Category Archives: behind the book

Behind the book – Audiobook narrator Lauren Ezzo

Previously in this series: Agent | Ghostwriter UK Editor Library Assistant  | Publicity Assistant | Typesetter | Cover Designer | Foreign Rights Manager |Blogger |Scout |Translators Book charity Copyeditor | Journalist | US Editor  | Scholastic Book Fair Product Manager | MG/YA Author

Last week I interviewed Catherine Doyle, and this week I have another special guest on the blog – the narrator of the audiobook for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Lauren Ezzo. This is my first English-language audiobook (I do have one in German), so I am incredibly excited to listen to my book spoken out loud. I’m anticipating that it’ll be a strange but wonderful experience.

I was given the choice of a few different narrators by HarperCollins, and I chose Lauren because her sample sounded like Romy in my head – she perfectly captured the mix of confidence and naivety that Romy has. If you’d like to listen to Lauren’s version of Romy (and, of course, buy it!), there’s a sample on the Audible page and another on soundcloud here.

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With that, onto the interview!

How did you become an audiobook narrator? Did you do any work experience
or internships?

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In college, I majored in Theatre/English — which was, in retrospect, a pretty great setup! I  was hired for my first title by Brilliance Publishing — a friend of mine from school was working there and happened to know they were hiring new narrators. I went in with copies of ‘Love Wins’, by Rob Bell, ‘Fragile Things’ by Neil Gaiman, and ‘Twilight’ (maybe you’ve heard of that one). The rest is history!

What books have you worked on in the past?

Several!! At this writing, I’ve narrated over a hundred, hooray!! Some favorites or notables include “The Last to See Me”, by M. Dressler, “Rules for Werewolves”, by Kirk Lynn, “The Butterfly Garden”, by Dot Hutchison, “Kill All Happies”, by Rachel Cohn, “The Hundredth Queen” by Emily R. King, and, sincerely, “The Loneliest Girl in the Universe”. [All of the books narrated by Lauren on Audible are here]41kblU0-EyL._SL500_.jpg

Ahh, thank you so much! How long does it take to record a book? 

It depends on the title — the general formula I use is about two minutes per page — so for a 300 page book, I’d budget 10ish hours. “Loneliest Girl” was a bit different since many of the ‘chapters’ are so short — less than a page sometimes, so she took about 6 hours!

Do you do it in one sitting?

I do and don’t record all in one sitting — usually I like to work in sort of standard business days — 9ish to 5ish, with breaks and lunch — to keep easy track of my progress and keep things expedient. If I were able to record all in one go, though, I think I would….to stay in storyteller brain for that long would be great for me and the book.

Do you work from home? What kind of equipment do you need?

I do! I have a custom built isolation sound building courtesy of my loving father, and when I do record at home — a la “Loneliest Girl” — that’s where I’ll be! Pared down as simply as possible, all you need to record is a good space, a microphone, an interface (a machine which converts soundwaves captured by the mic into binary for the computer to read), and a computer, and I have all of these — but of course things get a bit more complicated and technical than that.

I also have a lot of filthy tea mugs and cookie crumbs in there, but you don’t really NEED those….

How do you choose voices for characters? Do you take notes in advance of a recording session? 

Ooof, good question. Not enough people ask this one! First I look at my ability. When the text says something to the effect of. ‘ the deepest, rumbliest voice EVER’, I look to see what my version of that can be that will fit the tone of the story — sincere? comic? scary

Secondly, I look to see what my author wants or needs — so, with “Loneliest Girl”, I knew Romy should sound a little like the main protagonist from ‘Hundredth Queen’, since that’s what you (Lauren) listened to!51bpDKF1wKL._SL500_

Then I go to my text — what descriptors am I given? Pitch, accents, even body characteristics– does this character have jowls, or big teeth? Are they painfully shy? And I let all those things sort of percolate in my brain, along with the theme and feel I get from the book.

For Romy, I knew what my base voice was, but I thought it was also important that she’s a little immature — not her personality, but the fact that her adolescence has taken place in isolation. She has no peers to mimic or bounce her thoughts off of, and no adults on which to model her behavior, other than what she sees through her messages and downloaded media.

So I tried to err on the side of youth, enthusiasm, when we first meet her, and then adjusted accordingly as the plot proceeded. There’s also a lot of ‘me’ voice in Romy, since she’s so relateable — a lot of her reactions and syncopations are mine.

J, Loch, and Ness I had fun with — these are all characters whose voices we hear through Romy. Her brain and emotions ‘distort’ them. I wanted Loch and Ness to be a little overdone, overdramatic — Romy’s ideals. And J…without giving too much away, I wanted to sound a bit like the ‘best friend’ — the guy everyone falls in love with.

What is the most difficult part of recording books? (mispronouncing things would
worry me!)

DEFINITELY worrying about pronunciation!! And listeners will nail you every time on that! But there are resources to take care of those things, and they’re usally not a huge issue in the end.

I think for me the most challenging aspects are the same for any collaborative artist — I want the work to be good and intriguing, and for my performance to suit it — not just for me, but for its author, its engineer, its publisher, its listener. Audiobooks are NOT an isolated experience. I’m the voice of a given title, but many, many people get to it before and after I do, and the pressure to deliver, for me at least, can be scary.

What’s your favourite part of your job, and what are you proudest of in your
career? 

Another really good one!!!! My favorite part of my job is that I get PAID MONEY to ACT and READ. Those are my favorite things in the world. If I can ever get paid to nap and eat, we’ll reevaluate, but that’s the best part. These are the things that make me happiest.

What would be your #4dreamprojects

Only 4!?!?! Okay.

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1. Anything Neil Gaiman. Preferably a title he’s written as a gift  to me personally, but really anything of his would do.

2. The “Loneliest Girl” sequel, set after Romy reaches Earth II, chronicling her rise as its first matriarch.

3. A book from my childhood; see below

4. A previously male-narrated classic, a la Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, Remains of the Day, Hero’s Journey…the guys get a lot of good ones.

A Loneliest Girl sequel, huh? Well, we’ll see….. 😉

Has being involved in publishing changed how you read books for pleasure? 

Big yes. In the first place, I have less time to do this. In the second, I’ve learned IMMENSE amounts about writing, and what makes effective writing, from all the reading. If you are an author, please, make reading at least some of your work aloud part of your editing process!

