Does Penguin have a publishing house in the UK? I've been contemplating moving abroad and I still want to work in the publishing world. I know that there are many publishing houses and corporations but I do love Penguin.
Thank you for all the love! Penguin does have a UK arm. Also Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and China.
How should someone go about starting a career in publishing? I'm so passionate about YA fiction and it would be my dream to work in the publishing industry after I finish my degree but there's not much information about getting started in the industry out there.
We’ve gotten some variation of this question a lot since we started soliciting questions! Which I guess makes sense. The cheap but true answer is that there are as many different routes to a career in publishing as there are people who work in publishing.
I think one of the best things that you can do is do editorial internships while you’re in college. Not everyone lives in New York, it’s true, and the publishing industry is concentrated here. But there are lots and lots of university presses scattered around the country, as well as small presses, and you learn so much at small publishing companies because you get to be involved in so many parts of the process. Get involved in your college’s literary magazine if they have one, or the newspaper, or the yearbook—anything that involves deadlines and writing copy and being organized and producing something tangible. If you live in the New York metro area, apply for internships at the big houses. There are also literary agencies scattered around the country (though the majority are in NYC)—that’s another great place to get experience in publishing and make contacts.
Look in to post-college publishing courses like the Denver Publishing Institute and the Columbia Publishing Course. A lot of the people that work in publishing today graduated from those courses.
And then: apply. Stalk the job boards at Publishers Marketplace and Book Jobs and Media Bistro. This is probably the hardest part, getting the interview; leverage every contact in publishing you may have. Once you do, make sure that you do lots of research about the job you’re interviewing for; don’t just know what the job description is, but also know what the house has published in the past that has been interesting or successful and what they’re publishing RIGHT NOW and even into the future. Read a lot of their books; just read a lot in general. The best interviewees are the ones for whom talking about books is just second nature.
There’s no formula involved in getting a job in publishing, and it does take some work. Maybe we should start doing profiles of people who work here in the different departments so that people can see their job journeys?
I'm a teen librarian with a question! I've often seen authors make a point of telling readers that they don't choose the cover art for their books. I'm just wondering, who does collaborate to make those covers and how much interaction do they have with the text? Thanks!
That’s a really good question!
The key players when it comes to designing a book cover are editorial (the editor of the book, and the publisher, if those positions aren’t held by the same person), design (the book’s cover designer—who might be employed in house or freelance—and the art director), sales (reps, account managers, all the way up the ladder), and marketing. It’s probably pretty easy to see why editorial and design are involved, and, if at all possible, designers are given the manuscripts of the books to read before they begin designing the cover. That’s not always possible, especially with books with aggressive publishing schedules whose production turnarounds are very tight. At Penguin, editors fill out art forms with as much information as possible about the title to give to the design department a direction, so even if there is no manuscript, they still have something to work from.
Sales and marketing also give their input, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the title. We all try to read as many of our books as we possibly can, so sometimes we’re looking at a potential cover for something we’ve read and sometimes we aren’t. It’s good to get both perspectives, because as much as you want to know if a cover fits the contents of the book, you also want to know what someone who knows nothing about the book would see when they look at a specific cover.
Every once in a while, a national account (like a bookstore chain) will express enthusiasm or lack of enthusiasm for a cover. In the case of less enthusiasm, sometimes it’s back to the drawing board.
And sometimes authors do have cover consultation or approval written into their contract, or even if it’s not written into their contract, sometimes their feedback gets taken in to consideration. It’s a different process every time! But that’s a small sketch of what it looks like.
Then ask! If we don’t know the answer, we will call upon the collective knowledge of the Penguin Young Readers Group staff and find out as much as we can.
The way the Ask box on Tumblr works: You can ask your question under your Tumblr name or anonymously (if you’re not on Tumblr, for instance), and we will answer the questions publicly here on our Tumblr.
I feel l like it goes without saying, but just in case it doesn’t, we reserve the right to not publish questions that are profane or mean or any of that stuff. Standard commenting good manners apply!
