Diversity and Equity in the Publishing World

Ep. 343 Rebekah Borucki

“It’s really beautiful to be reminded of who actually drives change and is here for each other.”

Rebekah Borucki

Follow and subscribe for free

Lesley Logan - Author, Mindset Coach, and Fitness Guru Google Play
Lesley Logan - Author, Mindset Coach, and Fitness Guru Apples Podcasts
Lesley Logan - Author, Mindset Coach, and Fitness Guru Spotify account
Bio

Rebekah “Bex” Borucki (she/they) is a mixed-race neuro-riotous mother-to-five, grandmother-to-one, self-help and children’s author, and the Founder and President of Row House, Wheat Penny Press, and the WPP Little Readers Big Change Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit delivering literacy programming to K-12 students in underestimated school districts and grants to Black and Brown creatives and booksellers. Borucki is driven by a commitment to make wellness, self-learning, and literacy tools available to all and to help others recover the freedoms stolen from them by white supremacy through activism centering Black liberation and trans rights. Borucki lives with her family in her native state, New Jersey.

Show Notes

Lesley explores Rebekah’s journey from confronting the limitations of traditional publishing to establishing Row House Publishing. Discover how community support played a crucial role in her fundraising efforts, enabling the launch of initiatives like the Little Readers Big Change Initiative, which brings literacy resources to under-resourced schools. This episode highlights the importance of reciprocal relationships within the community, diversity, and the impact of equitable profit-sharing models in fostering a fair publishing environment.

If you have any questions about this episode or want to get some of the resources we mentioned, head over to LesleyLogan.co/podcast. If you have any comments or questions about the Be It pod shoot us a message at [email protected].

And as always, if you’re enjoying the show please share it with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. It is your continued support that will help us continue to help others. Thank you so much! Never miss another show by subscribing at LesleyLogan.co/subscribe.

In this episode you will learn about:

  • Rebekah’s decision to leave a traditional publishing house due to its lack of diversity.
  • The role of community support and the power of small donations in achieving big dreams.
  • The strategic decisions behind the equitable profit-sharing model at Row House Publishing designed to disrupt traditional publishing norms.
  • The importance of being actively involved in your community and how collective efforts can fuel significant change.
  • The significance of not just giving to but also receiving from your community.

Episode References/Links:

Transcript

Rebekah Borucki: I am a kid and I love writing for the little girl that was me that didn’t have access to even hugs most days. So, you know, I’m sticking with this. If I could work in the children’s space all the time, I love my authors. I love all of my authors at Hay House, but if I could just like hire another president and be in the children’s space, I, 100% would.

—-

INTRODUCTION

Lesley Logan
Welcome to the Be It Till You See It podcast where we talk about taking messy action, knowing that perfect is boring. I’m Lesley Logan, Pilates instructor and fitness business coach. I’ve trained thousands of people around the world and the number one thing I see stopping people from achieving anything is self-doubt. My friends, action brings clarity and it’s the antidote to fear. Each week, my guest will bring bold, executable, intrinsic and targeted steps that you can use to put yourself first and Be It Till You See It. It’s a practice, not a perfect. Let’s get started.

—-

Lesley Logan 1:06
Hi, Be It babe. Okay, get ready. Get ready. So our guest today is Rebekah Borucki. She is the founder of Row House Publishing. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. What an incredible story. What an incredible journey. What an incredible life she is living. And I am so grateful Roxy, for you making this massive connection. I am in awe of what Rebekah is doing and also like her ability to share that and also give you options. So we’re going to talk a little bit about activism here, we’re going to talk about her being going growing up and then becoming an author, a published author, and then switching from a publishing (inaudible) into owning her own and starting your own and then really taking care of authors. And then also the work she’s doing for her children, K through 12 for reading, and I’m just you’re gonna be fired up, I’m fired up, there is information on how to support her publishing company, there’s also a, I’m going to put some in the show notes and with the charities that like little readers that you can have, you can donate to, because it is called littlereadersbigchange.com. So we’ll make sure that all those things are in there. If you’re wondering like, a little bit why this matters, I can tell you right now that because my mom made sure that during my year of kindergarten, she read to me 500 books, that my ability to dream, be creative. kind of go outside with the world today and think of something that could possibly happen and then make that happen is because of books. And I took a lot of years off of reading. And then I recently started reading again, and not reading. I’ve read a lot of books or just mostly workbooks, but like reading some months, some fiction and like just some other stuff. And I’m a ferocious reader. I love it. And I think it is important for children of all ages everywhere to see themselves in books out there. And so Rebekah Borucki is making that happen. She’s one of many people and I’m so honored to share her with you today. So take a listen. And if you can support her publishing company or Little Reader Big change in any way, please do and we’re going to look at those Be It Action Items. They’re brilliant, they’re amazing, and they’re going to support you. Here is Rebekah Borucki.