I read out loud and it is SO HELPFUL. Especially in later edits, it’s so easy to skim over sentences and reading aloud really catches you up on the clunky things.

What are some of your favourite recent reads from your childhood? 

444357Eeee I love this!! My ‘first’ book was the picture book “Put Me in the Zoo” by Robert Lopshire — the adults in my family had to hide it from me, they got so sick of it.

Other first loves include “Go Dog Go”, The Time-Warp Trio, “His Dark Materials”, Shel Silverstein, “The Hobbit”, “Harry Potter”, numerous Eyewitness books, “The Cricket in Times Square”, “Ender’s Game”, “Walk Two Moons”, “Because of Winn Dixie”, “Belle Prater’s Boy”, “A Wrinkle in Time”, “Pure Dead Magic”, Tamora Pierce, Suzanne Fisher Staples, “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales”, Avi, Magic Treehouse, and really anything if it held still long enough.

Do you have any advice for aspiring narrators? 

Acting classes are esential – I’d say at least a year’s worth, of reputable training, but really
that should be continuing as your career progresses. Invest in a quality microphone
within your budget; no USBs should be visible anywhere. Be courteous and kind to
everyone in the industry you come across — you don’t know who they are or who
they’ve worked with, and they deserve a pleasant interaction at the very least. Listen
to other narrators and industry professionals, and decide what is good for you —
there’s a lot of advice. You don’t have to take it all, and it’s not possible anyway. If
it fits you, that’s the best advice. Also brushing your teeth and McDonald’s hashbrowns get rid of mouth noises in situ.

Thank you for the wonderful interview, Lauren! I learnt a lot from this – and now I kind of want to become a narrator too. 


Lauren Ezzo is a Chicago based audiobook narrator and commercial voice
talent. A Michigan native and Hope College alumna, at this writing she has
narrated over 100 titles for authors including Catherine Ryan Hyde, Adam
Rapp, M. Dressler, Christopher Rice, Kirk Lynn, Lauren James, & Dot
Hutchison.

She has won multiple awards for her narration, including several
“Best of the Year” lists, and several Earphones Awards. In 2016, her
performance of “The Light Fantastic”, by Sarah Combs, co-narrated with
Todd Haberkorn, was named one of AudioFile’s best books of the year. She
was accorded the same honor in 2017 from School Library Journal for her
narration of “To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the
Donner Party”.

In 2018, she was Audie-nominated as part of a full cast of
narrators for Best Original Work, “Nevertheless We Persisted”, performing
two pieces – one of which she authored. She is a proud member of the Audio
Publishers Association, and a lifelong bookworm. Follow her exploits on
Facebook at @laurenezzoaudiobooks, on Twitter at @SingleWithFries, and
on the web at laurenezzo.com!

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Behind the book: Middle Grade and Young Adult writer Catherine Doyle

Previously in this series: Agent | Ghostwriter UK Editor Library Assistant  | Publicity Assistant | Typesetter | Cover Designer | Foreign Rights Manager |Blogger |Scout |Translators Book charity Copyeditor | Journalist | US Editor  | Scholastic Book Fair Product Manager

I am resurrecting an old blog series where I interview different people involved in the publishing industry, behind the scenes of the books. One of my oldest writing friends,

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Cat and me in 2014. We were babies!

Catherine Doyle, has a new book out. Cat and I met because we have the same agent, and got our book deals around the same time – me for The Next Together, and Cat for Vendetta, the first book in her Mafia-based YA romance trilogy.

We were both newbies in the publishing industry, and it was so incredibly reassuring having someone in the same position to me to talk to. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the author I am today without Cat. She’s one of my first and most trusted beta readers.

Cat’s next book The Storm Keeper’s Island is the first in a Middle Grade series, and I am absolutely fascinated by the difference in crossing over to a new audience in a different genre – so I’m bring back this series just so I can be really nosy and ask her lots of questions.


To start, can you tell us a little bit about your books, both YA and MG?

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The YA Blood for Blood trilogy (Vendetta, Inferno and Mafiosa) is about a seventeen-year-old girl from the Chicago suburbs called Sophie Gracewell, who ends up at the centre of a blood war deep in the Sicilian underworld. When she falls for a mysterious boy in her neighbourhood, she tumbles head first into a dangerous society that holds the untold secrets of both her family’s past and her true identity. It’s a mix of romance, danger and intrigue, with a strong female friendship at its core.

36634765 (1)The Storm Keeper’s Island is the story of eleven-year-old Fionn Boyle, who is sent to stay on the remote island of Arranmore with a grandfather he’s never met, when his mother falls ill one summer. When Fionn sets foot on the island, an ancient magic begins to stir, and he soon finds himself at the heart of a race to become the island’s next champion – a Storm Keeper who can wield the elements of earth, wind, water and fire. But the island isn’t the only one who has been waiting for Fionn. Deep beneath the jagged cliffs or Arranmore, an ancient enemy has been waiting too. It is up to him to ensure she doesn’t rise again and wreak havoc on the world. It’s a story about adventure and family, memory and magic, and a wild, untameable sea.

Was writing a middle grade novel different from writing a Young Adult novel? Which was easier? Which do you prefer?

I didn’t find the process of writing these stories all that different – I was still focusing on character development and plot progression and trying to keep the chapters as pacey as possible. I think I prefer writing Fionn’s story because it is replete with possibility. As an author, there is just something undeniably fun about creating your own system of wild magic, and letting your imagination run riot with it.

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A YA Shot 2015 panel with Cat and Lucy Saxon on Tragic Romance in YA

Do you think there are any topics that are ‘off limits’ for MG? Is there anything that younger readers can’t handle?

Children are intelligent and curious and empathetic. They live in the same world that we do, and see and hear much more than we might think. I would say very few topics are ‘off limits’ provided they are handled with care and sensitivity, and an awareness of the age of the reader.

Do you think there is a trend for magical MG at the moment? What is so special about this type of book? What do you hope to see happen in Children’s publishing in the future?

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Magical middle grade novels have always been popular, and I can certainly see why. There’s something very freeing and exciting about stories that leap into the unknown, that stretch your imagination to its limits and look at the world through a slightly sparklier lens. They’ve always been my favourite kinds of stories.

