Monday, May 31, 2010

What I'm Reading Weekly Roundup (or not)

Gosh, you guys. It's Monday already and I still haven't posted anything. I'm calling this week a wash. What with BEA, the Duchess and my lovely lady friend visiting up from Alabama, I just didn't have time. Plus, I've been working on a new blog to chronicle my wine group's adventures through the vintages. Check it out here, it's looking pretty good so far. I've backdated most of the entries, but I think it's going to be a really informative and fun wine blog.

I'll be back next week, I promise!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BEA = Full On Exhaustion

And I was only there for one day!

I'm sorry to say it, but after our morning meetings were over we walked the entire floor (upstairs) and the pickings were extremely slim. On the children's front anyway. For the amount of people in attendance this year (due, no doubt, to the lack of any London happenings), it was a little disappointing.

Some exciting things:

- Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury, was there doing a signing right out on the floor (Instead of in the signing corrals at the back of the center, which were disturbing and efficient). My boss saw the sign and said, "I guess he's going to be here today." And Schmegan said, "Cool, when?" And I said, "Guys, look a little to your left." Because we were standing right in front of him. He looks a little like his characters. It was weird to me.

- Saw the cover for Beautiful Darkness, sequel to Beautiful Creatures. It's essentially the same cover, which was never my favorite to begin with, only darker (in color, not in theme). Still, ultra dark cover side, I'm super excited to read the next book.

- Also saw the cover for Tana French's new book, Faithful Place. I am SUPER excited. She is a fantastic writer and I will be getting my hands on that ASAP. Better write my friend at Penguin...

- Our meetings in the morning were all extremely good. One of our packagers listens to every single thing we say and delivers beyond our expectations. It makes life good.

- My dad showed up because I think me looking professional and going to BEA makes him proud? And he works a block away.

Some unexciting things:

- The Javits Center needs to make their floor out of real floor materials. Not terribly thin carpet over concrete that wasn't even poured evenly. My feet and back are KILLING ME.

- Someone had a tiger costume on and the stupid tiger showed up everywhere that I was. As we know from my embarrassing things post, I have a weird fear of people in masks.

- I am tired. Very tired.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What I'm Reading Weekly Roundup

In Blogs

Cake Wrecks does Children's Book Week I actually wrote to them about this and got a response from Jen's hubby! So exciting!
CBI Conference - Elena Odriozola's Illustrations David Maybury recapped a LOT of the CBI conference. I'm adding a couple that had captivating illustrations to my round up. But check out all his posts here.
CBI Conference - Niamh Sharkey Illustrations
David Shields Made Me So Angry! so I thought I'd share.
iPads are fer Pirates
First Lines of the New Jonathan Franzen
Happy 75 Years, Penguin!
Book Blocks I love books. And I love crafting. This is perfect. Duh.
Roger Ebert to Write a Memoir that I will read and cherish and love and read.
I Wish this was REAL EVERYWHERE even though it has nothing to do with anything that this blog is about.
Skills & Interests very VERY good article, a must read.
BEA, a Term to Know I'll be there. Will you?
Old Timey Photograph I love this blog, gifted by Ashley, and I've been waiting patiently for a photo of someone reading a book.
Harper Lee's Novel Achievement via Smithsonian
A Beat Family Album I want to see this exhibit so bad!
Seriously Effed Up Mock Little Golden Books
Eat, Pray, Love. Gag. I hate this woman. I hate this book. I'm sure, if I was planning on seeing the movie, I would hate that too. Thankfully, Gabe from Videogum finds her to be just as odious as I do.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is being made into a MOVIE???

Catch up on Pretty Little YA Books!

Book Review for Ways to Live Forever
Book Review for The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm another one by me. Though there is a typo. And I hate that I can't go in and edit it. Grr. Argh.

In Books

Guardian of the Gate - Michelle Zink
Raven - Tim Reiterman
A.H.W.O.S.G. - Dave Eggers
Eternity to Here - Sean Carroll

In the Pile
If you have any suggestions on what I should be reading next, please leave them in the comments!

Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler
Low Red Moon - Ivy Devlin
Purge - Sarah Darer Littman
The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King
Into the Land of the Unicorns - Bruce Coville
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

Friday, May 21, 2010

PubIt, Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Barnes & Noble announces PubIt! which allows any old hack to upload their digital book content, convert it to ePub format and then sell it on

I don't know. Is this a good idea?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thanks Mom & Dad (and my 100th Post)

Lately, I've been giving a lot of thought to the fact that I've been saying I want to be a writer since I was six years old and that my parents never did anything but encourage me. Sure, there was that brief moment in high school when they made me take a class in Visual Basic because programming was the wave of the future and then I retaliated by failing the class and the final (something they are going to find out about right now because I never told them that), but they've always encouraged me to write. My mom has always called me her little author (when she wasn't calling me Boo Boo. You know, Yogi?) In middle school and high school, my dad actually freaked out a few times over making sure we copyrighted some of the really crappy poems I'd written because he was afraid someone might try to steal them. Wow. He was seriously proud of me.

In fact, I recently talked to my father about possibly wanting to get into the production side of the business, its rigidness and certainty tempting the control freak that is me. His answer? "I really think you should stay on the creative side (see also: less stable. see also: less money) of things. Isn't that what you wanted?"

This all makes me feel so privileged. And wonderful.

Thanks, guys.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In Which I Will Buy Anything Kate Spade

I had no idea Kate Spade designed beautiful covers for the nook! This makes the need to own a nook and a corresponding pink cover with the words "she kept her nose in a book" in gold foil even stronger! Wherever shall I find 259 buckaroos for the damned thing? Oh, plus the $125 for the cover I want. Oh.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson

Rating: 3 stars
Shelf: Now Reading

Not as emotional as I thought it would be and very, very juvenile (for a teen novel). Still, it seemed to be a fairly accurate account of grief, even if it is a boy that ends up bringing her out of it.

Why does everything have to be about boys?

Purchase Now from Amazon: The Sky Is Everywhere

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What I'm Reading Weekly Roundup

In Blogs

Anagrams of the 6 Big US Publishers by the INTERN
Tyra Banks to write YA Fiction and my only question is WHY? WHY? WHY!!!??
Body Image these ladies (and ladies all over the sphere) have been putting up their sans make up photos to promote healthy body image. Find mine below. (It's also a picture of me in my baby Buick, which I just got rid of! Sad face!)
Apple iPad Censors Magazines?
Peter Pan Tattoo
International Book Covers I just thought this whole thing was interesting. We discuss the difference between European picture book art and our picture book art on a daily basis here at work.
Congratulations, Disgruntled Bear!
Mo Willems and a Musical
F. Scott Fitzgerald's Signature and More I thought the F. Scott signature was the best part of this round up, especially since we were having a department discussion via e mail about how schools are pulling away from teaching cursive. Looks like young Fitzgerald learned at an early age!
What's My Department? very informative and gamey(like)
Would You Trust Juliet?
Cool. Just Cool.
Which Book Explains You? so many questions today.
LOST! oh yeah, and books. On LOST.
ZOMBIES! and BRAINS! and HAIKUS! (oh my)

Catch Up On Pretty Little YA Books!

Luisa Plaja Interview
My First Review on PLYAB
Harry Potter - Man of the Decade I'm partial to Ronald Weasley myself.
Viola in Real Life Review

In Books

The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
A.H.W.O.S.G. - Dave Eggers
Eternity to Here - Sean Carroll

In the Pile
If you have any suggestions on what I should be reading next, please leave them in the comments!

Raven - Tim Reiterman
Purge - Sarah Darer Littman
The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King
Into the Land of the Unicorns - Bruce Coville
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

In all my lovely unloveliness

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New York is Weird, Too

Uh, oh.

First, Sarah Jessica Parker said it.

Then, Patti Smith said it.

