“Readers now expect much more choice in their books, including diverse author voices. We are dedicated to delivering this change because we believe these diverse voices are a huge part of spreading empathy. Beyond this, we can have some fun, bend genres, bring forward accessible stories, and help more people fall in love with reading.”– Marcus Siwemuke 14MBA
Sir Salman Rushdie, a University Distinguished Professor and Writer-in-Residence at Emory from 2007-2012, once said, “A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.” With more than 45,000 authors in the United States alone, Three to Five Publishing in Atlanta has emerged to showcase under-represented voices with vibrant stories to share.
For the founder and CEO of Three to Five Publishing, Marcus Siwemuke 14MBA, stories can indeed be transformative. With his wife and co-founder, Julie Siwemuke 13MBA, who also serves as the CMO and editor-in-chief for the publishing company, the duo launched their venture in 2019 to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion through the written word. “It is vital that our society recognizes and values the perspectives of many cultures,” Marcus says. “To alleviate bias and heal our differences, we will showcase authors with an inclusive world view.”
“There has been a growing movement to bring awareness and understanding to unconscious biases,” Julie adds. “We want to complement that by sharing content that counters those biases, spotlights the possibilities, and allows all people to see themselves and be seen as the heroes of the story.”
Once centered in New York City and London, “Traditional book publishing has been disrupted and redefined in recent years,” Marcus says. “Like many industries, one of the key disruptors is the gig economy, which opens the door for independent publishers and authors to shake things up. Readers now expect much more choice in their books, including diverse author voices.”
“We are dedicated to delivering this change because we believe these diverse voices are a huge part of spreading empathy. Beyond this, we can have some fun, bend genres, bring forward accessible stories, and help more people fall in love with reading.”– Marcus Siwemuke
The team created the company with this mission and released its first novel in early 2020. “From there, we have been learning as much as we can about publishing from the first novels and refining our business model both for now and as the company grows,” says Marcus.
Before the company launch, Marcus spent 15 years in strategy, sales, and operations across an array of industries including B2B software, energy, nonprofit, and global fintech. His time in the Peace Corps, aiding in creating sustainable small business ventures in Costa Rica, sparked much of his passion for entrepreneurship. Julie has 15 years of experience in strategy, branding and marketing, the last seven of which have been with The Coca-Cola Company, where she most recently led the creation and launch of a new beverage brand, AHA Sparkling Water.
“Our time at Goizueta reinforced our desire to start our own business. The classes, of course, strengthened hard skills we knew were necessary. But just as impactful were experiences like a roundtable with a billionaire, thanks to [Associate Professor of Finance; Director, The Robson Program for Business, Public Policy, and Government] Jeffrey Rosensweig, and having access to accomplished leadership like [Associate Dean, Full-Time MBA] Brian Mitchell. Under-represented people need to have role models and teachers who are where they aspire to be. Goizueta gave us that,” says Marcus. “We took some time after that to round out our skills, while finding the right passion project for us both.”
Julie adds, “Not only are our professional experiences complementary, but we both love reading. For Marcus, an avid fan of non-fiction, books present boundless knowledge. For me, fictional novels have been a favorite pastime for as long as I can remember. So, what better venture could we choose than this?”
A Cultural Awakening through Books Featuring “People Like Me”
“Books have been a liberating force in my life,” says Marcus. “When I was young, I had little interest in reading because a lot of what I saw didn’t seem accessible to me. Now I realize what power books can have, and I don’t want other people to feel like I did. The more I read, the more I see, and the more I learn. I want that for as many people as possible.”
The company’s debut speculative fiction author, Alexander Mukte, unveiled his first two books in The Rewired Series, which were geared towards adults of all ages. At the core of his complex mystery stories, the author explores societal norms and features diverse characters that challenge stereotypes. “Not only is it important for readers to see protagonists who are women and people of color as leaders in their fields, but we also want readers to question why certain things are the way they are and what changes could make their world better on any scale.” Marcus notes, “Some of the most rewarding feedback we have received so far has been from people who previously weren’t big readers or fans of fiction but loved The Recruiter and are excited to read Deeply Rooted Dreams. To us, that’s a big success.”
“These first two books offer mind-opening and entertaining stories that are accessible for all people who appreciate diverse perspectives,” says Julie. Moving forward, Three to Five will expand on cultural representation through its literature. Julie shares, “Just as Goizueta has elevated its commitment to exploring all facets of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism, we provide positive stories with representation. We will continue to share messages around hope and the ability for each of us to make an impact.”
Sir Salman Rushdie’s archives may be reviewed at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. Read more about Goizueta’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.