I would love to see even more stories that have been inspired by different cultures, and in particular, magical stories that play on the myths and legends of the countries in which they’re set. Rick Riordan’s new publishing imprint seems to be focusing on this – and I can’t wait to read the books he’s championing this year. My next read is Aru Sha and The End Of Time.

Where do you see your writing going in the future? Do you want to carry on writing MG?

For now, my heart is definitely in Middle Grade Fiction. In fact, it’s still on Fionn’s island – and it will be there for another three books at least!

What are some of your favourite children’s books now and from your childhood?34219873

As a child, I loved the Chronicles of Narnia, Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter – anything with a sweeping adventure and a whole lot of magic!

My favourite recent children’s books include Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, the Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend, and the Knights of the Borrowed Dark series by Dave Rudden. I’ve also just read and loved both The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson and Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly.33832945

What are you proudest of in your career?

Selling the book of my heart to Bloomsbury and watching it set sail into the world.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into publishing?

Be brave, be resilient and remember – the true magic is in the editing, not the first draft!

As someone who has written YA books set in the US, your MG shifts to an island off the coast of Ireland. Was this intentional?

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I had been wanting to write a book closer to home for some time, but it took a while for the right story to materialise. The Storm Keeper’s Island is set on Arranmore, the island where my grandparents were born, grew up and fell in love. It’s inspired by Irish myths and legends as well as the real-life daring sea rescues of my great grandfather, so it is grounded in an authentic personal and cultural background, which makes it feel particularly special to me.

 

 

 

tumblr_nglmz6PdiF1tjvbzjo1_1280.pngCat and me as members of One Direction with Alice Oseman, Melinda Salisbury and Sara Barnard, as drawn by Alice.


Catherine Doyle grew up in the West of Ireland. She holds a first-class BA in Psychology and a first-class MA in Publishing. She is the author of the Young Adult Blood for Blood trilogy (Vendetta, Inferno and Mafiosa), which is often described as Romeo and Juliet meets the Godfather. It was inspired by her love of modern cinema. Her debut Middle Grade novel, The Storm Keeper’s Island (Bloomsbury, 2018), is an adventure story about family, bravery and self-discovery. It is set on the magical island of Arranmore, where her grandparents grew up, and is inspired by her ancestors’ real life daring sea rescues.

Aside from more conventional interests in movies, running and travelling, Catherine also enjoys writing about herself in the third-person

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Behind the Book: Scholastic Book Fair Product Manager Francesca Hopwood

Previously in this series: Agent | Ghostwriter | UK Editor | Library Assistant  | Publicity Assistant | Typesetter | Cover Designer | Foreign Rights Manager |Blogger |Scout |Translators | Book charity | Copyeditor | Journalist | US Editor

I haven’t done one of these publishing industry interviews since March – but I have a very special reason to bring back the series today: I’m interviewing Francesca Hopwood, the Product Manager at Scholastic Book Fairs who is responsible for the incredible special edition of The Last Beginning, containing the short story Another Together.

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I was so delighted to be asked if they could make the edition back in August, but I didn’t really understand how the Book Fairs actually work. I have vague recollections of buying books from them when I was at school – but my knowledge didn’t extend far beyond that. So I asked Francesca if she could answer some questions for my blog (and to satisfy my curiosity). To my delight she said yes!

If you’ve ever wondered just how Scholastic Book Fairs work, read on…


What does your job involve?2

I cherry pick the best books published for 11-18 year olds to feature in my Teen Book Club leaflets (these go into Secondary schools 6 times a year). I also select Posters, Stationery and Teen books for Scholastic Fairs (the giant silver cases that go to schools one or twice a year). Publishers come to present to me and the rest of the product team where we get to see what books are coming out and then I have the exciting job of (attempting!) to read them all.

My day job involves a lot more spreadsheets than most people expect where we’re continuously looking at sales analysis and stock as well as briefing the design and marketing teams on all our various leaflets. We liaise with publishers on a daily basis to make sure we’re up to date on what’s coming out when and feedback on covers and content where necessary. We also work closely with Scholastic publishing so we can get a range of books created to suit the schools market.

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 Why are Scholastic Book Fairs & Clubs so important?

Thanks for asking! This will probably sound like a pitch but I genuinely think what we do is awesome. We handpick books that encourage children to read for pleasure and make them affordable and available to all children. A lot of kids aren’t able to visit bookshops or libraries so by sending the leaflets and fairs cases direct to the schools we’re giving them a chance to see all these incredible books on offer in a safe and familiar setting and for pocket money prices. So much research supports how important it is not just for kids to read for pleasure but to own books as this instils a love of reading early on and enables them to have ownership of their reading.

Also, for every £1 spent on a school’s Book Club order we donate 20p in free books back to the school. With so many public libraries being closed down and budget cuts to the education sector I think this is an amazing thing for schools, parents and children alike to be aware of as it means we can help schools build their libraries to have even more stories to share.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?5

I have vivid memories of receiving the book club leaflets when I was in primary school and circling everything I wanted (all the pony books…it was a borderline obsession at 8 years old) and then getting super excited when they would arrive (post addressed to me was such a big deal at school) so visiting a fair and seeing the kids get excited about all the books on offer is always really exhilarating. You watch as they shout out an author or character’s name, as if they were their friends and it just makes all the excel spreadsheet part of your job seem worth it to see such joy and excitement.

I also still find reading books before they’re out really exciting. Especially if you’re reading it early enough to make suggestions and watch as it grows into a fully formed book or getting an exclusive edition just for Clubs and Fairs. Receiving the finished printed book always feels so satisfying if you’ve had a hand in making it (I may have an ever growing tower of books on my desk that I can stare at and be proud of – Our version of The Last Beginning with the extra short story being an excellent example 🙂 ).

I definitely have a copy of that on my desk to stare at too! How do you go about choosing which books to feature in the Teen Book Club? Does the maturity of the content ever have an impact on this?

We do a lot of analysis into our previous book club leaflets to see what has sold well, as well as keeping an eye on the charts to make sure we have all the big hitters featured on current offers. It’s also about being aware of debut authors, hype on social media, alongside events (such as Black History Month, Science week, or World Book Day) and films that are coming out in that particular month of the book club and looking at how we can link to these to garner interest. I also like to feature perennial bestsellers to make sure the next generation have the opportunity to grow up with them, such as; Wonder, The Book Thief, Private Peaceful, Nought & Crosses, Percy Jackson, Coram Boy and The Boy in Stripped Pyjamas. These are all books that get kids not just reading but talking about books as these are all really strong stories that get you to empathise with the characters within.