Lesley Logan 3:20
All right, Be It babe. Welcome to the podcast. I’m so excited for today’s guest she has a connection with a dear friend who’s also been on the show Roxy Menzies and so we have Rebekah Borucki here today she is a self-published author which is just I think it’s interesting we have to even identify between self-published and like published, republish because writing a book, and you’re both. Okay, so she’s hyphenated. She’s a multifaceted author of children’s books and I’m so excited to have you here, Rebekah, will you tell us who you are and what you rock at?

Rebekah Borucki 3:49
Okay, well, I’m Rebekah, who introduced me and got my name, right. That’s awesome. Pronouns are she/they. I am the president and founder of Row House Publishing, also, Wheat Penny Press, which preceded Row House, which was the children’s publishing house. And then also the Little Readers Big Change Initiative, which is our nonprofit that provides literacy, or literacy resources and books and author visits to K-12 schools in under-resourced districts. And we also support black-owned indie bookstores and black and brown creators. So we do a lot. I do a lot.

Lesley Logan 4:22
You do a lot.

Rebekah Borucki 4:24
I have five kids, I can’t forget them. That’s my most important job and one grandbaby. So.

Lesley Logan 4:29
Oh my God, you don’t look old enough to have a grandbaby and also when you said five kids for a split second, I thought you were joking. Like just saying I do all this and I have five kids, but then it’s like, no, no, she’s really, it’s five kids. Okay. I feel like we have to go back a little bit like was it always a dream of yours to be an author? Was this something you fell into? I also, you know, I think it’s amazing what you’re doing for readers of schools, like I grew up, my, thank goodness, my mom made sure I read I think it changed my life. You know, so can you tell me how this, where do we begin?

Rebekah Borucki 5:02
So, my parents didn’t make sure I read at all. I grew up in a lower middle class or not middle class, I’m sorry, lower middle, or working class, working class family, in a very small working class town, lived under the poverty line, my entire pre-adult life, really struggled with food insecurity, all that stuff. So it was really a matter of just survival. But I loved school. And I love to write, I absolutely did not dream of becoming a writer because I didn’t think that was even something you could do for a living. And I had a teacher, Glenda Autry. She was my first black teacher in middle school, I’m mixed race. And so she kind of like took all like the black and brown girls under her wing. And there was one report card, she wrote a note home. And I still have the note, and said, Rebekah’s writing is beautiful. I can’t wait to read one of her books one day. And it was just like that glimmer of, oh, that’s something that I can do. And people think I could do that set me not on a path to writing but set me on a path to explore my creativity. Even on the side, I was a teen mom, I had three kids before I was 25. So there were a lot of obstacles in me going my own way. But I’m also completely unemployable. I’m autistic, I hate being outside, I don’t do well in front of crowds of people. So I had to kind of make up my own way. And I hustled and created a platform, a wellness platform, I was doing yoga and meditation for a really long time. I was published with Hay House, two books with Hay House. Long story short, they’re super racist and exclusive over there. So I had to leave in 2020 and start my own publishing house, knowing nothing about publishing.

Lesley Logan 6:46
And so that’s what I’m looking in the back of your office Row House Publishing that’s you. That’s yeah, that’s gosh, okay. So, um, wow, I, your teacher, like, I almost had tears in my eyes. But you’re really, really like reliving that moment. So beautiful. It’s amazing, I think, how like something that probably how could she know like, how impactful that could have been? I mean, maybe she did, but also like, you know, I think of like, maybe some of the teacher’s notes I got home and very few of my kept like, that’s kind of that’s really powerful. I also think it’s really difficult for someone to leave something that (in air quotes) “to secure” a publishing house like that. What was, do you mind sharing? Like, was it an easy decision? Did you have to, like, really think about it like, because I just wonder like, some people just like, I had to do it. And other people, I’m like, well, you know, like, especially my life I grew up with, I wasn’t impoverished that much as like that as low as your situation was. But we were just above that, right? So we were just enough that we couldn’t get any of the extra help. And so, for a long time, people know who was in the podcast, we don’t, I don’t answer my phone, because I think it’s bill collector, like, I’m so conditioned to like, screening the call.