Now, Brett Easton Ellis is allergic to it. He says:

"All my friends moved to Brooklyn. The only people I know in Manhattan are rich, and it just seems like, you know, the party was fun, but it’s kind of over for me." via Vice.


Best of the Best Children's Books

Thanks to The Guardian (and David Maybury, of course, for rounding up the entire thing) we have a list of the best children's books by age group.

This summary for Little Women had me laughing out loud:

"There is something for everyone (or, OK, every girl – much as we hate to admit the possibility of gender division in readers, we sometimes must) in Alcott's bestseller. Tomboys have Jo, wannabe celebs have Amy, homebodies have Meg and drips have Beth. And, of course, because we all contain multitudes, we love all of them equally according to mood. Except, of course, for Beth. Die, drip, die."

Mwahahaha! I admit, I always felt this way about movie Beth. Not book Beth. Ugh, the worst is when all the movie girls are talking about what they want for Christmas and Amy wants drawing things, and Meg wants, I don't know ribbons or something, and Jo wants to not have to work for Aunt March anymore. And Beth says:

"I want the war to end so father can come home."

OH SHUT UP! It's Christmas! Stop being so selfless and making your sisters feel like shitheads for wanting actual gifts for the holidays. Drip.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

FINALLY, My Promotion Announcement Goes Out

"[ME!] has been promoted to Assistant Editor, [my imprint!]
N started as department assistant in 2008. Never one to turn down a challenge, N’s willingness to take on additional responsibilities made it possible for the [department] to have a great year. She has a great eye at finding not only new artists that work for the [department], but also new formats, opportunities, and packagers. Time and again she has demonstrated the ability to oversee a project through from the initial development stages to the final delivery into the warehouse."

How nice!

My Only Idea

So the Mets' game was actually sort of fun, once enough alcohol was consumed, and I didn't do any thinking on Children's Book Week. Shocker, I know. But this morning, I was gazing up at all my little friends (those that survived the move to the fifth floor) and thought they made a nice little celebratory elementary school-esque photo.

You'll find: Moonbeam Bear, Spookley the Square Pumpkin, Frances, Fergus, Giraffe (his head is down by Elephant's butt), Elephant, Elmer (in the patchwork frame. A print!), Bull from Where the Wild Things Are, Santa Mouse (he's hiding behind bull), & Greg Heffley (signed by Jeff Kinney!).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Children's Book Week!

Check it out at the Children's Book Council.

I'm still not sure how I'm going to celebrate this year. But I just love knowing it's that time of year.

I'll think on it while I'm at the Mets' game tonight, since I'll be the only person there who doesn't really give a hoot for baseball. Then, perhaps, a celebratory post sometime tonight.

Prophecy of the Sisters

Rating: 4 stars
Shelf: Now Reading

“Though some of the dialogue was a bit off-putting (the story takes places in the 1800s and the author takes major liberty with the word "whatever": 'Whatever do you mean?' or 'Whatever are you doing?'), the story itself was fast paced and VERY good.

After the death of her father, Lia, along with her twin sister, Alice, finds herself in the middle of an ancient prophecy concerning twin sisters, keys, and a gathering of Lost Souls looking to inhabit the physical world. One sister is evil and the other good - and only one can prevail.

I seriously can't wait to read the next book in the series!

Purchase Now from Amazon: Prophecy of the Sisters (Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy, Book I)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Prince of Mist - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Rating: 2 stars
Shelf: Now Reading

What could have been a really great story was just lacking in so many areas. I've yet to decide if this is the author's fault, or if something was lost in translation. I can't tell you how many times I thought - that isn't the right word at all. Occasionally - a good book suffers from a bad translator. This could be the case. Still - there didn't seem to be enough build. The mystery hardly escalated before the answer was on the reader in what felt like a matter of a few pages. And the friendships and relationships, which should have left the reader feeling... something, were lacking in true sweet and personal moments that bring characters together in our hearts.

