Publishing Interviews of 2006


“…it can be a bit of a shortcut to the working writer’s life for the new writer and for the already established writer, a broadening of their horizons in both writing and teaching.”

–Faculty Chair Sharon Darrow of Vermont College

“Students who pursue this degree will have a far greater likelihood of publishing their work than students who work on their own.”

–Dean Mary Francois Rockcastle of Hamline University

agents & attorneys

“In general, none of us does as well negotiating on our own behalf as we do negotiating on behalf of others. This may be truer for writers because writers are so personally invested in their work. Publishing houses have no problem asking for terms that are favorable to them.”

Aimée Bissonette of Little Buffalo Law & Consulting

“Most of my clients wrote to my other clients to ask about me first, and I think that is one of the best ways to get the whole picture.”

Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.

“I definitely have an editorial role with my clients, as well as the more typical agent one. It’s not so much that I edit—certainly not in the way a real editor will—but I definitely will talk with a client about a manuscript, about what works for me and what doesn’t, and I’ll often send them back for a revision before submitting to editors.”

Barry Goldblatt of Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency

“Some advantages of working with an agent are that the writer knows the editor will read her submission, she doesn’t have to talk money with her editor, and she has access to people in the book world, such as foreign rights agents, that she wouldn’t have access to on her own.”

Anna Olswanger of Liza Dawson Associates

“I often liken the selection of an agent to the selection of a spouse (without the romance, of course!). All writers deserve to work with a person they like and trust, a person with whom they communicate easily and share sensibilities and goals.”

Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio

See also SCBWI Bologna agents Gabriella Ambrosioni of Gabriella Ambrosioni Literary Agency; Rosemary Canter of PDF; and Costanza Fabbri of Gabriella Ambrosioni Literary Agency.

editors & publishers

“In the U.K., the structure of mass market and institutional publishing is very different, so we tend to try for books that are mostly going to sell in the retail market–library is a bonus. In the U.S., institutional sales are a much bigger deal.”

Victoria Arms of Bloomsbury USA

“We believe that all types of readers–whether they enjoy so-called “literary” novels or genre books such as science fiction or sports–deserve the best possible writing and visuals.”

Shannon Barefield of Carolrhoda Books

“[The biggest challenge is…] Probably overcoming being considered a regional press! I think that perception of Cinco Puntos will change as the population of the United States changes. The last census shows us that 36 million people are Latinos. They are moving all over the United States. They are moving into the middle class. They are book buyers, and they want to see themselves in books.”

Lee Merrill Byrd of Cinco Puntos

“For many years, kids were taught to read by reading fiction. Now, with new research showing that 80% of adult reading is nonfiction, the education community has developed a new respect for nonfiction reading, which they are actively passing along to their students.”

Nancy Feresten of National Geographic

“The people involved in children’s publishing–from the editors and publicists to the authors themselves–tend to be part of this industry because they love it, not because they’re hoping to get rich and/or famous. The egos on the children’s side of publishing are smaller, but the talent is just as great.”

Lynn Green of BookPage

“The one common strain we hope to maintain across all of our books is that the authors approach young adult as a point of view and not a reading level.”

Andrew Karre of Flux

“We believe that books for children should offer accurate information, promote a positive worldview, and embrace a child’s innate sense of wonder and fun. To this end, we continually strive to seek new voices, new visions, and new directions in children’s literature.”

Yolanda LeRoy of Charlesbridge

“Texts need to be strong – really strong, to stand the test of time. We do tend to publish quirky rather than cute; but that might change. We look for enduring themes, strong characters and great punchlines. Art needs to properly carry its own subtext so that the two combine to make something special.”

Anne McNeil of Hodder Children’s Books

“Marketing Navajo-English books is difficult. The primary reason for this is that book buyers often have the perception that since our books are in Navajo and English, only Navajos would be interested in reading them. This is very wrong, of course–our books treat universal themes, and our Navajo focus is simply one of the factors that make our titles unique.”

Jesse Ruffenach of Salina Bookshelf

“I’m interested in the place where popular and literary intersect. Those were the stories I looked for as a teen, so that’s what I look for now.”

Deborah Wayshak of Candlewick Press

“As many have noted about fantasy in the adult genre, a lot of fantasy tends to tread the same ground. We’re looking for innovative new worlds, inventive magic systems, and characters our readers will care about. For example, I’m particularly fond of fairy tale retellings, but there have been so many in the last decade or so that I’d like to see an entirely new take on the subgenre, or a tale that no one has retold before.”

Stacy Whitman of Mirrorstone Books


“Rather than teaching to a high-stakes test, author visits allow educators to ensure that students love to read and engage with written texts on a meaningful personal level. In this way, author visits are the ultimate literacy experience!”

Toni Buzzeo, co-author of Terrific Connections with Authors, Illustrators, and Storytellers: Real Space and Virtual Links, also by Jane Kurtz (Libraries Unlimited, 1999).

“When I was in college, I wanted to be a folk singer. Realizing if I didn’t work, I wouldn’t eat, I got practical and became an elementary school librarian instead, saying, ‘Well, I’ll try this for a little while until I decide what I really want to do.’ And it was a blast. I sang with the kids, I read them stories, I told them stories. We acted out stories. It was a wild and crazy place, my library. I can’t figure out where 26 years flew.”

Judy Freeman, author of Books Kids Will Sit Still For 3: A Read-Aloud Guide (Libraries Unlimited, 2006)

promotional pros

“Historically, publishing houses took the lead in promoting their authors, illustrators, and books. In more recent years, however, much of that responsibility has shifted to the authors and illustrators.”

Aimée Bissonette of Winding Oak

“Start with personal preference: Do you like the [web] designer’s other work? (Check for credits on sites you like to locate designers). Sound out the designer. Do you feel comfortable describing what you want and asking questions about how things are done? Hire someone you can talk to, whose taste and judgment you trust.”

Lisa Firke of Hit Those Keys (additional interview)

“I work with authors and illustrators on more targeted projects for their specific books, creating press materials, pitching media, contac ting bookstores to schedule events, and consulting on assorted matters like their website, local festivals to attend, etc.”

Rebecca Grose of SoCal Public Relations

“The overarching vision of KatzConnects is to find unique funding sources for visits so that they are at no or low cost to schools but the authors are still paid their full fee.”

Susan B. Katz of KatzConnects

“I think the most important thing to consider when hiring a publicist, or any marketing professional, is to find someone who is honest with you about what’s viable for your book, clear about the work they’ll do, and who cares about the authors they take on. It’s also helpful to work with someone who can educate you about the role you can play in the process because campaigns work best when they’re done synergistically.”

Susan Salzman Raab of Raab Associates

Cynsational Notes

Interviews with Gabriella Ambrosioni. Victoria Arms, Rosemary Canter, Barry Goldblatt, Costanza Fabbri, Anne McNeil, and Rosemary Stimola were offered in conjunction with SCBWI Bologna 2006.

See also author/illustrator interviews of 2006!

Thanks to all of those above for sharing their thoughts!