Rebekah Borucki 7:56
Same. Every time I go to the grocery line, I have my debit card, I’m like, do I have enough in the bank, like I totally do, and it’s gonna be scary for the rest of my life.

Lesley Logan 8:03
Right. So I mean, like, people don’t realize, like, I was a little girl, like at the age of 11, I can’t believe the world let you do this. But at age 11, I would take a check and write it for more. That’s what my parents taught me to write it for more, because then you’ll get the cash and then fingers crossed. It’s when there’s money in the bank, and no one bounces a check at the grocery store, like, so I do understand that. So I guess like when I hear things like where you stand up for something that’s so much you believe in but also is like a livelihood for you. I guess I just wonder what that decision felt like.

Rebekah Borucki 8:36
I don’t know if it’s a cultural differences. But the way I was raised, my parents were activists in their own way they were pacifist, they were adamantly anti-war in any circumstance. So I grew up with this sense of it is up to us to stand up and say something. And also, it’s up to us to share and redistribute wealth, we had nothing, and we were constantly giving. So that’s just, I don’t know if it was a cultural thing. It’s definitely something that is in black and brown communities, all marginalized communities because there was no other way to survive than to help another. So when I saw that, you know, I’m the brownest person in the room. And I said that to the CEO. And his response is, well, you have to understand, Rebekah, that we cater to an affluent audience. I knew that not only did my people not belong there, but I didn’t belong there. And it just became unacceptable for me, who already walked through the world with a lot of light-skinned privilege, you know, skin privilege, like all the things that I navigate white spaces really well, like, it just felt completely gross for me to continue to benefit from this system. And if I thought about it, I don’t know if I would have made the decision so quickly. I didn’t really think about it. It’s kind of like, oh, that’s your answer. You know, you’re not gonna do anything. And it was in the middle of a meeting actually to discuss why they weren’t addressing that five of the 12 disinformation dozen, the 12 people online that were responsible for most of the misinformation and disinformation around COVID. Five of those people were their authors. And it was in a meeting to discuss, like, why you’re not saying anything? Or Why aren’t you coming out with a stance? And why aren’t you talking about the uprisings happening all over the United States and Black Lives Matter and whatever. And their resistance refusal to take accountability or to say that they have the power to do something was just like, I was like, I gotta go. My agent was sitting there like, I don’t know what she did. She didn’t know that was gonna happen. And she’s this like, amazing white lady from New York powerhouse, beautiful literary agent, had no idea really what I was saying, but was there for me. Yeah, I just, I just left and I wasn’t planning on starting my own publishing house, my former editor and then good friend, Kristen McGuiness texted me late I think it was a Monday night, and she said, you know, why don’t you just start your own Hay House. And I, in my infinite wisdom and spunk said, “Sure. Why not? Let’s call it Bay House.” That was, that’s how it happened. That was (inaudible) 2020. In November we had the name registered, in February, we launched online with a fundraiser and we started, we raised 10,000, or not 10,000. We raised $100,000, in the first 10 days. So people wanted it.

Lesley Logan 11:32
Yeah. Okay. Can you tell okay, and maybe we can go on to other tangent to this note you want to talk about, but like, I guess, like starting a publishing house, that is not an easy thing to do. You do need money. That’s how that’s why publisher like publishers have the money (inaudible).

Rebekah Borucki 11:49
We needed the money. And this was very interesting for me, because I was very familiar with fundraising in terms of mutual aid, where it’s just like direct giving to people who need, it paying people’s electric bills. That was my whole life. And it was definitely something that I was engaged in as an activist at that time. But you know, so going out and asking for money wasn’t a hard thing for me. But the scale, like we needed to raise, we thought we needed to raise $800,000, we ended up blowing past that raising 1.2 million, and these were small money donations, like this was $5, $20, $100. Because that’s how we do, right, in this community. And, you know, we hit that mark, I didn’t realize I didn’t know the historic value of this. Only 150 women to date, right now, 150 black women have raised more than a million dollars from venture capital. So it just doesn’t happen at all. Don’t raise as much money. And so going in blindly, kind of helped me I didn’t know how hard it was going to be. I didn’t know the obstacles that were ahead. But

Rebekah Borucki 12:53
Which was probably better. (Inaudible)

Rebekah Borucki 12:58
So one, one of my mentors, a black man, black executive in finance, he said, like, look, this isn’t going to be a matter of you going into rooms and then saying, so how much money we’re gonna make together. It’s going to be people asking you how you’re not going to lose my money, because of where you come from, because of who you are what you are. And that was demoralizing. That was hard. But yeah (inaudible).

