3 S.R. Johannes: Marvelous Marketer: Kaylan Adair (Assoc. Editor at Candlewick Press)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Marvelous Marketer: Kaylan Adair (Assoc. Editor at Candlewick Press)

Hi K
aylan! Thanks for stopping by today. Can you tell me how you got started in the publishing world?

I started my career in publishing as an editorial intern at Barefoot Books in Cambridge, MA, where I fell in love with children's books. I worked as an editorial assistant at Tuttle Publishing in Boston my first year out of college, and then was hired as an assistant editor at Candlewick Press.

That was five years ago. I'm now an associate editor and work on a range of projects, from picture books through young adult novels.

You can visit us at our company website. We've also just joined the exciting world of Twitter . In addition, we have separate websites for some of our key properties like: OlogyWorld.com, JudyMoody.com, TheNightFairy.com, TheMagiciansElephant.com, and so on.

Regan Castle, our marketing services coordinator, is our corporate Tweeter and does a wonderful job of keeping the world updated on all things Candlewick. We're actively exploring ways to promote ourselves and our authors online and are very excited by the opportunities out there for reaching large audiences.

Yay! We love when publishing houses join the Twitter bandwagon! In your opinion, how important is it for an author to have an online presence.

I think an online presence of some kind is invaluable (for authors as well as for publishers). More and more people turn to the web for information about books and their authors, and the web is a great resource for reaching your target audience. And in this world of reality TV, paparazzi, and instant gratification, fans and consumers are expecting to have more access than ever before to authors -- and these social networking sites can help to satisfy that demand.

That said, I would caution authors not to spread themselves too thin (by signing up for any and every site/space/feed/etc.) or bite off more than they can chew. An inactive blog or Facebook page or Twitter account can be a big turnoff. If you don't have the time to send at least a couple of Tweets each day, Twitter may not be the best tool for you. If you find yourself spending all of your creative energy on your blog posts and having nothing left over for your WIP, then your blog may be doing you more harm than good.

Think long and hard about your schedule, lifestyle, and commitments before you jump into a new online presence and make sure you'll be able to satisfy the demands of your followers.

In addition to having a meaningful online presence, why is it beneficial for authors to team up and promote books as a group?

Absolutely! As marketing budgets are spread thinner and thinner, more pressure is put on authors to do whatever is in their means to market and promote themselves. One great way to make a school visit, book signing, or tour more affordable is to team up with other authors. You can carpool, share hotel rooms, and use the combined powers of your online presences to draw bigger crowds and make the events more worthwhile for all involved. Plus, there is something very comforting and rewarding about networking with people who are in the same boat as you.

Since you feel strongly about an author's online presence, when evaluating whether to take on an author or book on, do you ever google them?

While I'll never turn down a project if an author doesn't have a website, one of the first things I'll suggest they do after signing them up is start a website. If an author has an online presence that I feel is lacking (maybe they have a blog they only update every few months) or inappropriate (perhaps the content of their website or blog isn't appropriate for their book audience), I'll discuss ways in which they can more effectively or appropriately manage their online presence.

It's unrealistic to think that fans of your books won't be able to find your old blog or MySpace page or Twitter account, and so I think it's important for authors to be thinking about their readers even before their book is published.

As an editor, what things do you expect an author to do on their own?

This varies from author to author and book to book, but I think every author ought to have an online presence of some sort. A website is a must (and I'd recommend the website be for the author and not the specific book, though there are exceptions to that) and should include information about your book, details about any public appearances you'll be making, and a way for fans to get in touch with you. I also think a presence on MySpace or Facebook or Twitter (etc.) can be a great resource for keeping your fans up to date on your schedule, your projects, and so on. But don't just throw up a website or blog or join a social networking site for the sake of claiming an online presence; treat it as a legitimate part of your work and set aside time to keep it current and relevant.

Online presences aside, we absolutely encourage our authors to be creative and enthusiastic in the ways they promote themselves and their books. Some authors choose to make and distribute postcards advertising their upcoming releases. Others get in touch with their local schools and bookstores to set up visits or signings. Some make an effort to attend regional conferences and promote (and even sell) their titles while there. Authors should let their publishers know what they're planning and what they're up to, but really we encourage them to be as active in the promotion of their books as they're comfortable being.

Thanks Kaylan for taking some time out for us today!

Thanks so much for having me, Shelli!


mary.anne.gruen@gmail.com said...

Interesting interview! I couldn't get the links to work, though.

Michelle Sussman said...

Great post! I'm bookmarking this one and sending it on to a few friends. :)

Paul Greci said...

Great Interview. More and more I see the importance of authors teaming up both in person for events, and online. Thanks!

Crystal said...

Great interview, Shelli! I agree with Paul about the great idea Kaylan suggested of teaming up with other authors for school visits, book signing--especially for us introverts! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kaylan! :)

Natalie said...

Great Interview Shelli!

Donna Gambale said...

Thanks for another great interview! I'm seriously in awe of the amazing people you get.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great information! I particularly appreciate the advice about not overwhelming ourselves while trying to keep up an online presence. There are so many ways to social network right now - no sane person can do them all. :)
Thanks Shelli and Kaylan!

lisa and laura said...

I stopped reading in the middle to tweet. Reading her comment about tweeting at least once or twice a day made me feel guilty!

Dawn Simon said...

Thanks, Shelli and Kaylan! Great interview!

Robert W. Leonard said...

Good advice. I think many people (myself included!) are guilty of spreading too thin. I've tried to be better about it. Thanks for taking the time time.

Gail said...

Great info, Shelli! I learn something new from each interview :-)

Christina Farley said...

Great interview. Good points about using what we have. I need to decide what I want to do with what and if it's worth my time.

Jody Hedlund said...

Excellent post! I'm going to tweet this!

Katie Ganshert said...

Super, super informative! Thanks for sharing!

Adrienne said...

Great interview! I loved her advice - especially the caution not to spread yourself too thin.

CL said...

Thanks, Shelli! Candlewick is such a fabulous publisher; it's great to read an interview with one of their editors.