Q: What are you most excited about with starting a subscription box? And what are you afraid of?
A: We are both SO excited about being able to get LGBT books and merch into peoples’ hands, and we are most afraid that people won’t like it. Jamie would like to add that she REALLY hopes she does the tax accounting correctly because this is her first time. 🙂
Q: Will there be any collectible or special edition items or books?
A: For the books: Yes! Most times! We are a new company and have found publishers to be super awesome to work with so far, but what we can do to books is dependent on the book’s publishing house and is linked to the amount of crates we produce. It is our goal to have every book signed or with a bookplate. This, along with any other modifications like special covers, sprayed edges, etc, will be announced with each monthly theme. We aren’t planning any special covers or sprayed edges just yet, but this is 100% a future goal of ours! Think about how awesome a queer book with a gilded reversible cover and sprayed edges would be… ahhh (dreaming big)! Please see each theme for details on exact customizations.
A: For the items: All of our fandom and book gift items are custom, designed exclusively for this box! You won’t be able to get them anywhere else! We are planning to have a book gift item that is to be unwrapped when you reach a specific page in your reading (we will remind you when), a fandom monthly collectible that will not change (the same type of item, but different fandom each month) and 2-4 other fandom items items in every crate. Additional small items may be included, if there is room in the budget.
Q: Paperback or hardcover?
A: Most books will be hardcover. If they’re being released in hardcover, then we will have it in hardcover. Sometimes, queer books (like Red, White, & Royal Blue, are only released in paperback, and one of the books we were interested in for June was one of these cases. We decided to go with another, very timely book, that is coming out in hardcover, but there might come a time when the book we fall in love with is paperback. The good news is that the price point for including a paperback book is quite a bit lower than hardcover, so we might be able to include more items and customizations to make up for it! In any case, we will always specify in the theme reveal what format the book is in.
Q: How do we prevent getting double copies of a book we already have?
A: We plan on announcing the book ahead of time! We will always post the book title in a separate post from the theme, behind two spoiler slides for those who would rather it remain a surprise. The book will also always be a new release from within 31 days of shipping (usually that month, but it might be a book from the end of the previous month or an early release). As far as whether you’re going to get the book in another sub box… it might happen. But we created Rainbow Crate because other crates we love rarely include queer books, so we think we’ll mostly be pretty safe here.
If you do somehow find yourself with two copies of the book, there are still lots of things to do with your extra copy! Queer books need lots of love and support, so how about giving it to a friend who loves queer books? Or to a friend who has never read one! Or donate it to a public library or a little free library. Wrap it up and put it somewhere for a stranger to find, like the book fairies! Donate it to a school if it’s age-appropriate. Sell it somewhere. We also think that queer books always make good presents for birthdays and holidays!
Q: Will you announce what the book’s representation is beforehand?
A: Yes! This will be in both the theme reveal and the book reveal. We are also including content warnings, if applicable, for common triggers, graphic, sex, violence, and excessive harsh language. Sometimes you wanna read those things, and sometimes you don’t! We want you to know what you’re getting into so that you can decide for yourself.
Q: What was the process behind the box’s design?
A: A looooooooooot of bouncing ideas back and forth and back and forth! We started by reading all of the queer books releasing in June that we could get our hands on. This was a lot of books (not that we’re complaining! But we probably will not have the time to read everything every month going forward). We actually had three books that we thought would be good possibilities, and we talked about it a lot. We bounced around theme ideas until one just sort of clicked, and BOOM! We had a theme and a book, and it was time to pick fandoms that matched! We ended up going with some pretty mainstream fandoms because this is our first box and we wanted as wide appeal as we could get, but we’ve been secretly keeping a list of every time someone mentions a fandom they’d like to see on our social media. We hope to have a mix of big and more obscure fandoms in each box from July onward.
The design was actually pretty hard! The budget is really, really tight to make a book box. $39.99 might sound like a lot, but it isn’t. We have had to swap out a few of the items we wanted for something else, and it was hard. We wanted custom boxes printed, but they cost A LOT, and we decided that we would rather put that money toward items, and we hope you agree! In the future, with enough subscribers, we hope to be able to order boxes in huge quantities though, and that will make the cost do-able. Anyways, the design for most of the items was done in-house by us. They’re pretty, though. Really, really nice. It was a penny-pinching game to see how many big items we could get, and we did pretty well if we say so ourselves (umm, hope you like them!).