Lesley Logan 13:27
That stings. I think like I had, maybe a year ago, I had a woman on who was in tech and financing and she like, was one of the few women who’s in the rooms like with where the money is raised. And her whole thing is like, there’s not, there’s not that many women in general getting money from venture capital. And then she’s like, and then you go, and you break it out by color. And it’s like, it’s just not even close. There’s there’s not even like a way to go, how do we bridge this? Make it, like, it’s not going to be fair.

Rebekah Borucki 13:56
(Inaudible) Like on the graph, like you can’t even see it? And yes, that’s a problem. But what I know, as someone, you know, with, that’s in the black community, there’s a way so it was really just being completely transparent. This is what we need. This is what we plan to do. This is how we’re different. This is how we’re, it’s for us and by us. And so we rally that ground support that there’s a ground support from my community, my close community, but it was also 2021 when people really wanted to be good. And so there was a lot of, we capitalize a lot on that that week of 2020. You know, that was unfair, like horrible, horrific, but at least some black folks brown folks were able to kind of get a foothold start their careers and have their voices amplified.

Lesley Logan 14:49
So your publishing house is it specifically for black and brown authors. Like what do you guys focus on? Is it for everyone is it for like?

Rebekah Borucki 14:56
It’s for everyone, all genres. We have five imprints now. So it’s children’s, it’s romance, it’s YA. So many beautiful, beautiful books, beautiful people. The requirements to get published with us are, one of our imprints, are one you’re writing through the lens of social justice. And this can be done through fiction, anything. It’s disability justice, it’s black and brown civil rights, it’s all of that. So you have to be writing through the lens of social justice, you have to either be starting a conversation or expanding on a conversation in a way that has not been heard yet. So that’s kind of easy to do when you’re going into the margins to find stories because these voices just aren’t being honored. They’re not being amplified. So we have these incredible books that are New York Times bestsellers, one hit number one on the New York Times children’s list, which is impossible, beating up Eric Carle, it’s bananas. These are black, brown, queer, disabled authors that were not being looked at by anybody. And it’s like, where did they come from? It’s like we’ve been here. (Inaudible)

Lesley Logan 16:08
Okay. Like, because I’ve, I have a lot of, have interviewed a lot of people who are authors and I know what it’s like. And then I have some friends who publish and the amount of effort they do to be a bestseller. It’s insane. So just congratulations, and so much awe and so excited. You’ve mentioned children’s books, and I have, like, I really love, I love that there are more children’s books out there today than I felt like when I was a child that are a little bit that show off more things than everybody poops. And you know, like in the Velveteen Rabbit, what made you (inaudible) which is why is it a children’s book, it’s so sad. My mom is in tears reading it to me. And I’m like, why? Before we got to the sad part.

Rebekah Borucki 16:52
Can I tell you something now? The Velveteen Rabbit is actually my favorite children’s book, I have so many different editions of it. And I have the fairy tattooed on my back.

Lesley Logan 17:00
Do you really?

Rebekah Borucki 17:02
Which is an unfortunate residual thing from my teen years. However, though, I do. I do love that book so much but there are there are better books, there’s books that are teaching our kids things to really prepare them for the world and prepare them to be really awesome people. So I’m really excited about the new wave in transliteracy literature.

Lesley Logan 17:24
There’s a really cool area in town where I love to shop, it’s all small business owners, there’s actually a, I want to say, a 14-year-old who owns a store there, I’ll send you her stuff, you’ll, you will love her store. And it’s all about social activism for children. Like it’s freakin cool. So but I buy children’s books from all of these places, because they show off different types of people, different types of children, and I give to all my nieces and nephews. And I swear, my family thinks I’m like this, like, why don’t you just get them a coloring book? And I’m like, no, I don’t know what their school is like, I don’t know what they’re being exposed to. They need to be exposed to different people. And so I think it’s really cool that these books exist in the first place. What made you want to write children’s books over like, was that the first book you wrote? I don’t, so sorry if I don’t know the history of that.