Purchase Now from Amazon: The Prince of Mist

Saturday, May 8, 2010

What I'm Reading Weekly Roundup

In Blogs

Hyperbole and a Half Interview I just found this blogger and I super love her stuff
Books to Read Before You are 16
Literary Baseball Now I'm stuck between Prynne and Kilgore Trout
Happy Mother's Day! from Booklights
Do the Write Thing for Nashville
Judy Moody the Movie?

Catch up on Pretty Little YA Books!
I, along with some other very talented ladies, am blogging YA and Teen Reviews for the fabulous new blog, Pretty Little YA Books. Check us out! (We're Pretty!)

The Launch
A Mention on
Life on the Refrigerator Door Review
Incarceron Review

We're also looking pretty good on Twitter and on Shelfari!

In Books

The Prince of Mist - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Prophecy of the Sisters - Michelle Zink
A.H.W.O.S.G. - Dave Eggers
Eternity to Here - Sean Carroll

In the Pile
If you have any suggestions on what I should be reading next, please leave them in the comments!

Raven - Tim Reiterman
Purge - Sarah Darer Littman
The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King
Into the Land of the Unicorns - Bruce Coville
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

Friday, May 7, 2010

My Favorite Avenue

They are moving us from the 10th floor to the 5th floor of my building, to be closer to the rest of the Children's group. It's been sort of sad - I've grown accustomed to my cube. And very accustomed to having Schmegan share a cube wall with me. Even when we were back in the corporate office, we shared a cube wall. We talk through that wall. About who's going to respond to which annoying vendor. About what Drew put in his funbag over at Basically about anything that is sure to make us seem overly obnoxious.

And now she'll have an office. I'm suddenly really sad about this.

Anyway, the three of us finished packing up at around 12:30 and so we left and went out for a team lunch. We went all the way down to the village. There was pizza and vino and general frivolity. Good times.

On the way home, I walked up to Varick and was about to take the C up to Penn Station when I realized that it was only 4pm on a gorgeous Friday afternoon and I hadn't been that far downtown since we moved to the worst section of Park Avenue. I should walk.

I used to take 7th Avenue all the way down to 18th when we were at the corporate office. I seriously loved this walk. Once you get past FIT, the midtown congestion clears up and there are a ton of lovely people out walking their lovely dogs. I miss this walk. I miss it so much. Now, I take 31st across to Broadway and down. I HATE it. There's nothing picturesque about it.

So I hiked up 7th Avenue this afternoon, through Greenwich Village and Chelsea, into Midtown. So lovely! The Village itself is just so gorgeous - all those old, brick buildings. It was such a nice, long, peaceful walk.

Then I passed a guy in clown makeup, shouting into his cell phone: "He just likes you for your money!"

God. I love this city.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Breakfast & Learn - Co-Editions

Today, Schmegan and I gave our Breakfast & Learn presentation for the interns. Breakfast & Learn, though it's more commonly known as Lunch & Learn, is a chance for our interns (and anyone else, really) to learn about all areas of publishing. Since I'm always saying - well what we do is co-editions and that's different than traditional publishing - and never really explaining what that means, I figured I'd take this Breakfast & Learn opportunity to tell you what my world is like on a daily basis. So pour some syrup on those pancakes and let's learn some shit!

What I do, in a nutshell: We re-purpose/reformat existing material, bringing in great books at value prices (the economy!) that are exclusive to, you know, that retail chain.

Acquiring: We meet with vendors from all over the world a few times a year, in the office and at book fairs. It's more straight forward with International vendors - we are seeking exclusive US rights for a particular format. With Domestic vendors it's a little trickier - we are still seeking exclusive rights, but it's usually for a special edition and the book will maintain the imprint of the original publisher. At the meetings, the vendors will show us their newest line or books they've found in their backlists that might interest us. We request samples and pricing based on the format(s) that we'd like. For example, we could see a cute picture book that we think would be better suited as a board book. The vendor provides us pricing on a board book at the quantities we request and, hopefully, at the unit cost that we need to make our margins.