Because we sell through schools we have a certain level of trust that we have to adhere to when selecting for teenagers on behalf of the teachers and parents so content is always looked at closely. The maturity level of a 12 year old and 15 year old can be very different so I have to be conscious when selecting books that we’re able to reach and appeal to year 7’s alongside year 10s (which can be really hard when publishers present loads of YA but hardly any upper-middle grade these days!). 29079057In the most part I can get around this by flagging titles that I believe are more mature, although if a book has swearing/violence/drugs on every page then I’m going to have to give it a miss as it’s inappropriate to the school setting.

When featuring a book with content I have to be able to justify why. For example Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield is about an abusive step-mother/daughter relationship with some horrific scenes of emotional, racial and physical abuse. It’s handled in a way that I believe will resonate with teenagers and get them really thinking about how much injustice goes on without us realising as well as looking at how important it is to ask for help and offer it in return.

 Do you have an instinct for whether a book will be popular at schools? What features do successful books usually have?

I know people must hate hearing this but visuals are really important. On our clubs leaflet there can be up to 20 books on one page all competing with each other so the covers need to be impactful and convey what the book is about in around 10 seconds tops. The most popular books, especially on Teen book clubs are usually titles that are linked with a film or TV show (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is my top seller this Autumn), have just won awards, been featured in YouTube videos such as Zoella or are books I’ve picked out and sent to my teen readers to review. Giving a book that extra bit of space and being able to show that a peer has read and loved it really helps the success of the book. In 2015, because I loved the book so much, I gave The Next Together what I call an ‘introducing’ slot where it gets an extra bit of space and a comment from me and it got into my top five, which as a debut author is pretty darn impressive Lauren!

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Aw, shucks! Thank you so much for helping it get there!

What themes are you seeing in Children’s Books at the moment? How do you think this is going to change in the future?

At the moment there are two extremes. You’ve got your Wimpy, Dork, Tom Gates and Walliams books dominating the charts with humour and illustrations that year 7 and year 8’s have grown up reading and so continue to read and then there seems to be a dramatic leap to upper YA; titles dealing with heavy subjects such as sexual abuse, depression and gender identity. Although it’s great these topics are being discussed more in literature for younger audiences it can be hard to find a middle ground. Those first formative and awkward years of being a hormonal teenager when you’re dealing with first spots, crushes, braces and for half the teenage population….periods is an important aspect authors need to embrace more. I’d like to see more publishers focus on reaching that ‘in-between’ audience (think Louise Rennison, Geek Girl and Joel Cowley) as this is when we start to loose readers dramatically. If we can keep the humour of Wimpy but add the awkward horror of being a teenager (but without the swearing and drinking of upper YA) that would be the dream in my opinion.

What are some of your favourite children’s books now and from your childhood?

4At the moment my favourite YA would be Nicola Yoon’s new title The Sun is Also a Star I’m a massive fan of dual narratives and this takes it to a new level, where you have a third narrative; the universe. It’s hard to explain without sounding incredibly clichéd but Yoon weaves these small stories from the universe that are happening simultaneously to the two main characters and melds them into the overarching plot with such care and attention that I was just blown away. Yoon does a superb job at getting you to see the world through different eyes. There’s a sub-plot about a security guard, and it seems like a tiny insignificant story and yet every time I think about her I get shivers.

I’m a teenager from the noughties so Noughts & Crosses, I Capture the Castle, Star Girl, How I live Now, Coram Boy, The Heartland series (my obsession with horses may have escalated somewhat) and Harry Potter were all very important to me at secondary school.

What are you proudest of in your career?

I’ve been very lucky as part of my role to fly to the Scholastic Fairs office in Florida to see how they operate there and it was such an enlightening experience. The scale of their operation is insane due to the vast expanse of country they have to cover so they work very differently to us (with ten times the amount of staff!). Whilst I was out there I had to do a book talk (where you choose a book of personal significance to introduce who you are) to over 50 strangers which was absolutely terrifying but totally worth it as it really helped me appreciate how we all look and read books differently.

Has being involved in publishing changed how you read books for pleasure?

Definitely! Because I have to read and note down content for all the books I feature in Teen clubs and fairs it’s very hard to switch off that mentality. I’ll be reading a book on holiday and as soon as a swear word comes up or drugs are mentioned I automatically want to highlight the page. Although to be honest most of the adult fiction I read has less content than the Young adult titles for work so it’s usually a nice change!

 How did you get started working in publishing? What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into publishing?xbntah31.jpg 

At school, although I read a lot in my spare time, I was more into science and art so studied those at A level but on applying to university I had no idea what I wanted to do so found a course that allowed me to study animation, illustration, film and TV and from there decided to specialise in script and prose. I thought I’d go down the film route but whilst doing work experience for BBC films I realised I was more interested in the books they were adapting at the time (Brooklyn and Swallows and Amazons) and so began my interest in publishing.

As I hadn’t actually studied English since GCSE I decided to do a Masters in publishing to get an in-depth look at the industry to see what areas interested me most. Whilst doing my Masters I did work experience at Scholastic where I was able to get a glimpse at each department and then when I graduated I managed to set up work experience in the marketing department at Penguin. I was also working part time as a supervisor in Topshop so was working 7 day weeks which, although exhausting at the time, did payoff in the end. I was kept on at Penguin as an assistant for a couple of months before finding a permanent assistant role at Scholastic Clubs and Fairs and have worked my way up from there.

Because the publishing industry is primarily based in London working for free can be a nightmare. My advice is to be honest when applying for work experience if you have other commitments – I told my supervisor at Penguin that I would have to leave early on Fridays so I could do the evening shift at Topshop and they were completely understanding, no-one is going to judge you for working hard whilst trying to keep on top of the rent!

book club.PNG How can students start their own Teen Book Club?

In secondary schools the Teen Book Club is usually set up by the Librarian so it’s always worth asking them first. All they have to do is sign your school up online and the leaflets will get sent out to the school free of charge. All our clubs are available online once the school is linked (that way every order still collates money to go back to the school pot) and you can get the books sent either to your home or the school.

