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Tehom Center Publishing: Empowering Diverse Voices in Literature

Tehom Center Publishing

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Based in St Petersburg, Florida, Tehom Center Publishing (TCP) stands out as a unique entity in the literary world, deeply committed to promoting feminist, queer, and BIPOC voices. Its inception was inspired by the founder’s personal struggles with institutional bigotry and a realization of the publishing industry’s inadequacies in representing marginalized authors.

Origin and Inspiration

As a queer woman, TCP founder Angela Yarber faced harsh opposition in her roles as a pastor and an academic. Her experiences with hate mail and threats led her to leave these institutions. After publishing several books, she observed that most independent publishers lacked an understanding of feminist and queer writers, and were inept at marketing them. This gap in the market, combined with her friends’ negative experiences with predatory publishing companies, motivated her to establish Tehom Center Publishing.

Tehom Center Publishing

Meaning of ‘Tehom’

The name ‘Tehom’ is derived from Hebrew and Ugaritic texts, signifying ‘depth’ and linked to the goddess of creation, Tiamat. This name symbolizes the organization’s deep commitment to creating new spaces in literature for underrepresented authors, bringing to the surface stories that are often overlooked. 

Support for Feminist and Queer Literature

Tehom Center Publishing’s approach to supporting feminist and queer literature is threefold:

  • Exclusive Focus on Feminist and Queer Authors: The center is dedicated to publishing works by authors who self-identify as feminist and/or queer. This exclusivity ensures alignment with the organization’s mission and creates a focused platform for these voices.
  • Intersectional Feminist Practices: The foundation of the center’s operations lies in intersectional feminism. This philosophy extends beyond the selection of manuscripts to encompass all aspects of the business, including employment practices, design decisions, coaching methodologies, and royalty rates. This holistic approach ensures that the center remains true to its core values of equity and inclusivity.
  • Empowering through Coaching Programs: Beyond publishing, Tehom Center offers coaching programs designed to empower authors in the realms of writing, marketing, and “authorpreneurship.” These programs are not just about producing a book; they aim to cultivate movements, businesses, or brands that advocate for justice and provide financial stability for the authors. The center’s unique approach to book marketing, for instance, eschews conventional ‘pain point’ tactics, opting instead for feminist marketing techniques that emphasize social justice, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

In its commitment to diversity and representation, Tehom Center Publishing also actively seeks out BIPOC writers, extending invitations to publish and partnering with relevant organizations to broaden their reach. Recognizing the historical and systemic barriers faced by BIPOC authors, the center offers coaching discounts as a form of reparations. This strategy not only ensures that a diverse range of voices is heard but also that they are supported and valued in their literary endeavors.

Manuscript Selection Process

The selection of manuscripts at Tehom Center Publishing is a meticulous process, guided by several criteria:

  • Mission Alignment: The foremost criterion is the alignment of the author and their work with the center’s mission to elevate feminist and queer authors. This alignment ensures that the published works resonate with the organization’s core values.
  • Quality and Marketability: Like any publishing house, TCP evaluates manuscripts for their quality and potential marketability. However, this assessment is done with a keen eye for diversity and representation, ensuring that quality doesn’t get conflated with mainstream appeal.
  • Focus on Marginality: The center gives special attention to works that bring unique perspectives, especially those stemming from strategic oppression or discrimination. Publishing such works is seen as an opportunity to remedy historical imbalances in literary representation.
Tehom Center Publishing

Compensation for Authors

Tehom Center Publishing is deeply committed to fair compensation. As a relatively new entity in the publishing industry, the center is currently unable to offer advances to its authors. To overcome this financial obstacle, TCP offers royalties that far exceed the industry standard for both paperbacks and hardbacks. This approach underlines the center’s dedication to ensuring that authors, especially those from underrepresented communities, are appropriately rewarded for their creative efforts. 

Community Engagement and Grassroots Support

Tehom Center’s engagement with the communities it represents is not just theoretical but practical and grounded. Many of the authors published by the center are activists and organizers who have a direct impact on and representation within marginalized communities. This grassroots approach ensures that the literature produced is not only reflective of these communities’ realities but also actively contributes to their empowerment.

Challenging Industry Norms

Perhaps the most daunting challenge Tehom Center faces is the traditional nature of the publishing industry itself. Dominated by patriarchal, heteronormative, and often non-diverse perspectives, the industry sets the tone for what makes it onto bestseller lists, which books receive awards, and which get placed in bookstores. For TCP, disrupting these entrenched industry norms is not just about publishing books; it’s about advocating for a paradigm shift in how diverse voices and stories are perceived and valued in the literary community.

Despite these challenges, Tehom Center remains steadfast in its mission. The center’s dedication to changing narratives and challenging the status quo in the publishing industry underscores its commitment to creating a more inclusive and representative literary landscape.

Tehom Center Publishing

Impact Stories

The impact of Tehom Center’s work is evident in stories like the Palestinian American clergywoman who, during a one-month coaching program, wrote a book about her grandmother’s life in Palestine, and Dr. Kate Evans, whose book “Wanderland” won the Best Bisexual Book Award and made a significant impact on its readers.

Future Aspirations

The publishing organization is planning to collaborate with universities and other institutions to promote literacy and awareness in feminism, queer rights, and racial equity.

Angela and her team have also set a goal for 2024 to publish 20 books and sign 30 more authors focused on enacting social change. Since this requires strategic and effective marketing efforts, TCP plans to increase their marketing investment and bring on specialized support staff to achieve their goals. This move is aimed at increasing the center’s visibility and attracting more authors committed to making a difference through their writing.

Inclusivity in Literature

Tehom Center Publishing believes in the critical role of diverse literature in creating an inclusive society and works tirelessly to contribute to this vision.

For more information and updates, visit Tehom Center Publishing.


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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida and beyond, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

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