“The problem with the last few days of summer is that you can’t hold on to them. They zoom by way too fast. You live through them in a dream until they’re over. And then everything slows down to a glacial pace again.”—
Appropriate end-of-summer quote is appropriate. Our summer Fridays end after Labor Day. More than a few tears being shed in the Penguin offices over that. On the other hand: fall books! Fall is such an exciting publishing season, and there are a TON of great releases to look forward to from Penguin Teen. Just in September we have:
Notes from an Accidental Band Geek by Erin Dionne (9/1) - that’s tomorrow!
Strange Angels 1 & 2 bind-up by Lili St. Crow (9/1)*
Shelter by Harlan Coben (9/6)
Sapphique by Catherine Fisher (9/6) - this is the paperback edition
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (9/6) - paperback
Stay With Me by Paul Griffin (9/8)
As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott (9/15)
Merlin: Book of Magic by T.A. Barron (9/15)
Matched by Ally Condie (9/20) - this is the paperback edition
Wereworld by Curtis Jobling (9/20)
Slayer Chronicles: First Kill by Heather Brewer (9/20)
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin (9/20) - this is the paperback edition
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (9/29)
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (9/29)
*A bind-up is when we put two or more books in a series together in one paperback.
“You know, people call mystery novels or crime novels or thrillers puzzles. I never really understood that, because when I buy a puzzle, I already know what it is. It’s on the box. And even if I don’t, if it’s a 5,000-piece puzzle of the Mona Lisa, it’s not like I put the last piece in all of a sudden and go, ‘Oh my God, I had no idea it’s the Mona Lisa!’ I look at it more like a camera coming into focus, where the first shot is kind of blurry: You see someone kind of tall with long, dark hair, and you think, ‘Oh, it’s Cindy Crawford.’ And then it gets a little bit more in focus, and you see the nose is a little off, and you go, ‘Oh, it’s Cher.’ And the final turn, when it becomes all clear, you see it’s Howard Stern—and you should have known it was Howard Stern right from the beginning. That’s what a good crime novelist—any good novelist—should do with you. It can play with your perceptions while showing you everything in plain sight.”—Harlan Coben (via landenwilson)
“The glitter in the sky looks as if I could scoop it all up in my hands and let the stars swirl and touch one another but they are so distant so very far apart that they cannot feel the warmth of each other even though they are made of burning.”—
* Spread the word, not the galley.
* If the publisher asks for it, give feedback! Let them know if a book resonated particularly well with you. Let them know if you’re spreading the word, and how.
* You won’t love every title, and you don’t have to. No need to be the Reader Who Cried Five-Stars. Save your enthusiasm for the titles you’re truly passionate about and people will listen.
* When you do speak, make it count. The internet is great, but there are other ways to advocate for a book. Request it with your librarian. Ask if your local bookseller will stock it and tell them why it’s so wonderful.
* Continue to contribute to the book economy in whatever way you are able. Buy debuts too, not just Book 6 in the mega-series (because there wasn’t an ARC so you didn’t get it free). Donate $20 to a teacher to add to the class library, or for the kid who might not have the cash to participate when the Scholastic fair comes through your local school. If you love books, support them at whatever level you are able.
“Even if it’s a dumb story, telling it changes other people just the slightest little bit, just as living the story changes me… I will get forgotten but the stories will last. And so we all matter— maybe less than a lot, but always more than none.”—Colin in An Abundance of Katherines (via thetoneofsurprise)
Second of all, I’m so, so interested to see if any of the TFioS copies we eventually get in the office are Hanklerfished/signed in a color other than green/contain anything other than a J. Scribble. WE WILL JUST HAVE TO SEE. I promise to take pictures if indeed we find any outliers amongst our stock.
Anna and the French Kiss has redefined SQUEEE. My giggles have also reached a new pitch (haha), and my heart has not stopped fluttering since I finished reading last night. I want to live in this book, roll around in Nutella with it. It turns out I am a girl, after all.
One thing: Where was the French cinema?!
A post by Kubi whose heart is exhausted. In a good way. Really, much credit to Hanna for the recommendation. (She would not leave me alone about it.)