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Daily Inspiration: Meet Ceece Kelley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ceece Kelley.

Hi Ceece, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
In early 2020, I welcomed my first child. As I began to build his library with timeless classics and empowering new releases, I noticed there was a severe lack of diversity in children’s books, especially those with Black and brown main characters.

During my maternity leave, I began penning a children’s book about my new baby who refused nap time because he wanted to be in his mother’s arms. This story became my first title, ‘Dear Mama’s Loving Arms’, This title received wild success on Kickstarter and is now on Walmart shelves around the country.

But I couldn’t just stop there. I’m a natural problem solver and I wanted to do my part in increasing diversity in children’s books. I launched Soaring Kite Books, an independent children’s book publisher focused on highlighting creators of color and sharing uplifting stories with a cultural backdrop.

Now Soaring Kite Books publishes 8+ books per year with the support of our distributor who helps get our titles into bookstores and retailers.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Is it ever? On paper, Soaring Kite Books has been extremely successful in a short amount of time, but it has been an arduous journey. The biggest challenge we face is funding.

Publishing is a high overhead industry due to the printing and storing of physical books as well as the creative team that it takes to put them together.

It’s also highly volatile due to overseas production and the fluctuating prices of production and paper.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
What sets me apart from others is I have a background in marketing and creative production. I thoroughly enjoy the creative process and have always had an active imagination.

I can look at a manuscript and see exactly where we can add more life to the story while simultaneously seeing the art direction play out in my mind.

I am a lifelong learner and immerse myself in the publishing industry and current picture books to stay on top of trends. I can truly say this is my ‘dream job’,

What’s next?
We are currently on track with our 24 x 24 plan, launching 24 books by 2024. Our work is important because it gives a voice to authors of color and allows them to share their stories with the next generation.

Our next step is to pitch to investors to help reach our next level of growth. We need funding to support more authors and break into other genres in addition to children’s picture books.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Amber Iris Photo

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