Rebekah Borucki 18:06
So no, that’s fine. The first book I wrote was a book about accessible meditation called You Have Four Minutes To Change Your Life. I grew up without health care, I was going to a lot of state-run medical facilities. And it was just really hard for me to be able to access especially the mental health care I needed as a kid. So keeping that in mind, and then getting older and doing my yoga training and teaching yoga and teaching meditation in New York City and seeing who was in the room and seeing how much people were being charged. I’m like, first of all, meditation is like, it’s free. Like you can do it anywhere. I had been practicing everyday since I was 15 years old. I knew what it had done for me. And I was like, so how do I get this to more people? How do I make this more accessible. And I was working on that on my platform with these little four minute meditation videos, I was getting messages from soldiers who had PTSD saying this is the first time I was able to sit still and close my eyes and feel safe. So that all kind of evolved into wanting to make things accessible for adults wanting to make things accessible for neurodivergent and disabled folks. And then oh, well, kids, and I have kids and I as an autistic person who struggles very much with reading long form books, even though I’m a publisher, I struggle with reading. I love picture books. So my first attempt, I went and took some classes at a local community college, and I wrote this really terrible story that had 2000 words. It was way too many I read it to my kids’ second grade class and they were like we like it but they were falling asleep in the middle. I got their feedback, workshopped it with the seven-year-old and came up with Zara’s Big Messy Day, which is a book about mental health, about anxiety, about self-regulation, about meditation and breathing and it can kind of just blew up. No publisher wanted it Hay House didn’t want it. We shopped it around to five others same response. We don’t want it. We don’t want it. That was my intro to self-publishing. So it was after I already had two books published that I decided, okay, let me try this myself, super hard, learned a lot. The book hit. And now it’s part of the second-grade curriculum of the largest online K-12 school in America. It is definitely the book that built Row House, made a lot of our bills in the beginning and there’s three more, there’s three more titles after that. I love kids. I am a kid.

Lesley Logan 20:37
And I’m glad to hear you (inaudible) I’m just so glad you love them.

Rebekah Borucki 20:40
Yeah, I love I love them. I have them. I love kids. I am a kid. And I love writing for the little girl that was me that didn’t have access to even hugs most days. So you know, I’m sticking with this. If I can work in the children’s space all the time. I love my authors. I love all of my authors at Hay House. But if I could just like hire another president and be in the children’s space, I, 100% would (inaudible).

Lesley Logan 21:06
Well, you know what? I think we can manifest that I think and we can make it reality. I think like there’s it’s a little bit more money. And you can because and I say it, I say that not as a joke. I say it with seriousness like I built my businesses and I hated being the CEO. Like I just wanted to be with my members. I just wanted to be in creation mode. And it was it’s, it was actually in 2020 when I met this woman, she said, well, you and Brad like, let’s just see what you guys, what your strengths are. And his strength is being the entrepreneur, it’s being the CEO, it’s being the person, he’s literally in a meeting right now that he’s like are you going to join us and I’m like in zero, no, I don’t. Here are my thoughts, okay. And it was the hardest thing we ever did. Because obviously, that year, everything in our business changed like everyone else’s lives. But I was able to rewrite a new job description for myself, my own company. And in this time, as we’re talking right now, I’m working on a new job description, because I’m able to like even offload even more of those things. So I just say that, and I really want that for you. And I really believe it’s possible that there could be a new president and you can be in charge of children’s.

Rebekah Borucki 22:18
It’s 100% possible, it’s in the plan, I think that that’s where I thrive, it’s where I need to be. It’s where my advocacy feels best. I love going into schools, I do that very often, I’m reading to the kids. And I get to have that opportunity to look at this, you know, most of the schools, it’s going to be predominantly black and brown, sometimes predominantly Spanish speaking, we go to Baltimore, North Jersey, Philly, Camden. And when I go into these schools, I know that they haven’t seen someone that looks like them, that talks like them, that’s from where they from, where they’re from. And for me, I’ll say this, for so many people that are going into these schools, it’s about charity, it’s about charity, and it’s about feeling good about themselves. They love the kids, they want to help the kids totally, but it’s different. It’s a different energy. When you look at these kids like your family, like, these are my kids. These are my cousins. They’re like my little nieces and nephews, they’re from the hood just like me. And I don’t need to teach them how to write. I don’t need to tell them like the path to success. I just need to say like, this is possible, like my teacher did for me. And now all these kids, like, send me thank you notes or their little stories and tell me they want to be like authors. It’s freaking rad. I love it so much.

Lesley Logan 23:31
That’s so cool. That’s so cool that so many of them can think that that’s a possibility. Like you said in your story.

