NextShark is proud to announce a landmark partnership with Third State Books (TSB), a visionary publishing start-up poised to transform the literary landscape for Asian American voices. This collaboration heralds a new era of representation, where stories from the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community are not just included, but celebrated.
TSB is the very first general-interest publisher dedicated exclusively to Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander writers and narratives, addressing a significant gap in a market ripe for change. "At Third State Books, we want to showcase a broader range of stories representing our community's lived experiences than what we've typically seen come out of the traditional publishing industry," says Third State Books CEO Stephanie Lim. “Representation matters, and we are publishing universally relevant stories from an unapologetically AANHPI point of view.” With over 30 million AANHPIs in North America, the demand for stories that reflect their diverse experiences is greater than ever.
Co-founded by Lim, a former e-commerce and digital marketing executive, and publishing industry veteran Charles Kim, TSB is set to challenge the status quo of an industry that has traditionally been a bastion of white supremacy. "80+% of publishing— from agents and editors and executives to sales reps, book reviewers, publicists, librarians and booksellers—is white," Kim, President of TSB, points out. "Our mission is to create a space where AANHPI writers will never need to compromise their voice in order to be successful in such a homogeneous industry."
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TSB's mission goes beyond just publishing books for adults and children; it's about rewriting the narrative to better represent the totality of the Asian American experience.
Lim emphasizes the need to shift from “deficit” narratives to “asset” narratives. “When a writer of color plugs into a system that has no cultural frame of reference for where they are coming from, it can lead to downplaying certain aspects of our culture while exoticizing others,” Lim says. “We want to see more stories where we and our kids get to be the main character, the hero going on an adventure, or just living our lives without having to apologize for, or over-explain, who we are.”
With a strategic approach that allocates significant resources to marketing and publicity, TSB is also focused on building a community of readers. “Lost in the discussions about Asian American representation in publishing is Asian American readers,” Kim points out. “Our community’s needs go unnoticed in the current publishing landscape. We at Third State aim to address that gap.” In partnership with NextShark, they plan to engage with AANHPI communities through targeted campaigns, creating a buzz that resonates with readers and authors alike. And with book distribution handled by Publishers Group West/Ingram, the largest independent book distributor in the world, which sells to more than 45,000 retailers across the United States and Canada, TSB’s books will be available to Asian American readers wherever they are.
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This partnership stands as a beacon of hope and a call to action that the AANHPI community has long needed. It's a commitment to ensure that the fastest-growing ethnic group in America sees themselves in the stories that shape our world.
“For the first time, Asian American readers will have books that they have been craving— books in which they can see themselves, their loved ones, and their lives reflected in an authentic way,” Kim says.
Benny Luo, NextShark founder and CEO, voiced his optimism of the collaboration by saying, “I’m thrilled about our collaboration with Third State Books. As NextShark has championed the Stop Asian Hate movement, the need for a narrative shift in our community has become clear. This partnership is more than a union; it’s our commitment to amplifying diverse voices and experiences through stories that naturally highlight Asian American characters.”
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The first titles under TSB are already ready for launch in 2024 – check out the sneak peek below:
Fighting to Belong! Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander History from the 1700s Through the 1800s by Amy Chu and Alexander Chang, co-published with The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) and Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH) and produced in collaboration with the Asian American Education Project. It shares the history of AANHPIs in the U.S. in an accessible and engaging comic book format aimed at children aged 8-13. In Volume I, the first in a three-part series, our middle school protagonists and their guide Kenji embark on an amazing journey through time to observe key events in AANHPI history, from the arrival of the “Manilamen” in Louisiana in the 18th century to the end of the 19th century. Volumes II and III will be released in September 2024 and January 2025, respectively, and will cover AANHPI historical events and figures from the 20th century to the present day. Amy Chu is a renowned comic book writer who has written for Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse, and was the first woman to write for The Green Hornet and Deadpool series. (February 2024, available for pre-order!)
Pride and Preston Lin by Christina Hwang Dudley is a lighthearted, witty adult romance adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, featuring AAPI characters in the modern-day SF Bay Area. (March 2024, available for pre-order!)
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What in the World Is Ezra’s Art? by Shay Fan and Eric Toda is a children’s picture book about a boy who loves to create art, even though the people around him may not quite understand what it is. (May 2024)
Edison by Pallavi Sharma Dixit is a debut novel of love and ambition inspired by Bollywood films and set in the Indian American immigrant community of Edison, New Jersey. (June 2024)
Amplify! My Fight for Asian America by Emmy Award–winning news anchor Dion Lim is the first nonfiction book to chronicle the rise of AAPI hate, and the Asian American community’s activation, during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. (September 2024)
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L.A. Coroner by Anne Soon Choi, a true-crime biography of Dr. Thomas Noguchi, a Japanese immigrant who served as Chief Medical Examiner for Los Angeles County from the 1960s to the early 1980s and performed the autopsies of Marilyn Monroe, Robert F. Kennedy and Natalie Wood, among many other high-profile cases. (November 2024)
Together, NextShark and Third State Books will turn the page on an industry desperate for authentic representation of the richness and diversity of our community. Learn more about TSB by visiting their website and following them on Instagram!
This post was created in partnership with NextShark and Third State Books.