Q: Will there be a photo challenge for every box?
A: Yes! There will be a photo challenge for every box. It will be included in the box and on social media!
Q: Not necessarily for the first box, but in general what types of items are you planning to feature?
A: A whole array of items! We are big fans of usable items, and this includes anything, really, from kitchen stuff to wearables to decor. We aren’t creating a box full of paper items, and unless it’s something really interesting, you can expect the fandoms we announce to be major pieces. We aren’t ever including any edibles aside from coffee or tea, and those would be something extra, not one of the fandom items we announce with the theme. Same with candles. We loooooooooooove candles, but we plan for the main items to be permanent collectibles, and any included candles would be considered “extra items.”
Q: Will subscriptions be (book with items) only? Or will you be offering the option of (book only) as well?
A: Right now, we are only offering the full crate, which comes with book and items.
Q: Will you be announcing the book ahead of time? When?
A: Yes! Right after the theme announcement, usually within a few days, in a separate post on our Instagram. It will be behind a spoiler so that if you want it to remain a surprise, you won’t be spoiled.
Q: Potential for customs charges too?
A: Customers are responsible for paying any duties or customs fees for their packages. If you are unsure, please check with your country’s policies on assessing duties or fees. While we desperately wish that the world was one big country as far as shipping is concerned, sadly we don’t have any control over the policies set by governments. We are but two people doing our best to help everyone love queer books a little more. Your boxes will be shipped from the US. If your package is returned to us for unpaid customs or duties fees, it is not our responsibility and we cannot issue refunds. We can reship the package to you, however it will be at your own expense. We thank you for your understanding.
Q: Will there be special pride month boxes?
A: We decided to launch in June because it’s Pride month, actually! Our first box will not be a Pride themed box, but might have a Pride object. But our yearly anniversary will always be Pride month, so now that we know you’re interested, we know what to do in 2021. 😀
Q: Just curious for clarification, is this subscription US currency? And how did you determine $39.99? Does this reflect the size/types of items included & the multiple book genres you plan to alternate between?
A: Yes, the price is in US currency. We started planning this box last year, and one of the early considerations was price. We looked at what other boxes charge, asked furtively on book groups what people would expect, and compared the quality and amount of items that we could provide. Ultimately, we chose to go with $39.99, and because of that, we have been able to create a lot of great, large items. As you asked about genres, nope. That didn’t really factor in. Some books cost a bit more for us to acquire, but we are still going to do our best with whatever we have to give you your money’s worth. We want something we can be proud of, too!
Q: What are you most excited about related to the first box?
A: The secret “open here” item. It was the first item we designed, and the prototype is just PERFECT. We can’t wait to see how you guys react (send us videos)!
Q: Will you sometimes do boxes that focus solely on different groups within the LGBT+ community? Are you excited to get your box out in the world?!
A: We’re not sure. Our featured books will certainly have a specific focus as per their narrative. Over time, we want to represent as much of the lgbt community as possible in both books and fandoms, and we have had representation on our minds a LOT. There isn’t a plan for any special “Lesbian yay!” box or anything like that right now, but who knows? It could change! If there is a rep or fandom you’re dying to see, tell us! We’re extremely interested in feedback, and in knowing what you guys want! Also, we would like to add that while it’s a lot easier to find, for example, cis mlm books and fandoms, we are actively looking for ALL types of rep to include. Send us your wlw, trans, ace, poly, wlm bi/pan, and other rep suggestions! Please!
Q: Will it only be new releases or just overall books?
A: The main, physical book in Rainbow Crate will ALWAYS be a new release, and it will not be a sequel (it could be tangentially related to a book, though, like something new that takes place in the same universe). The ebook might not be new, because there are so, so, soooooo many great independently published lgbt books out there that deserve an audience. You can always give your code to a friend if you already have it.
Q: Will there be a single purchase offer?
A: There will be a limited number of single purchase boxes available each month if subscriptions don’t use up our entire quota. We recommend signing up for a subscription and skipping months that you are not interested in receiving.
Q: Is the shipping box decorated? Or is it plain?
A: Printed boxes cost more than $5 per box unless we are ordering thousands of them. For now, we have opted for plain white boxes (potentially with the rainbow label. We are still sourcing these) in order to put the $4 we save towards items instead. We hope you agree with that decision! Jamie lobbied hard for fully rainbow-striped boxes until we figured out how much they cost, though. Maybe in the future!