Rebekah Borucki 23:36
All it takes, it’s all it takes really, for so many kids, it’s just to say that it’s possible. And I’ll say that when we were starting Row House, and people that have become my good friends who were brought in to kind of mentor us or guide us very successful women in publishing. One said, like, look, I don’t think that you girls are ambitious, necessarily. I think that what you’re trying to do is impossible. Like it can’t work. And my co-founder was a white woman from Northern California. Definitely had her own share of hardship in her life, but felt very defeated. After I called her she was like, oh my gosh, what are we gonna do? (Inaudible) Like, I’m a high school dropout. I’m a teen mom, I’ve hustled all my life. It’s fine. It’s fine. And it’s really about, the people who think is impossible lack the imagination or the experience to understand what can be it’s like they haven’t seen it, so they don’t think it can be done.

Lesley Logan 24:40
Yeah. And I think like it’s an interesting word, impossible, because I think for some people, like I think there’s some parts of my life if someone told me this thing was impossible, I would like figure out a way to show them how it is like that. There was like some parts of that. And then there are some things that if I’d heard that word, it might have taken me a while to pick myself back up off the ground again. So I think it’s such an interesting word, it can fire you up, and it can also defeat you. But I feel like I’m also the person like who has the right to tell you something’s impossible but you like, that’s like kind of, I don’t know, maybe I don’t know where I learned that. That’s an interesting thing. But I think it’s so cool that you and your business partner had each other like to kind of do this together because it’s not doing anything like it’s not easy. You need multiple people to support things, but also that she had you to be like, hey, like, I feel like

Rebekah Borucki 25:29
We shook each other. That was (inaudible) here. And, and she really only came in as a co-founder for the beginning stages. She didn’t even want to be part of the company. She’s like, let me help you and then bounce. So she’s no longer, she’s still alive but she’s no longer with Row House. I love her very much, went on to start her own project, Rise Books, and but yeah, we needed each other and that sisterhood, that community, that’s everything that Row House is about, it’s called Row House, because I grew up in a brick attached, two-bedroom, one-bathroom house with a big family with people coming in and out, you know, like picking up the street kid, and he’s living with us for a while, who ended up being my brother in law, my sister and he had been married for (inaudible) years. So this is like just these are my people. This is where I come from. And I know that people who have not walked in my shoes can’t understand my motivation, my drive, and they don’t have my ancestors. Like, I’m always thinking about the ancestors. I’m thinking about both my parents who died seven months apart in 2013. And I saw them die with so many dreams unrealized. And you have to at some point, just be like, fuck it, like, if not me, who and also like, if I don’t do this, for what, we all end up in the same place. I don’t know when my time is coming. I’m just going to be bold.

Lesley Logan 26:44
So okay, you mentioned at the beginning that you’re doing this work to also make sure that there’s like, books for children in K through 12 for there’s not access? Can you talk to me about how like, is that from the publishing company is at a different organization where you are, like, helping get books in their hands? How long have you been doing that? And how did that start? Because that is why I’m asking this is like, I know a lot of our listeners have these big, bold dreams. And there’s a lot of other things like paying their bills and putting food on the table and all that stuff. So that (inaudible) you know, so how did what was the timeline and how is that how did that start, because it’s such an incredible dream to come to fruition. And it has an impact to so many.

Rebekah Borucki 27:25
So, like I was saying before, no matter what I have, I’m sharing. That’s just the, you know, the ethos that I live by, you must share, like, that’s what we’re supposed to do. And, you know, my parents taught me and believed quite literally, that every human being were siblings on this planet. So we have to be for the stranger as much as we are for the people that live in our house. So when I started fundraising for self-publishing Zara, it was how do I make this happen, but also benefit other people because I have this vehicle to be able to bring in this money. So we had people buying books for classrooms, we took a portion to make sure that people got kids, I think that first campaign, we were able to donate like 1000 books. Now, that was 2018 or ’19, 2019. And since then, we’ve donated over 20,000 books to different organizations and schools. It’s just a matter of when we get them, they also go out the door. And we have a nonprofit that allows us to do that more easily. The ease really comes from people wanting the tax write-off, so we’re getting big donations, and they can benefit from that too.

Lesley Logan 28:42
Oh, hey, you know what? These billionaires get tax write-offs, people take advantage of the tax write-offs and give it to places like your nonprofit, because it’s gonna get better impact.

Rebekah Borucki 28:54
I told my accountant every day, please give me the Jeff Bezo’s plan. My people came over here enslaved and as indentured servants from Scotland. I don’t (inaudible), I’m good. But it’s kind so I’m not for anybody like wanting to save money. However, I will say that the majority of people who ask if there’s a way that they can get a tax credit, are coming from millionaires and confirmed billionaires. It’s not like the 20 here, the 100 here, some people send thousands of dollars. They’re coming from single moms, people that are saying like, this is all I have, and I want you to have it. It’s really beautiful to be reminded of who actually drives change, and is actually here, you know, for each other.

