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Publisher Profile: Cardinal Rule Press

The CBC asks Maria Dismondy, Founder, questions about the publisher.

How did your publishing house start out?

I started off in the classroom many moons ago as a teacher. I saw a need for realistic fiction in the area of social-emotional learning, so I wrote my first book, Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun in 2008. Over the years and after writing over ten books, I found my passion for being on the business side of publishing, so I started Cardinal Rule Press in 2016.

What is your publishing house most known for?

Realistic fiction books that are diverse and focused around hope, kindness, and the Golden Rule.

Where in the country is your house based? What do you love about being based there?

We are based in Michigan and our team works remotely, worldwide. I love being based in Michigan because we have a great local network of authors and creatives that I have connected with over the years. It’s great to be able to be in person with others talking books!

Has your house ever gone through a merger? If so, with who and when?

Yes! We acquired another publishing company, Bucket Filler Books, just seven months ago. It has been a really great addition to Cardinal Rule Press.

What conventions and conferences does your publishing house usually attend? 

We like to attend trade conferences with our distributor, IPG. These conferences are TLA, ABA and ALA. Personally, I like to attend conferences like the IBPA Publishing University to improve my connections and knowledge in the industry. 

What has been the biggest change your house has made and retained since the pandemic started?

We now use Zoom for connecting with our authors on a monthly basis and to host team meetings. We also have been supporting teachers and aspiring writers with community panels that we host on Zoom. 

How many full-time employees does your house have?

We have one full-time employee and 14 part-time contractors. Since we are a small press, some of our tasks are project-based, like our videographer. He only has 6-10 projects a year so it’s nice to have freelance team members for these types of projects.

How many books does your house aim to publish per season/year?

We have gone from two to three to four and now to six titles a year with the addition of translating five of our backlist titles into Spanish titles.

Which genres does your house prefer to publish?

We are super niched and only publish realistic fiction picture books.

Which formats does your house prefer to publish?

Hardcover, softcover, ebooks and audiobooks too!

What are some of your house’s publishing priorities over the next few years?

We are expanding into translations into Spanish and other languages as well. Inclusion is an important piece for us. We also are trying to help ALL children have access to our books. We are trying out different platforms like author visits with Zoom to achieve this during the school day.

Which title has your house recently rallied behind?

We have a new book titled Hide and Shh which is about sisters and inclusion as the main character is neurodiverse. We felt like there was a gap in representation in picture books with characters that live with disabilities. 

Which upcoming titles is your house buzzing about?

Ohh—2024 is going to be a lot of fun! We just signed these books in February and are gearing up with editorial and design work. The books will tap into areas of grief in children, military families, the power of choice, socioeconomic differences and more!

Which of your frontlist titles would be great for a school or public library?

We would recommend the following titles for school and public libraries: Evie’s Field Day by Claire Noland, Raja’s Pet Camel by Anita Amin and Dazzling Travis by Hannah Carmona.

Which of your frontlist titles would be great for a classroom? Which grade?

The Fruit Salad Friend by Maria Dismondy, Kindness is a Kite String by Michelle Schaub and Have You Filled a Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud.

Which of your frontlist tiles would be great for an at-home library?

Fill a Bucket by Carol McCloud, Three Pockets Full by Cindy Rodriguez and This Could Be You by Cindy Williams Schrauben.

Name a few of your favorite backlist titles that people should check out.

I am a big fan of Cookie and Milk by Michele McAvoy. It is about two girls who are complete opposites but are the best of friends. It has an amazing twist at the end! 

What else would you like to tell us about your house and the amazing work you all do?

We are a small but mighty press. Small publishers are doing some really great work and we appreciate you taking the time here to highlight these efforts. I am thrilled with the programming our team continues to develop for classrooms and families. We have a set of core values for Cardinal Rule Press, and we go back to those values in our team meetings, in the goals we create and the books that we publish as well!

Thank you, Cardinal Rule Press!

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