Villarosa Media, founded by a family with over 50 years of combined journalism and literary experience, is seeking to produce quality fiction and nonfiction books primarily by and about African Americans and the African diaspora.
The company’s inaugural book, “The Wind is Spirit,” was born from an interview conducted by groundbreaking author and activist Dr. Gloria Joseph, Audre Lorde’s partner in the latter years of her life.
A few months prior to Lorde’s death, they discussed a comprehensive biography that would tell her story in full, revealing her tenacity, complexity and passion as well as her flaws and quirks.
With that mandate, Joseph created “The Wind is Spirit: The Life, Love and Legacy of Audre Lorde.” Told griot style – an African oral tradition of storytelling to maintain historical ties to the past – this combination anthology and biography brings together a wide range of prominent authors and activists, who submitted essays, reflections, stories, poems, memoirs and photos that illuminate how Lorde’s literary vision and her turbulent and triumphant life inspired so many.
The book, a kind of call-and-response biography, also contains conversations with Lorde, Joseph’s personal photos and travelogues, and remembrances from her three memorials, in New York, Berlin and St. Croix.
Villarosa Media launched “The Wind is Spirit “with a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign, held in September, raised funds for production costs and featured exclusive premiums including signed posters, digital downloads and a literary scrapbook.
The publishing company was established by Clara Villarosa, founder of Hue-Man Bookstore in Denver and Harlem, and her two daughters, Linda and Alicia. Linda is a former executive editor of Essence Magazine and award winning New York Times Health Editor, and Alicia is freelance writer and blogger, both with wide name recognition in writing and publishing.
Together they have over 50 years of expertise in book selling, editing, promotion, journalism, novel writing and online media.
For Linda Villarosa, this first project is very close to her heart.
“Audre Lorde’s fearlessness has always been an inspiration, so working on this book is like being a part of literary history as well as my own,” she said. “Even now I feel her presence, literally. While shooting video in St. Croix sometimes there would be a sudden gust of wind. Gloria would simply say, there’s Audre again letting us know she’s here,” concluded Linda.
The Villarosa media catalog will be comprised of new books from established authors as well as classic books reissued in digital formats. Using a digital model and e files, physical books will be sent as ordered, print on demand (P.O.D.) thus eliminating overstock and remainders. The Villarosa’s believe that this strategy will keep the company lean and flexible and allow them to capitalize on dynamic market opportunities.
They will also support emerging authors and publish new voices with an eye on stories from non-traditional genres. Marketing and branding will be a key part of the Villarosa Media business plan. They will work with individuals and organizations with established platforms and a large social media presence but may need a book to better establish their brands.
As a longtime bookseller and board member of American Book Association, Clara Villarosa is taking the long view.
“I’ve experienced first hand the ups downs of publishing including the Black Book Renaissance, a time when Black authors were a hot commodity. Everybody on the subway had their noses buried in a Terry McMillan book. Then a tsunami hit the industry and mainstream publishers fled the black book market. Now the tide has turned and there’s an opportunity. We’re here to help fill the void and bridge the gap between readers and writers by providing readers access to excellent literature and an outlet and marketplace for authors to publish their works,” said Clara Villarosa.
For more information go to www.villarosamedia.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VillarosaMedia/?fref=tson on twitter @VillarosaMedia