Sourcebooks announced this week that it has acquired 23 children’s and YA books produced by author and illustrator D. Corchin, who has been self-publishing books containing socially conscious messages since 2005. Corchin’s list includes a picture book, A Thousand No’s, and several other standalones, as well as 10 titles in the I Feel… series of rhyming picture books about emotions for young readers, and four in the Band Nerds series for YA readers about the ups and downs of life in a high school marching band.
While Corchin, a Chicago resident, is both the author and illustrator of some of his books, others—including A Thousand No’s and the books in the Band Nerds series—are illustrated by Dan Dougherty, also a local resident.
“The list we acquired has a broad range—picture books to YA,” said Kelly Barrales-Saylor, editorial director for Sourcebooks’ Xplore children’s imprint. “This is an author who has a broad appeal and the ability to write for all these audiences.” Corchin intends to continue writing and illustrating books as a Sourcebooks author
“I hear scientists have discovered 78 new emotions,” he joked. “I have plenty of material to work with. There’s room for me to grow.”
Barrales-Saylor remarked upon the collaboration between Corchin and Dougherty, noting, “It’s rare to find a self-published author who is himself an illustrator and also has been able to partner with another illustrator. Dan is so talented, an author in his own right, as well as a comic author-illustrator. DJ and Dan are such a fantastic team. I am so excited to work with both of them.”
Sourcebooks will repackage and reissue the books under the eXplore imprint within the next 18 months, but primarily between this fall and March 2021. A Thousand No’s, winner of the Eric Hoffer Award for Best Children’s Book, will be released first, in August. It will be followed by Marching Band Nerds Handbook and Band Nerds in October. While declining to disclose sales figures, Corchin noted that A Thousand No’s is his best-known and bestselling book.
A Thousand No’s demonstrates that even though great ideas sometimes are turned down, rejection can actually transform them into even better ones. According to Sourcebooks, A Thousand No’s has been widely recognized by parents and educators as one of the best books on the market about growth mindset. A Thousand No’s has also been used by people in marketing, sales, and leadership teams as a tool to generate innovative, breakthrough thinking.
Corchin told PW that the partnership with Sourcebooks came about after he was approached last spring by a Sourcebooks editor while selling books at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. “Ten seconds before I was going to walk away from the booth,” he was asked if the books were self-published. The editor suggested that he send Sourcebooks publisher Dominique Raccah a box of books for her consideration.
One reason for the editor’s immediate interest in Corchin’s list may be that, according to Sourcebooks, its children’s division is experiencing tremendous growth and was up 26% in 2019. One of the bestselling categories in children’s books is growth mindset.
For his part, Corchin noted that while he enjoyed the self-publishing process and “learned a lot” about it in the past 15 years, and even made a profit, he was receptive to selling the entire list to a larger publisher because he “didn’t have the reach a global publisher like Sourcebooks does.”
Barrales-Saylor added that, when she went through the box Corchin sent, she was impressed with how the messages in his books were delivered “without hitting us over the head. I was sure the intent behind it was going to resonate, not just with me, but with parents and teachers. We belong together.”
Disclosing that he had previously fielded inquiries made by other publishers, Corchin said, “I needed someone who could do more than I could do on my own.” He also cited Sourcebooks’s corporate motto, “Books change lives,” as having influenced his decision to become a Sourcebooks author.
“To have that many people come together to share a vision, when that happens, magic happens,” Corchin said. “I’m big on magic and what we’re creating is going to be amazing. We’re embarking on an incredible journey.”