability to immerse you fully in its world. Despite being a publisher, she thinks of herself as a reader first, and she recalls one particular title she read as a child that transported her to a new environment.

“When I was growing up in Arizona, I read The Snowy Day. Though the idea of snow was completely foreign to me, through the illustrations and the very simple, well-chosen, words I was able to see and feel what a snowy day would be like for the main character. I believe that a good book can take the reader on an adventure into its own world and make the reader a part of the story.”

But, it’s not just enough to create a beautiful and engaging book—to succeed the book needs to find readers. Triche sees this as one of the biggest difficulties facing small and independent publishers, and she wishes she had known more about distribution channels when she began as a publisher.

“It’s one thing to create an amazing book, but getting it into the hands of people who want it is a big challenge. Distribution is a mystery for many small publishers. Bookstores and other retail outlets have hundreds of products that they are selling and very big accounting systems, and it’s hard to break through. I think the reader suffers when there are a lot writers who have a great story to tell, but it’s difficult to find an outlet where they can make it available. We’re at an interesting point in publishing where it can be easy to make a book, but difficult to distribute it or even get your foot in the door.”

Despite these challenges, Triche is incredibly thankful for the success of Tiger Stripe and the books they’ve published so far. Her advice to anyone hoping to start a publishing venture of their own is to know how to do a little bit of everything; to establish a review team made up of people that you highly respect, but are distant enough from you and your business that they are not afraid to give critical feedback; and, most important,“ to find a niche that you can really believe in.”

For more information about Tiger Stripe Publishing, be sure to stop by Joy’s table at CWIP’s Fourth Annual Publishing Fair this Saturday, March 24 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Roosevelt University (430 South Michigan Avenue). Tickets for members, students, and seniors are only $20 each and non-members pay just $5 more at $25 each. We are hosting 20 exhibitors from the Chicago publishing industry which include academic presses, local presses, author and editor organizations, large corporate presses, and more. Bring your business cards and get ready to network!

We are also happy to announce that Joy Triche will be our 2018 Fall Kickoff Speaker so stay tuned for more details on that event.

Carrie Olivia Adams is a freelance literary publicist and the poetry editor for the small press Black Ocean. She is the author of Operating Theater (Noctuary Press 2015), Forty-One Jane Doe’s (book and companion DVD, Ahsahta 2013) and Intervening Absence (Ahsahta 2009).

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