Friday, November 18, 2011

Interview with an Editor: Anna K. Bloom of Scholastic Paperbacks (plus a giveaway!)

Today I'm very thankful to welcome Anna K. Bloom to the blog. Anna is not only a distinguished editor at Scholastic Paperbacks, but also my friend and partner in crime for various taffy-making exploits (see photo, at right). She shares with us her insights about the world of children's literature and great moments in history. She's also giving away not one but FOUR paperbacks to one lucky reader!


(Also, check out this awesome photo of Anna as a fifth-grader, at left, of which she says: "I'm twelve and could not be excited to show off my dangly watermelon earrings.")

Okily-dokily, let's get started! :)

What is the name of your publishing house/imprint and what is your official title?

I am an Assistant Editor for Scholastic Paperbacks.


What does a typical day at the job look like for you?

In the morning I like to read kid-lit blogs to see what other people are reading and talking about. After that, I like to break up my day into Big tasks and Little tasks—so I’ll work on editing a manuscript, or reading submissions for a chunk of time and then switch to doing a few less time consuming tasks like writing cover copy, running P&Ls, or concepting cover and interior art.


What sorts of books do you edit, and what are a few of the titles you’ve worked on in the past?

I do a little bit of everything at the moment, from early readers to teen. I really enjoy getting to work on a variety of topics and age levels. I manage the early reader arm of Scholastic’s Rainbow Magic publishing program. The next one due out is The Fairy Treasure Hunt, in March. I’ve also edited the middle grade novel Winner Takes All by Jenny Santana, which is part of Scholastic’s Candy Apple line of books. I’m also working on some school based mysteries for next year.


What made you decide to become an editor? What was your career path?

I’ve always loved to read, and after a brief flirtation with journalism, I knew I wanted to be in an environment that was all books all the time. I majored in English during undergrad and then got my masters degree in Children’s Literature at Simmons College in Boston. While there, I worked at the fantastic Children’s Book Shop (go visit and buy a book!) and interned at Charlesbridge Publishing. I eventually made the jump to New York and got a job at Scholastic.

What are your favorite aspects of your job? Your least favorite?

I love editing a variety of projects. I love my co-workers. I love my favorite purple pen. I love talking about books everyday. I hate Excel. I hate getting behind on submissions.

I know that you work on some books that are generated in-house (i.e., not submitted by outside authors). Can you tell us generally how this works, and what the process is for creating and editing these books?

Usually someone in-house will note a particular content area and/or age level gap in the market and decide there’s an opportunity to reach new readers. We’ll then come up with a description for a book or series—it might be anywhere from a paragraph to a few pages. After we’ve discussed and tweaked it in-house, we’ll approach an author/s we think would be a good fit for the topic and reading level. If they are interested, they’ll take our brief idea, make it their own, and expand it into a book outline. After the author and editor discuss the outline and modify it if need-be, the author will proceed to write the whole draft. After the project gets acquired, it gets edited and produced as usual.

What is your favorite middle-grade novel from your childhood?

I loved (and still love) Tuck Everlasting. I remember feeling entirely consumed by Natalie Babbitt’s writing. I also loved Paula Danziger and Babara Park as a middle grader. After my class read Park’s Dump the Chump as a group, I immediately borrowed it from the library so that I could take it home and read my favorite parts out loud to my mom. Yeah, I was that kind of nerd.

The first book that really flipped an editorial switch for me was Zilpha Keatly Snyder’s The Truth About Stone Hollow. I love her writing so much, but this was the first book where I wanted to reach in and physically change the ending. For a while, my twelve year-old self was determined to write an alternate last chapter, but I think even then I knew I was destined to be the question-asking editor, and not the problem-solving author. J

Lastly (and most important), if you could go back in time and witness any event in history, which would you choose and why?

I would travel to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair to be there for the birth of the waffle ice cream cone. It was a seminal moment in ice cream technological advancement.


I couldn't agree more. :) Thanks so much for visiting us, Anna!





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**GALLEY GIVEAWAY DETAILS**

Anna is giving away one set of RAINBOW MAGIC early readers--The Rainbow Fairies, Best Friends in Fairyland, A Fairy Ballet, and The Fairies' Birthday Surprise.

All four books will go to one lucky blog reader. To enter the giveaway, simply email me at graff [dot] lisa [at] yahoo [dot] com with the subject line "RAINBOW MAGIC." The winner be chosen at random on December 1st.

The giveaway is now closed. Congrats to our winner, Elizabeth!















2 comments:

  1. Fantastic interview yet again, Lisa! Lots of great stuff here...And thanks for visiting Smack Dab, Anna! (I love your event in history...)

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  2. Loved this interview! And what a day of work to have (well, except for excel, lol!) Wishing you continued success! Now--I totally have to read the Zilpha Keatley Snyder book mentioned. Have read most of her books, but not that one and am very curious on that ending. Enjoy the weekend! Off to find some icecream...

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