What’s a Rainbow Crate Book Box?
Check out George’s post to find out what’s inside one of these monthly boxes of fun.
“the suspense of a package in the mail and the surprise is always fun.”
How it all began.
ANF: Your website shares the gist of why you and co-owner Jamie Lynn Lano conceived of Rainbow Crate Books in 2019. What were some of the titles that inspired your interest in the LBGQT genre, and fueled your desire to start Rainbow Crate?
Danielle Chambers: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater was the biggest reason we connected, so I’d say it was probably the biggest inspiration for us. We met on tumblr in The Raven Cycle fandom and started chatting about book boxes. They were great, but we wished there was more focus on queer books. We had seen a lot of boxes make The Raven Cycle merchandise, but none were inspired by a queer couple. After talking and joking about making our own box so we could feature queer books and items we wanted, we just took the leap and did it.
What is the Rainbow Crate all about?
ANF: How do you choose the books/themes for the boxes?
Danielle Chambers: In the beginning, Jamie [co-owner Jamie Lynn Lano] and I read literally every book that came out for the month we were planning and chose the one we thought best suited the box. Then we picked a theme based on the book we chose and searched the internet for books that we thought would fit the theme and read those as well until we found ones we thought fit perfectly. Now we have a small team of readers who help us read the books each month, so the process is still basically the same, but we have more help! We search for these after finding the traditionally published book in a similar way. Indie and small pub authors can submit their books for us to consider.
ANF: How do you source the books?
For the traditionally published books we work directly with the publishers. For the indie books we work with either the author, agent, or small publisher. We rely on social media, goodreads, google and our submission form to find these books.
ANF: What sub genres within LBGQT have been popular for your subscribers?
Danielle Chambers: I think fantasy tends to be more popular with our subscribers. We try to include a variety of genres and representation so that there is a little bit for everyone. Now that we include two books, it’s easier to please more people with at least one of the two choices.
ANF: Tell me about the latest boxes that had some exquisite physical design of the books with gold-tipped pages, and double book jackets.
Danielle Chambers: Our last two boxes have included the special edition books. So far, they’ve been received very well. We noticed the trend of sprayed edges, exclusive covers, art in the book, exclusive content, etc. and kept being asked for Special Editions. We couldn’t do this through traditional paths like the other bigger boxes so we had to figure out a way. We have always supported indie and self-pub authors with ebooks in the box, so we did some digging and figured out how to produce our own physical special editions, and have worked together on this with other authors.
ANF: For those who are new to subscription boxes, what are the advantages of these over buying your own books at a store or online?
Danielle Chambers: I think it’s about the experience. What drew me to subscription boxes was having someone else pick books I might not have picked out myself. Plus, the suspense of a package in the mail and the surprise is always fun. Not a lot of companies outside of subscription boxes have leaned heavily into the special editions of books with the works. So there is a lot of exclusivity in doing so, too.
For us specifically, it supports a small, queer business as well as the indie authors and artists that we hire and work with.
ANF: You currently have a waitlist for your book box service, how many subscribers do you have and/or how long is your waitlist?
We currently run around 650 boxes a month. We’re working on raising that number to accommodate the waitlist. We’re trying to move as quickly as possible while still being safe so that we don’t end up with unsold boxes and march. The waitlist usually sits between 200-400 give or take. But we usually offer at least 50-100 spots a month so it’s fairly quick moving.
ANF: Do you have any upcoming plans for Rainbow Crate that you’d like to share?
Danielle Chambers: We have some big plans for 2023 that we aren’t ready to announce yet. We are really hoping to lean more into working with self-pub and indie authors more, so there may be a secondary, smaller box that we start in 2023. We hope to make an official announcement with more details in Spring 2023 at the latest.
For more information on click: The Rainbow Crate.
and check out George’s article on their books.
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