Friday, January 08, 2010

Editor Interview: Andrew Karre on His First Year at Carolrhoda...

I last caught up with Andrew Karre in October 2008 shortly after he moved from Flux to become editorial director at Lerner Imprint Carolrhoda Books so I thought it was about time I check in with Andrew to see how things are going...

You’ve have just more than a full-year under your belt as editorial director at Carolrhoda Books. How did year one go?

It went very well. I work with an amazing group of colleagues and being able to work with them on the books that were in process when I arrived was a pleasure and an education. And what a great batch of books my predecessor left. It’s an impressive act to follow. Sally Walker’s Written in Bone and Vaunda Nelson and Greg Christie’s Bad News for Outlaws have been critical highlights (six stars between them), but there are so many more I could name.

I’m also very excited about what we’ve been able to acquire for 2010. I think the fall 2010 list is going to be very exciting—a great mix of new names and veteran authors and illustrators.

Has the economic climate had an effect on your line? What’s your advice to new writers on breaking in at this point?

The economy affects everything, of course, but I don’t feel like we’ve let it affect the books in terms of quantity or quality. It just means your publishing decisions need to be that much smarter.

Your company has a good online presence. Do you encourage your authors to use the Internet (Twitter, facebook, blogs, site) for promotion as well?

I don’t see how an author can start out now without some sort of online presence, so yes, I encourage. But I don’t think publishers help anyone when they simply say “go forth and do online promotion.” It’s not enough to say get on Twitter and Facebook and start a blog. There needs to be strategy and a reasonably deep understanding of how these technologies can advance an author’s career and sell the publisher’s books. It’s more work to do this author by author, but at least it has a chance of bearing fruit.

What kinds of things do you discuss on the Carolrhoda blog?

For the moment, the blog is mostly my thoughtful spot. I dump a lot of unrefined thoughts about publishing and editing and writing and whatever there. It’s also where I post submissions information.

Tell me about some Carolrhoda projects you’re excited about.

I’m excited about so many things in fall 2010, but before that, in spring, there’s a piece of narrative nonfiction for YAs that I think will get a lot of attention. It’s called An Unspeakable Crime and it’s by Edgar-award-winning novelist Elaine Marie Alphin. Basically, it’s the story of the lynching of Leo Frank in 1914. It’s a shocking and seminal moment in post-Reconstruction/pre-Civil Rights history, and there’s very little written about it for YAs (and teens were a big part of the story).

In fall, I’ve got a new picture book illustrated by CSK winner Floyd Cooper, and I’ve got three absolutely brilliant YA novels, and a new work of nonfiction by Sally Walker.

According to your blog, at the end of September you cut off accepting unsolicited submissions. Will this change in the near future?

This is temporary. I’m just way, way behind. I imagine in a couple months I will turn on the fire hose again. When I do, the blog will be the place to find out. (And Twitter: @andrewkarre)

Find Andrew Karre and Carolrhoda online:


Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

This was really interesting - thanks for the interview Alice and Andrew!

Elaine Marie Alphin wrote the great book on writing: "Creating Characters Kids Will Love" - so I can't wait to see what she does with the Leo Frank story, where there's not a lot of lovable stuff going on. Yeah, I really can't wait to read it.


Stella said...

I've worked as a school librarian for 20 years and absolutely love Carolrhoda's lovely books. They're wonderful. Keep 'em coming.

Emily Wing Smith said...

Great interview!

Jonathon Arntson said...

Alice...wait, Alice Pope, the one from the Bible, AKA CWIM. Geez, I have looked at that amazing book for six months now and to see your face on here as I blog search is awesome! Thank you for putting something out each year that should be titled, "The Official Guide to not Ripping Your Hair Out". Sorry that I couldn't leave such feedback at a different venue, but this is where I first found you, so it is what it is. Can't wait for the 2011 Edition.

I really enjoyed this interview and like that I have discovered yet another resource for my daily self-done pep talks.