Are you my mother? Imprinting is when a young animal comes to recognize another animal, person, or thing as their parent. No. Wrong. Not that kind of imprint. But now that the obligatory duckling reference is out of the way, let’s actually talk about what an imprint is in a publication.
The best way to think of an imprint is to think about the books that you probably read for class. Is there a little penguin near the bottom of the cover or near the bottom of the spine? If the answer is yes, then chances are that the book is part of Penguin Random House. Look a little closer though; it doesn’t say Penguin Random House does it? It probably says Penguin Classics, or even Puffin Books. Those are imprints! An imprint can be thought of as a brand or a subdivision within a publishing company that specializes in a specific type of book. Penguin Classics focuses on, well, classics. Maybe your ninth grade English teacher made you read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck for homework? Classic.
So why are imprints important? They allow publishers to grow and expand their audiences; and in my opinion, they probably help keep things organized. I can’t even begin to imagine one publishing house attempting to tackle everything under one big umbrella—something is bound to be left out in the rain! Delegation of tasks is important; and allows publicists, editors, agents, everyone to explore their interests. If there is a growing niche of interest in a specific type of book, then chances are that an imprint can and will be created. Penguin Random House…Puffin Books. HarperCollins…HarperCollins Children’s Books. Disney Worldwide Publishing…Rick Riordan Presents. Wait, one of these things is not like the other. The obvious naming trend has been disrupted, but it’s a great segue into the next paragraph.
Rick Riordan has his own imprint with Disney now! That’s super exciting! What does that mean though? Why does Rick Riordan have his own imprint? You can get everything from the horse’s mouth at rickriordan.com but long story short, the demand for mythology in children’s and YA literature is growing. The readers have spoken, we demand culture! So far Rick Riordan has been able to cover Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythology in his body of work, but what about the other guys? Where is that sweet, sweet representation that the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement has been crying out for?
The goal of Rick Riordan Presents is, and I quote, “to publish great books by middle grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage.” Yes please!
Rick Riordan Presents is publishing three books this year, and so far, one has already been released! Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (and now I’m going to shamelessly remind you that we’ve covered this amazing book in our podcast, Pine Reads Pod Review) just came out in March and covers Hindu mythology. The other two books being published this year are Storm Runner by Jennifer Cervantes and will be featuring Mayan mythology, and Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee which will be covering Korean mythology.
Imprints are such an important part of the publishing world, and I am super excited for Rick Riordan Presents. It’s not every day that an imprint is created just for the sole purpose of publishing diverse children’s and YA literature. It’s still in the beginning stages, just one book has been published and two more are on the way, but more incredible books are definitely coming.
PRR Writer, Cheyenne Lopex