Lesley Logan 29:43
I mean, it really is like, going back to impossible, like when you look when you think about different problems that are out there. And I also then look at the people who live in the communities that’s the communities that really make the biggest impacts and change, you know? Okay, so I want to know what you’re excited about right now? Like, what are you, what is your, what are your mission-driven? values like what’s going on this year that we can put out into the world and our listeners can support you or can just cheer you on? Like, what can we, how can we make the world a better place because you’re in it?

Rebekah Borucki 30:15
So I want to tell you what we’re doing with Row House specifically. Row House, what we do that’s very different is that we are an equitable publishing model. So we’re going into the margins, and we’re lifting up these voices, but also we’re paying them. So every Row House author has a $40,000 advance its standard, and then they get 40% net profit share, which is about four times industry average, we pay our authors, we pay our creators, it means that I make less and that is okay, right, I don’t need to be making $3 million a year, not that I could pay myself that yet. So we have a lot of systems within the company that disallow for big gaps in wealth distribution, like everyone is making a fair wage, we even pay our interns we started $25 an hour, like that’s what we do. So it’s important work that we’re doing to actually put money into the pockets of people that deserve it. And most recently, and this is what I’m fired up about, but not happy about most recently, because of our politics and our values, we had a major funder pull $500,000 out of the company. So as we speak right now, in this moment, I am emergency fundraising. And I’ve been in meetings all day. And I will continue for however long it takes to make up that gap. And I’m excited about it. Because what has happened over the past 24 hours that this all came to ahead, I have seen the most incredible amount of support come up from our community. I’ve seen black women who have never received a dime for reparations show up for me in a way, showcasing us, amplifying, spotlighting us on their platforms, and then also contributing from the pocketbooks. It’s just a good reminder of who, who really matters in my life. And it’s a reminder that community really works. So that’s what’s happening. I’m fired up about inequity, but we’re taking care of it.

Lesley Logan 32:16
Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. I think it’s so I think it’s important for people listening to know that like, even when you overcome what was considered the impossible, and you’re doing all these things, that there’s still massive obstacles. And yeah.

Rebekah Borucki 32:31
It’s scary. It’s scary that the people in power, and you know, no matter how good you are, how smart you are, how, you know, smart and business savvy, and all those other good things that I, you know, I speak well, I can go into rooms, I can entertain, that there’s still so many people in power, you know, holding the strings, and if they’ll cut you off at any moment. So it’s really super important for me to stress that more black women need to be in charge. Ownership needs to be put into the hands of marginalized people just because they know how to get things done. There’s a level of empathy and compassion. There’s just not enough leadership. There’s not enough female leadership. There’s not enough black and brown disabled queer leadership. And when that shifts, everything’s gonna shift for everybody. Everybody.

Lesley Logan 33:29
Well, I really like (inaudible) seriously, as we’re like, recording this podcast, how much we’ve all had to like, listen to going on. I want that sooner than I would love to happen yesterday, you know, so will you do me a favor? Can you just tell us where our listeners if they wanted to support Row House, how they can do that? Is that a possibility? Is that an ongoing thing? Or is it just right now, because I would love to (inaudible).

Rebekah Borucki 33:55
It’s an ongoing thing. It’s an ongoing, it’s easy, it’s supportrowhouse.com, supportrowhouse.com Those are our GoFundMe. If you go to rowhousepublishing.com, you can find opportunities to invest for as little as $300. You can buy our books, which is awesome, every day. So there’s so many ways to support and I also say that, that sharing is also currency. So tell people about us tell people you know who you’re talking to, or what they can do. So just keep spreading the word about our house and our authors. That’s just, that’s amazing, too.

Lesley Logan 34:28
Thank you for bringing up all those different options. Because I do tell people like look, if you don’t have any money to do things, like you can also just share you know, like if you for people who listen to podcast, writing a review is currency for podcast hosts, and for a publishing house buying their book that is asking for that book to be existing at the library. If it’s not there, like those kinds of things can help because it’s, there’s always an option if we’re supporting if whether wherever your resources are, and I think that’s really important. So thank you for sharing that. You’re incredible. You’re just you’re I could I want to, I’m so grateful that we get to highlight you and I also got to learn from you because what you are doing in this world is nothing short of amazing and it’s wildly needed. In this moment.

Rebekah Borucki 35:11
I’ve a lot of help from my friends, I have a lot of help. We don’t do any (inaudible).