If you don’t have a librarian see if you can chat to your head of year about it. We do completely online offers where all the students need is a unique web address linked to their school which can be sent out in an email and thus no paperwork at all!

Follow the link for more info! https://shop.scholastic.co.uk/bookclubs/about

Thank you for such an informative interview, Francesca! 


6Francesca Hopwood is the Teen book buyer at Scholastic Clubs and Fairs. She’s been there for almost four years and is determined to last five.* She’s an avid collector of stories, glitter and Spotify playlists.

You can follow her on Spotify @cescahip and Instagram @cescahop

*Primarily to receive the infamous Scholastic Pen (but also because I get to read YA all the time).


In other news: If you’re in Birmingham this Friday, there are still tickets left for my event with Jennifer Niven – and you can win a VIP meeting with us(!?) plus free books and swag through Maximum Pop! here.

I also posted a tiny extract of my next book on twitter…

And some of the intense calculations it’s taking to write:

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Oof.

Behind the Book: US Editor Alison Weiss

Previously in this series: Agent | Ghostwriter | Editor | Library Assistant  | Publicity Assistant | Typesetter | Cover Designer | Foreign Rights Manager |Blogger |Scout |Translators | Book charity | Copyeditor | Journalist

I am bringing back this series for a very special reason: to interview my American editor, Alison Weiss at Sky Pony Press!  I absolutely had to add her to my list of publishing industry interviews, because Alison is so enthusiastic and fun to work with. (And I’m not just saying that because she’s so complimentary to me on twitter…)

I feel so lucky to have an American editor who wants to be involved in the editing process as much as Alison, because that means I get two wonderful editors in the UK and US working on my writing. 🙂

The Next Together is being released in the USA by Sky Pony in Spring 2017 (in HARDBACK!) and I really, really can’t wait. I’m even looking forward to doing more copyedits (which are not my favourite thing in the world) just so that I can work with Alison more. I was very interested in Alison’s answers about how Americanisation of UK books work. So …. onto the interview!


 

What does your job involve?

As an editor, my job is to take care of a manuscript from the moment it’s submitted to me (or, in some cases, the moment I find someone to write a manuscript around an idea), to the moment it’s a book on the shelves, and beyond. I directly negotiate deals (and contracts, which is unusual), and once the ink is dry, I work with my authors to turn their books into the best possible version of their visions. I also work closely with design, production, sales, marketing, and publicity to make sure each book has its best shot.

Outside of the office, I attend many writers conferences, where I meet writers at all different stages of their careers to give them access to professional feedback as they continue to work on their stories and evolve their craft. And sometimes I find great talent there, too.

How did you get started in editing?

I was accepted into Random House’s internship program between my junior and senior years of college, working at Delacorte Books for Young Readers while learning about all the other aspects of the publishing business. By the end of the ten weeks, I knew I wanted to be a children’s book editor, and nothing else.

Still, getting a job in publishing is very, very competitive, especially in children’s editorial, and it took me almost a year of interviewing at a variety of publishers before I found my first job. Egmont was opening a branch in the US, and they were looking for a sales and marketing assistant. I really wanted to be an editor. But with a brand new company, I hoped that I’d be able to grow and have a little more flexibility than is traditional, and within a few months I was lucky enough to switch to editorial entirely.

After six and a half years, when Egmont closed its New York office, I moved over to Sky Pony Press, the children’s imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, and I’ve been there for just over a year.

What are your favourite children’s books now and from your childhood?

902Oh, this is a terrible, horrible, mean question, so I guess I need to start with Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. I also loved Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ross Barrett, illustrated by Ray Cruz, Eloise by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hillary Knight, all of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne books, the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books by Betty MacDonald, Paddington by Michael Bond, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. (This list is just not going to end.)

As an adult, my favorite children’s books include Cat Weatherill’s Barkbelly, Jeanne Birdsall’s Penderwicks books, Louis Sachar’s Holes, Polly Hovarth’s Everything on a Waffle. On the YA side, I adore Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl (this is probably the book that made me consider children’s publishing as a career), and Ruta Sepetys’s Out of the Easy and Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart books. And his His Dark Materials books. And we need some picture books, too. I’m madly in love with Mike Curato’s Little Elliot books.

And we’re going to cut me off now.

What drew you to The Next Together? 😉

I read The Next Together for the first time when I was still at Egmont. I was entirely taken with the concept of two people who find each other over and over again throughout time. I adored seeing Katherine and Matthew wading their way through all sorts of challenges to fall in love in different time periods. And I was really intrigued by the different sorts of media being used. I’ve always been drawn to stories told across a variety of media, but it’s not always easy to execute something so complex. But Lauren is a pro!

When I joined Sky Pony, I reached out to the lovely folks at Walker to see if they would allow me to take another look at the book as I knew it was nearing publication. (The fact that I already adored Lauren from talking to her on Twitter didn’t hurt, either.) And the rest is, shall we say, history!

What’s your favourite part of your job?

I love working with authors and illustrators closely to help make their books the best they can be. I’ll admit that I’m a very hands-on editor, and I like how collaborative the process can be.

How do you go about Americanising a book written for a UK audience? What do you think are some of the biggest cultural differences?

Americanization can be quite light or quite intensive depending on the project. I think the most important thing as an American editor is to be respectful of the author’s vision and the work of his or her originating editor.

A typical Americanization involves changes to conform with American punctuation and spelling—see Americanising vs. Americanizing—and often certain vocabulary, as well. Some words just don’t translate: flat vs. apartment; boot/trunk; lift/elevator.

I find school based stories hard to translate from the UK to the US, and vice versa. The entire structure and vocabulary and climate is just so different. Slang can be very tricky too. And sometimes when books have settings so integral to the story, but that will seem quite inaccessible for an American reader, it feels particularly daunting to try to create a correspondence. For instance, if a story is truly ingrained in the day-to-day of a particular part of London that you just have to know, it’s hard to make that accessible, the same way it would be for a British reader to understand the intricacies of parts of Boston or Los Angeles or Chicago.

There are many books that don’t come to the American market from the British market and vice versa. But I’m always glad when we can all find wonderful stories to share.19385798

What are you proudest of in your career?