Deal Making: We have very tight margins. As in, make our margin or die. As in, if you give me a price that's even one penny higher than what I told you I needed, you either a) bring it down one penny and stop arguing with me or b) hit the road Jack (and don'tcha come back no more). When the pricing works (and the pricing MUST work before we present to the retail buyer. We don't go back and adjust P&Ls or anything like that. Pricing includes cost of manufacture, cost to pay your artist/author, cost for safety testing, cost for cover changes and extra elements) we bring the books in front of our buyer and a bunch of other fun editorial people. It's ultimately up to our buyer and so whatever s\he says yes to moves on to the next stage in the process.

Editorial: The vendor (publisher) is responsible for the files, printing and the shipping. We touch every aspect of every book we do, but we are still fairly hands off. This is because of the sheer volume of books my imprint prints each year, which is usually well over 500 (reprints included). We couldn't possibly be wholly responsible for that many titles! I mean, we're awesome, but. We aren't super lady heroes. Still - we do minor editing of interiors, route and approve covers, approve blue lines and give final approval to print and ship based on advance copies. I also have the wonderful task of tracking all of our books - making sure the books have been booked on a boat and are going to hit our warehouse on time (as well as making sure that we've seen covers, interiors, advances, etc when we are supposed to). Each week, I'm checking the progress of at least 300 titles.

Our Books: We create really great stuff, mostly for preschool aged children, but our non-fiction stretches up to about age 9. Our lowest price point includes mainly picture books and board books, with some lower page count non-fiction and activity books. Our next price point includes anything novelty - pop-ups, disappearing elements and heftier non-fiction and activity. The highest price point we do includes kits and seriously hefty non-fiction. I'm talking encyclopedia type stuff for older kids.

And that's basically it! Questions?

Pancakes! (are delicious)

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm - Nancy Farmer

Rating: 5 stars
Shelf: Now Reading

Let me start by saying that this book is not for every reader. That being said, I found it to be beautifully written and immensely entertaining. Nancy Farmer balances history, culture and spirituality with new age technology and bizarre genetically mutated creatures. The result is absolutely majestic.

Purchase Now from Amazon: The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pretty Little YA Books Launches Today

I'm part of a new and wonderful blog that reviews YA and Teen novels. For chicks, by chicks.

"Our team currently consists of a mixture of teenagers and adults who all love YA fiction and we are: Leah (me), Katie, Nicole, Kate, Hanna, Heather and Amber. We’re based in the UK, USA & Europe and will hopefully cater to all book tastes!"

So far, all of the ladies are super awesome and I'm excited to be working with them on this. Leah, the queen of us all, has put together a really great blog. I think y'all will enjoy it.

Check us out!

Oh and - May the fourth be with you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What I'm Reading Weekly Roundup

In Blogs

Verse Novel Challenge I don't think I've ever read a novel in verse, but I like to try new things and I like to win, so I think I'll be participating. Any suggestions, Caroline?
The Book is Dead?
Stephen Hawking Worries About Contacting Aliens Included because - it's Stephen Hawking.
Do Men Read? I mean, I think they do.
Dinosaur Comics Thanks to Laura C. Ombreviations, I wasted MORE time at work!
JARS A really interesting book club run a good internet friend of mine. Check it.
To Be Old and Sad is just the saddest thing. EVER.
Henry Miller Bookmark I feel like I'm peeking into the secret lives of people in this blog. I love it.
Are Picture Books Leading Our Children Astray?
Laura Bush and V the resemblance is super spooky!
Another Bookcase That I WANT
I Share a Birthday with Charlotte Bronte! Not to mention the 23rd is the day we celebrate the bard and apparently, April 28th is Harper Lee's birthday. April is such a good month, y'all.
Wrinkle In Time Graphic Novel
How to Slay a Vampire

In Books

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm
- Nancy Farmer
A.H.W.O.S.G. - Dave
Eternity to Here - Sean Carroll

In the Pile
If you have any suggestions on what I should be reading next, please leave them in the comments!

The Prince of Mist - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Raven - Tim Reiterman
Purge - Sarah Darer Littman
The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King
Into the Land of the Unicorns - Bruce Coville
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
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