Wednesday, November 12, 2008

GumboWriters Interview with Reka Simonsen -- Part 2

How should a writer contact you?

Our complete submissions guidelines are on our website: In brief, though, authors should send either full manuscripts or outline plus a few sample chapters to the Submissions Editor at the address below. We do not return manuscripts and do not reply unless we are interested.

Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

175 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10010

Can self-published writers send in their books?

Yes, if they are new projects. We are not interested in re-publishing something that has already been self-published, as we find that most often the audience has already found that book.

Are you open to receiving unagented submissions?

Yes—see our website for guidelines.

What are you doing to make sure your titles get the attention they deserve?

We're much more selective about what we sign up. There has to be more going for a manuscript than just the fact that it is, for example, sweet and nicely told—we have to feel that the manuscript has something exceptional that makes it stand out from the pack.

Book Publicity Departments are often overworked what do you do as an editor to make sure your books stand out?

Actually, everyone in publishing is overworked and overwhelmed! All publishing houses have a basic level of standard marketing that they give to every book, even the ones that aren't huge lead titles. For us, one of the biggest parts of this is to make sure that the people in the industry who tend to talk loudly about things they love—the "bigmouth" types—know about our new books. In this age of blogging and children's lit websites, word of mouth can be huge, and it can happen quickly and without requiring a huge marketing campaign.

How much of a book's decision has to do with the talent and trends?

At Holt we don't tend to chase trends. For us, talent has nearly everything to do with it; talent and the sense that there will be an audience of readers who will love that particular book.

If a writer came to you with their own fan base would that be a slam dunk for you?

It's by no means a slam dunk. Many things can change between the manuscript's submission and the book's eventual publication. These things can be good signs, however, and are something that we'll take into consideration. (This is assuming that the manuscript is brilliant and something an editor at Holt wants to acquire in the first place—if not, none of the other stuff matters.)

Jeff Rivera: If you need help with your book promotion contact and we'll find a way to help you within your budget.