I still get a thrill every time I get to hold a book I’ve worked on in my hands. I know how much time and love and attention has gone into each one. And when I see a kid reading one of my author’s books, that’s the very best moment of all.

How do you go about choosing books to acquire? Is there anything in particular you’re currently keeping an eye out for on your book wishlist?

For me, I always want books with strong, stand-out voices, intriguing characters, and a story I can get lost in. And lately I’ve been increasingly drawn to projects that change my perspective on the world and change me for having read them. That’s the immense power that books can have, and those are the kinds of projects I want to be involved in. 25760792.jpg
I know that may sound very high and mighty, but I think there should be books for all sorts of readers, and a story that makes someone feel good can be just as important and have just as much impact as a work of staggering literary genius.

But there are a lot of reasons a book gets chosen or doesn’t, and I’ve been blessed and cursed with always recalling that publishing is a business, so I need to be confident that a project I take on can sell. I also need to consider what titles are already on our list, is a project a good fit, and many other factors.

Has being involved in publishing changed how you read books for pleasure?

Yes, and no. It’s certainly harder to find time to read for pleasure. So many submissions! In some ways, I think I may be a bit more forgiving of flaws in a book because I know how much work has gone into putting it together. But I also think it makes it much harder for me to fall in love with new titles, especially if they’ve received a great deal of hype. That raises my expectations very high, and so I think I’m much harder on those projects.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into editing?

Soak up as much information as you can—and not just about editing. If there’s something in the business you want to know more about or understand better, go ask about it. Understanding what a contract means or how subsidiary rights are sold will only make you a better advocate for authors down the line.

Use every opportunity—even the boring, menial ones—as chances to learn. If you’re asked to make a photo copy of an edited manuscript (some editors still work on paper), you can gain a lot of insight from the comments there. When you’re booking appointments, you learn the names of contacts that will be of use to you down the line.

Read, and read widely. Being able to offer comparable titles is essential for acquisitions, in-house sales, and selling books to consumers, and you’ll be better able to identify a book as “for fans of X” if you’ve read X. You’re also probably not going to start out reading, recommending, and editing the sorts of books you may like since you’ll probably be reading for someone else. You need to learn how to identify strong writing, even if it may not be the kind of project you, yourself, might want to edit. That will help you to develop discerning taste when the time comes for you to choose your own projects.


 

Alison Weiss editor photoAlison Weiss joined Sky Pony Press as an editor after after six-and-half years at Egmont USA. As a kid, it was not unusual to find her huddled under the covers on a Saturday morning with a stack of books rather than downstairs watching cartoons. Reading and writing have always been passions, but sharing that passion with others wasn’t always as easy. That is until she found the children’s publishing world.

Her focus is on chapter books through YA (with an occasional picture book thrown in for good measure), and she loves everything from heartwarming middle grade to edge-of-your seat thrillers to swoony romance.

She’s worked with a wide variety of talented authors and illustrators, including New York Times bestselling author Nancy Krulik and her daughter, Amanda Burwasser, New York Times bestselling author Jessica Verday, multi-Agatha Award winner Penny Warner, ITW Finalist Kristen Lippert-Martin, Mike A. Lancaster, Mike Moran, Jessica Taylor, Kristina McBride, and Amalie Howard, among others. She also assisted on Christopher Myers’s H.O.R.S.E., which won a 2013 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award and the 2014 Odyssey Award.

Follow her on Twitter @alioop7 where she regularly hosts #askkidlit chats.


 

Thank you to Alison for the wonderful interview! If you liked hearing from Alison, you should definitely check out the new blog which Sky Pony have just started up here, which I’m enjoying reading a lot.

 

 

Behind the Book: Journalist Anna James

Previously in this series: Agent | Ghostwriter | Editor | Library Assistant  | Publicity Assistant | Typesetter | Cover Designer | Foreign Rights Manager | Blogger |Scout |Translators | Book charity | Copyeditor | Journalist

Today I’m delighted to be interviewing Anna James, media editor at The Bookseller, for what is probably the penultimate interview in this series! (If you work in an area of publishing I haven’t yet covered, and would like to be interviewed, please email me at laurenelizjames@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!)

Anna is very active on twitter and at YA events, and if you were at YALC you probably saw her chairing an event (she cosplayed as Eleanor from Eleanor and Park too!). She’s also extremely lovely, and has an especially cool surname.. 😉


What does your job involve?

I’m currently the Book News and Media Editor for The Bookseller, which is the magazine for the publishing industry. For the print magazine I write a spread every week about upcoming trends, interesting books and publishing projects, and small publishers. I also look after our consumer-facing content online at We Love This Book where I commission and write book reviews, author interviews and opinion pieces. I also help with the YA Book Prize.

audrey

Click to watch Anna meet Audrey Niffeneger for Elle magazine

I also dabble in a bit of freelance journalism and am the literary editor for Elle magazine which involves keeping them up to date on what books are coming out and writing various bits and pieces (I recently got to interview Margaret Atwood for them <3). I’ve also written for The Pool and Soho House. The other bit of my job is hosting events, which I love. This is at bookshops or festivals and either chairing panels or doing one on one interviews with authors.

How did you get started working with The Bookseller? Did you do any work experience?

So I actually did a History degree, not English as everyone assumes, and my first job after uni was at the Warwickshire Archives. I then was a school librarian in a big secondary school near Coventry for nearly five years which I LOVED. It was hard work but incredibly inspiring, I got to work with some amazing teenagers, some of who I’m still in touch with, and nothing beats the feeling of successfully matchmaking books and kids. While there I organised lots of author events and book clubs which meant that I started meeting people in publishing, primarily in children’s publishing.

blog

Anna’s blog

I also started a blog back at the end of 2010 – at the time I was completely unaware of any blogging community, I started it to keep track of what I was reading and also to get better at writing critically about books. That gradually grew and I got more involved with other bloggers, and built more relationship with publishers and became more active on Twitter. I wasn’t actively looking for another job but I was getting to the point where I felt like I needed a new challenge and so when the job at The Bookseller came up I applied and got it!

When I started mentioning that I was maybe looking to move more directly into publishing a lot of people told me I should apply for work experience and I was always reticent to do that. I felt that as I been working for six years and I’d built up valuable skills and good relationships I didn’t want to pitch myself as an entry level candidate – and so I waited until the right job came up that was looking for the skills that I had. Not that there’s anything wrong with work experience of course but I felt it would have done me more harm than good at the stage of my career I was at and where I wanted to go next.

