Continuing my Interesting-Folk-Who-Work-in-Publishing feature, I have ANUTHA interview with a real live commissioning editor bod. It's the completely awesome Sarah Stewart of Scholastic Children's Books.
And yes, it's the same questions as last time, but hey, if it ain't broke... (I was indeed too busy to come up with new questions. Please accept my humble apologies.)
So, who the heck are you and where do you work?
I work at Scholastic, a large international publishing house, who create amazing books for kids of all ages, from teeny-tiny to teenage. We have dedicated non-fiction, picture book and fiction lists. I'm one of the editors on the fiction list.
Do you get bucketloads of unsolicited manuscripts?
We're one of the very few publishers who still accept unsolicited MS. But I rarely have time to look at our slush pile. I have enough manuscripts to read from agents. Most editors have a huge pile of reading to get through at any given time. I can't remember the last time I had a bus or train journey without submissions to read!
Is there any particular genre/type of manuscript you'd really like to land on your doorstep right now?
I would love to see more fiction for girls aged 8-10 - really fun stuff with a good unique voice. I quite fancy reading some good detective fiction, but haven't seen much of that lately. And I'm always interested to see great YA but I think I've probably had enough of vampires for now!
What advice would you give to someone looking to get a book published?
Buy the Artists' and Writers' Yearbook and read it cover to cover. Find an agent: approach all agents in a courteous and professional way, as they are the key to getting noticed by a publishing house! Believe in yourself, but don't pester!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Finding new talent - it is so exciting when you read a book and fall in love with it. I also really like that magic moment where you make someone really happy by offering to buy their book!
It's tough when you have to break bad news to an author; for example that their sales have dipped, or that a book is going out of print. Fortunately we don't have to have those conversations often, but they're always difficult.
Top three children's books?
There are too many! Today I'll say:
Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
A Pack of Liars by Anne Fine
I also used to devour school stories like Chalet School, Malory Towers, St Clare's, Trebizon, Dimsie, you name it. Which is quite odd when you're a kid going to a normal state school who rarely encounters lashings of ginger beer:)
Which book do you wish you'd published?
Recently? Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. And When I Was Joe by Keren David.
Finally, the most important question of all: chocolate or cheese?
Cheese. But if I'm being asked to give up one of them forever, I'd start crying.
Cheese was the correct answer. Thanks for your time, Awesome Sar!