This article has been updated on June 5.

"2 Dope Queens" star and stand-up comedian Phoebe Robinson launched Tiny Reparations Books in 2020 with the aim of increasing diversity in all aspects of publishing—from authors to the production teams shepherding new books to store shelves. In three years, the imprint has become a home for “strong voices, unique points of view, and undeniable talent,” Robinson said. “I like to not think of us as ‘minority voices.’ There is nothing minor about us. We’re underrepresented across the board in front of and behind the scenes in terms of who gets hired, who gets published, what stories get told, and what kinds of books are reviewed.”

Noting that change takes time, Robinson added she has been heartened by the “unwavering” support the imprint has received from readers and its relationship with Dutton/Plume and Penguin Random House. “Since I pitched the idea for this imprint, just before the pandemic, they have hired staff as well as my diverse publicity team to ensure that no stone is unturned, and we are reaching a wide and diverse audience,” she said.

Releasing about six books a year, Tiny Reparations has published just over 20 titles from a growing list of writers that range from National Book Critics Circle finalists to activists. Robinson explained that her goal is to publish 10–15 annually, and while she would like to have bestsellers, she said, it’s not about the accolades but rather “about being proud of the books at the imprint and providing a platform for these extremely talented authors.”

At the imprint’s editorial helm is executive editor Emi Ikkanda, who specializes in nonfiction, and fiction editor Lashanda Anakwah, who joined the imprint in February. With a small editorial support team, Tiny Reparations has been able to guide many first-time authors through the publishing process and assure them that their stories would be told the right way.

Grace D. Li said her debut novel, Portrait of a Thief, felt like a right fit for the imprint, since Tiny Reparations “is dedicated to honest, complicated conversations about our world and what it means to be a person of color moving through it.” The story centers on Asian American college students planning to take back looted art from Western museums.

“I remember when Tiny Reparations Books was first announced—even before I’d ever dreamed of having a book with them—and thinking how this was the kind of change I wanted to see in publishing,” Li said. From the first conversation, she recalled, it was clear her editor understood the story. Now gearing up to launch her second book, Anatomy of a Betrayal, she is even more appreciative of the collaborative process a small team fosters.

“I’ve felt included every step of the way,” Li said. “I’m especially grateful to know what publishing is capable of at its best, when diverse stories are invested in and celebrated.”

For Nigerian-born author Tochi Eze, whose This Kind of Trouble will be published 2025, collaborating with the imprint’s editors was a “solidifying moment” in finding a home for her debut novel. “Tiny Reparations Books’ commitment to amplify unique stories wasn’t just a sign on their website but something they truly believe in,” Eze said. For many publishers, there is a tendency to get wrapped up in what is doing well in the market, she noted. But it’s important for publishers to realize how much published stories can shape culture.

“I’m very invested in the sustainability of the book business, so by all means, publishers need to consult the metrics etc.,” Eze said. “But I think publishing should also keep in mind its cultural positioning as gatekeepers constantly shaping the canon.”

“With an imprint that is releasing fewer titles, you really get more assistance with your book launch,” said Chrissy King, author of The Body Liberation Project. Despite ongoing conversations about inclusivity in publishing, she noted, people of color are still extremely underrepresented. “Lending more support to imprints like Tiny Reparations that seek to amplify diverse voices can work to bridge that gap.”

Speaking about choosing the right stories, Robinson explained that editors sift through submissions and discuss which fit the tone and aims of the imprint. “It’s really great to just nerd out together,” she said. “And then when we meet with prospective authors, it’s like a fun first date. I am so proud that we have a wide range of voices—activists, journalists, essayists, novelists, poets on our list that are writing about such varied topics as Black joy, body liberation, the diasporic experience, and coming of age.”

Robinson believes Tiny Reparations can make a big impact by drawing more diverse narratives. “There’s no chance for these kinds of voices to get lost in the shuffle” at Tiny Reparations, she explained. “One day, I hope that the industry will come to a point where diversity, equity, and inclusion is so embedded in the work of everyone who touches a book that imprints like Tiny Rep Books will not be the exception.”