What’s your favourite part of your job? (apart from all of the delicious BOOK POST!)

anna

Click to watch Anna open only a WEEK’s worth of book post!

The book post is a definite highlight – I get maybe 15 – 20 books every day at the office and it’s lovely getting to pick out the exciting stuff. I would say that really the highlight of my job though is the people I meet –  I work with some brilliant people at The Bookseller, most people in publishing are creative wonderful people and of course I’ve been able to meet some of my literary icons.

How important do you think YA books are in teaching teenagers about feminism?

HUGELY important because books are important in showing teenagers, and just generally people, about how big the world is, how many different kinds of people are in it and how differently we all think. I grew up in a pretty strict, traditional church and I massively credit books with giving me a wider perspective and helping me find my own way. Books broaden your horizons in a way that nothing else can, it gives you insight into perspectives you might never have encountered in a creative way, they’re the perfect way to introduce new ideas.

Anyone who knows me or follows me on Twitter will know how ardently I believe in feminism, I think intersectional feminism is one the greatest powers for good in the world at the moment with capacity to effect real change. Books are a wonderful way to get teenagers thinking about ideas of equality and also the importance of finding and protecting your own voice.

What do you hope to see happen in Children’s publishing in the future?

Well I’d like to see it taken more seriously more broadly, it makes so much money for the publishing industry and yet gets so little review space and media coverage. And I don’t think it should be at the expense of adult publishing, I love adult books, but I’d love to see more space for children’s books in the mainstream media.

As with all publishing, I’d actually like to see slightly less books published so that publishers only buy books they really believe in and then can really give the time and  attention they deserve to be the best they can be and then help them find readers.

I would like to see us continue talking about equality and diversity and crucially as well as talking I’d like to see things actually happening, both in terms of the content of the books but also the creators – both authors and publishers. I read to see the world and so let’s make sure  the whole world is available, and not just geographically speaking.

25259482
What are some of your favourite children’s books now and from your childhood?

My favourite books for children and teens publishing this year are: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill, Unbecoming by Jenny Downham, The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew, One by Sarah Crossan, The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell and Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead.

Oh and this great debut called The Next Together 🙂 (But for reals, I loved it).6172vy2zWqL

My favourites from my childhood are Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, The Grey Gentlemen by Michael Ende, anything by Diana Wynne Jones and Eva Ibbotson and Anne of Green Gables. But probably predictably I read voraciously as a child and teenager and loved so many things.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to get into publishing?

You need to find the balance between working out what you are really good at it but also being totally open to learning the skills you need to supplement that to get where you want to go. Don’t be arrogant but also never sell yourself short. Don’t pretend you love something you don’t, or hate something you loved. Learn to love networking. Be generous and kind. Read widely.

Oh and be patient when important older people in publishing ask you for the millionth time what this YouTube thing is all about.

Has reviewing books changed your reading habits? Does engaging more critically with literature increase the enjoyment you get from reading?

I would say that it’s changed my habits but not my taste. When you’re being paid to do something professionally there will always be changes and I just see it as something I’m happy to do in exchange for being able to do the job I do. So I sometimes have to read things I probably wouldn’t pick up and I have to read more quickly than sometimes I would like, there’s always just the pressure to read a lot and people expect you to read everything. I have to read predominantly contemporary stuff to keep up to date when sometimes I would love nothing more than to read something that’s already out. A nice thing has been that it has forced me to read more widely and this has led to me discovering all sort of books and authors I might not have otherwise found.

As you work on the YA Book Prize, a new award which highlights UKYA, what do you think in particular is unique about the UK publishing industry?

download (6)I must admit I don’t really know enough about how things work in other countries to comment in a particularly informed way but I do know that I adore the vast majority of the UK publishing industry, especially the upcoming generation who will be in charge in ten years time – I’m excited to see what’s going to happen then. UK publishing is full of such intelligent, creative, open people (especially women) who, when given the freedom to get on with stuff and try new things, create wonderful things.download (5)

What are your all time favourite books?

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro, His Dark Material trilogy by Philip Pullman and I Am An Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler.


colourdullAnna James is the Book News and Media Editor for The Bookseller. She is also a freelance journalist, and has written for Elle Magazine, The Pool and Soho House. You can find her on Twitter @acastforbooks and her blog at http://acaseforbooks.com/


In other news: I did an interview with two University of Nottingham student vloggers when I went back recently as an alumni to give a talk.

I also wrote an essay about why I thought I could never be a writer, answered some questions over on Tattooed Mummy’s blog, and found a section of The Next Together I wrote when I was 16…!

Behind the Book: Copyeditor Miranda Baker

Previously in this series: Agent | Ghostwriter | Editor | Library Assistant  | Publicity Assistant | Typesetter | Cover Designer | Foreign Rights Manager | Blogger | Scout |Translators | Book charity 

Today I’m talking to Miranda Baker, the copyeditor of The Next Together. Miranda was the person who made sure all of my tangled time travel-y storylines didn’t create any massive plotholes which my editor and I had missed. I am intensely grateful to her for noticing many issues which needed fixing – and copyediting is also really interesting on a personal level. My copyedits made me aware of several things which characters do far too often in my writing:

  • bite their lips
  • giggle
  • be thrilled/delighted
  • gaze at each other
  • look at each other’s lips
  • smile at each other (specifically quirk a smile)
  • kiss

So while there’s still lots of that in the finished book, there’s hopefully….. less!

In her interview, Miranda tells us how copyediting is done, and the difference between editing and copyediting.


What does your job involve?

The copyeditor’s job is to read the edited manuscript for consistency (do the characters’ names change halfway through, for instance) and accuracy of any factual information, and to correct any spelling or grammatical errors. The copyeditor may also suggest changes to text that’s unclear or repetitive.

 How did you get started in copyediting? Did you do any work experience?

I’ve actually had quite a varied career, mostly working on titles for younger children. My first publishing job was as an editorial secretary for Puffin and I’ve worked for various children’s publishers since then. I started working as a freelancer editor and copyeditor after my children were born.

 How does copyediting compare to the work of editors?