Lesley Logan 35:16
And also, like, thank you for sharing that too, because it’s not fun alone. It’s so like, it’s if you’re gonna go through this life with ups and downs and obstacles, you’ve got to have people in it who are willing to like fight those fights with you. So thank you. Okay, we’re gonna take a very brief break, and then we’re gonna find out how people can find you follow you and we got the support already. We’ll do that again. And then your Be It Action Items for our listeners.

Lesley Logan 35:36
Okay, Rebekah, any other ways people can find you, follow you, connect with you, support you?

Rebekah Borucki 35:42
We are @RowHousePub everywhere on social media. It’s where we talk about not only our books, we talked about other authors’ books, we talk about different missions and different causes that you can become involved in. We are an activist platform, we are an activist business that wears our politics and our values on our sleeve. We all don’t agree on all the things but everyone at Row House is there with a huge heart and a spirit of community. So yeah, just find us online, we’re there hanging out.

Lesley Logan 36:10
Perfect. Okay, last thing, bold, executable, intrinsic targeted steps people can take to be it till they see it. What do you have for us?

Rebekah Borucki 36:18
Be it till you see it. Well, first of all, I tell all of my authors, but this works with anything, as soon as you have a dream or an idea, start talking about it. Don’t wait until it’s good. Don’t wait until you have like the perfect presentation. But seriously, the moment I thought about writing a children’s book, I went online and said, I’m writing a children’s book, it’s gonna come out on this date. And then that was enlisting accountability partners. So that’s something to definitely do. And then I don’t know if this is a direct route to be it in theater (inaudible). But be in community, which means on any level, whether it’s volunteering to be a Girl Scout leader, which I was, or being involved in your church, be in community with others be in the practice of giving, but also receiving, because that’s what makes it community that back and forth, build those relationships, those are the ones that will sustain you mentally, they can sustain you financially if you need it. But always be in community. I think it’s great for you know, all levels of health and well being definitely, definitely important. And it puts you in the spirit of feeling like you’re doing good, even if you don’t feel like you’re doing enough, which is wrong. And then I’m always encouraging people to advocate and to be an activist in your own way. I believe. Just like there are as many ways to meditate as there are people on this planet. There’s so many ways to be an activist, we have a children’s book coming out called Stand Up. And it’s about people who are disabled in wheelchairs and how they’re activists and people who kneel to stand up in activism. And there are so many ways to do and be good in your community. And just identify that for yourself. Don’t compare your activism or advocacy with anybody else. But just do something lovely for somebody else every single day, please. And yourself, someone else and yourself everyday.

Lesley Logan 38:13
Beautiful.

Rebekah Borucki 38:13
And I hope it was specific enough.

Lesley Logan 38:16
It’s specific, I’m in love. I’m so grateful this happened today. You are wonderful. I’m so grateful. All right, and thank you Roxy for allowing us to have a special moment we are so like, I’m just honored. Y’all, how are you going to use these tips in your life? Let us know. Tag Row House Publishing, tag the Be It Pod, share this podcast with a friend if you got a friend who wants to write a book, and it’s going to fall in line with that Row House stuff you got to send them this so they can see that there’s a place out there for them you know, I mean, I think it’s incredible. So everyone have an amazing day until next time, Be It Till You See It.

Lesley Logan
That’s all I’ve got for this episode of the Be It Till You See It podcast. One thing that would help both myself and future listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a review. And, follow or subscribe for free wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to introduce yourself over on IG at the @be_it_pod on Instagram. I would love to know more about you. Share this episode with whoever you think needs to hear it. Help us help others to BE IT TILL YOU SEE IT. Have an awesome day!

Lesley Logan
‘Be It Till You See It’ is a production of The Bloom Podcast Network. If you want to leave us a message or a question that we might read on another episode, you can text us at +1-310-905-5534 or send a DM on Instagram @be_it_pod.

Brad Crowell
It’s written, filmed and recorded by your host, Lesley Logan and me, Brad Crowell.

Lesley Logan
It is transcribed, produced and edited by the epic team at Disenyo.co.

Brad Crowell
Our theme music is by Ali at APEX Production Music and our branding by designer and artist Gianfranco Cioffi.

Lesley Logan
Special thanks to Melissa Solomon for creating our visuals.

Brad Crowell
Also to Angelina Herico for adding all of our content to our website. And finally to Meridith Root for keeping us all on point and on time.

Pod Social Media

More Episodes

Join

Stay Current on Podcasts

& Advice!

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.