The editor basically looks after the book from the moment it’s taken on. As well as working with the author to shape the text, they will liaise with other departments – design, rights, marketing, publicity, contracts, finance – to see the book through the publishing process. The copyeditor, who might be in-house or a freelancer, is just involved in one editorial stage.

 What’s your favourite part of your job?

I get the chance to read a wide range of wonderful stories. I also love the technical side of editing – spotting rogue commas.

 How do you approach fact checking and background research when copyediting?

Google! I often wonder what on earth editors did before the arrival of the Internet.

 The Next Together has several historical timelines. How was the experience of copyediting this?

It was quite challenging, but interesting. Probably one of the most complicated titles I’ve worked on, but a great read!

 What are some of your favourite children’s books now and from your childhood?

ND1tsotocLike most editors, I was a voracious reader as a child. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder, Judy Blume, Alan Garner, Susan Cooper, the Nancy Drew mysteries… Anything and everything I could get my hands on.

 Has being involved in publishing changed how you read books for pleasure?
I’m not sure, but I don’t think so. Reading is still one of my greatest pleasures.

 What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into publishing?

Most of the people I’ve met recently who are new to publishing had done internships or work experience for lots of different publishers.

Miranda Baker is a freelance writer and editor who works on children’s books for all age levels, from board books and novelty books to annuals and YA fiction. Her clients include Puffin, Nosy Crow, Walker, Ladybird, Chicken House, HarperCollins, Orchard and Hodder Children’s Books, Granta and Portobello Books.


In other news: I did a video interview with the online Independent bookshop Hive:

I’ve just finished my mini-tour for The Next Together. I had a great time visiting lots of schools, libraries, bookshops and universities. Thank you for everyone who came out to see me! My next event is YA Shot on October 28th in London, where I’ll be doing a panel with Lucy Saxon and Catherine Doyle.

Behind the Book: Book Trust coordinator Katherine Webber

More in this series: Agent | Ghostwriter | Editor | Library Assistant  | Publicity Assistant | Typesetter | Cover Designer | Foreign Rights Manager | Blogger |Scout |Translators | Book charity | Copyeditor

Today I’m talking to my friend Katie, who is not only the loveliest and most energetic person ever (you might have seen her running around at YALC in full Sailor Moon costume, organising everything!), she’s also taking over the UKYA world. Her first novel comes out next year, and she works for reading charity the Book Trust too! I’m so excited to share with you her thoughts on UKYA, diversity and more!


What does your job involve? boy-with-blue-parcel

I’m a programme coordinator for The Letterbox Club, Book Trust’s postal programme for children in care. Every year from May to October, we send six parcels full of specially chosen books, stationary, and maths games to children registered for Letterbox Club. I also interview authors for the Book Trust website and help out with projects like YALC.

How did you get started working with Book Trust? Did you do any work experience?

I moved to London from Hong Kong because I wanted to get a job in books, ideally at a literacy charity. I spent four long months applying for any and every book or publishing related job that I was marginally qualified for…and getting a lot of rejections!

I found my first role at Book Trust through a publishing recruitment company. It was originally a 3 month role for one project, and when that project came to an end, Book Trust offered me a position with The Letterbox Club team! Prior to working at Book Trust I had a very different job, I was Director of Sales for a company that helped hotels manage their online reputation. But even while I was doing that job full time, I always made sure to be volunteering or interning with a book related organisation so I could have relevant experience on my CV.

 You’re also a writer yourself (with the same editor and agent as me! Hurray!). Does this affect your ‘day job’ and vice versa?

Our agent and editor clearly have excellent taste 🙂

I have to be really good at managing my time—especially when I’m on deadline! I try and write every day, usually in the evenings.

I’m lucky because I get to see a different side of publishing. With my Book Trust hat on, I mostly work with publicists and special sales directors, and with my writing hat on, so far I’ve mostly worked with my wonderful editor! It is really great to see how excited a sales director gets when one of their books is selected for a programme.

 What’s your favourite part of your job?

Definitely getting feedback from the children in Letterbox Club. It is so wonderful when they send a postcard letting us know that they loved the books that they received, or when a carer or local authority emails us to let us know that the books are really making a difference. And I love when I get to work with authors, whether that is working with an author to get additional content for the parcels, or interviewing an author for the main Book Trust site.

What do you hope to see happen in Children’s publishing in the future?

More diversity! Yes, we need diverse books, and I do think that there has been a lot of progress in this area, especially in UKYA, but we also need diverse creators and diverse publishers.

What are some of your favourite children’s books now and from your childhood?

18131A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle is one of my all-time favourites. More recent favourites include Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, The Raven Boys series by Maggie Steifvater,  Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell, Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine, and the Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens. And Harry Potter, of course. And I love Cerrie Burnell’s picture books. And anything by Frances Hardinge…this is too hard!

And there is this awesome book called The Next Together…you might have heard of it 🙂

 What are you proudest of in your career?

In my writing career, signing with Claire Wilson, who was my dream literary agent, is my proudest moment so far!

At Book Trust, it has to be a tie between working with Katherine Woodfine on YALC this year and whenever I get a chance to meet some of the children who receive Letterbox Club parcels and see how much the parcels mean to them.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into publishing?

Be persistent! The most important thing is to get your foot in the door, even if it is a short-term contract or in a department you aren’t super interested in, you never know what other opportunities can come from it. And don’t be scared to put yourself out there! Reach out to people you admire and ask if you can take them to coffee to find out how they got to where they are.

And don’t get discouraged! You’ll get there!

As someone who has lived in many (MANY) countries, what do you think in particular is unique about the UK publishing industry and UKYA?

UKYA is so welcoming and friendly! I remember being really nervous when I went to my first event, especially before I had an agent. I wasn’t an author or a blogger…I was just there as a reader who wanted to meet other people who liked books…and everyone was SO nice.  It really feels like such a community, but not an exclusive one, a really welcoming one. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of!


katieKatherine Webber is originally from California but currently lives in London. She spent four years living in Hong Kong and has also lived in Atlanta, GA and Hawaii.

She loves an adventure, whether it is found in a book or in real life. Travel, books, and eating out are her favourite indulgences.

Her debut YA novel, WING JONES, will be published in January 2017 by Walker Books in the UK and Delacorte/Random House in the US.

You can follow her on twitter at @kwebberwrites or her website.