Interview with Susan Katz, the David Pecker Distinguished Visiting Professor

Interview with Susan Katz, David Pecker Distinguished Visiting Professor
for the 2015-2016 Academic Year

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It is an honor to have Susan Katz serving as the David Pecker Distinguished Professor for the 2015-2016 academic year. Ms. Katz joined Harper & Row in 1987 as President and Publisher of the College Division and as a member of the Executive Committee. In 1996, Katz made the transition from educational to trade publishing and became President of the HarperCollins Children’s Division, which is the position she held for 19 years until her retirement this past September.

During her tenure, Katz tripled the revenues of the division and had published more NEW YORK TIMES children’s bestsellers than any other publisher. She had the honor of working with such authors and illustrators such as Eric Carle, Kiera Cass, Neil Gaiman, Robin Preiss Glasser, Daniel Handler, Kevin Henkes, Kadir Nelson, Jane O’Connor, Lauren Oliver, Veronica Roth, Maurice Sendak, Sara Shepard, and Shel Silverstein.

Katz was a member of the Advisory Board of First Book and a member of the Children’s Book Council. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Boston University and a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Jane O’Connor and one of her books Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth

Her first lecture will take place on Thursday, October 29th, 2015 at Pace University, 163 Williams St, 18th floor, from 6-8pm, where she will be discussing her experiences in Children’s Books Publishing as well as what goes into the making of a bestselling book with two of her colleagues, Jane OConnor, the author of the Fancy Nancy picture book series, as well as her editor, Margaret Anastas, Professor Jane Denning had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Katz as she assumes her new role at Pace. The pair discussed what she hopes to accomplish as the David Pecker Distinguished Professor as well as some advice she has to offer to current Pace M.S. in Publishing students.

Prof. Denning: Hi Susan and thank you for agreeing to do this interview! Congratulations on being named the Visiting David Pecker Distinguished Professor for the 2015-2016 academic year. Can you tell us a bit about what you hope to accomplish this year at Pace?

Susan Katz: Thank you. I am very excited to have the opportunity to share some of my experiences with students here at Pace. I have always enjoyed hearing an “insider’s view’ of any profession that interests me because it becomes less mysterious and yet more interesting the more I learn. I hope students will find the information as well as my stories and anecdotes useful and entertaining in equal measure. 

Prof. Denning: As the Visiting Professor, you will be giving two lectures throughout the course of the year. What do you want students to take away from these lectures? Any pearls of wisdom you can impart for us now?

Susan Katz: I have asked colleagues to join me during both lectures. I am sharing case studies which I think will be exciting to hear because in both cases the books turned into major bestsellers. I want students to get a feel for “what it takes” to make a book into a major success. I’ve asked two of my colleagues to join me because they were key contributors to creating the successes.

Prof. Denning: Many of our students here at Pace have varied interests within the world of publishing. When you were first starting out in the industry, did you know that you wanted to end up working with Childrens books?

Susan Katz: Many folks call publishing the “accidental profession.” I didn’t start out with an interest in publishing, which I will be happy to explain at the first lecture. I did start out with a passion for reading, and a love of children’s books. I never thought I would be lucky enough to have the opportunity to work in the world of children’s books, which came midway through my career.

Prof. Denning: If a student is interested in the childrens book industry (or any other aspect of publishing) what is the best way for them to break in?

Susan Katz: Start with an internship or an entry level position. Make sure you use all of the resources at Pace to make your first connections. Attend Industry events. Talk to bookstore staff. Build relationships. More advice to come.

Prof. Denning: As our students gear up to enter the workforce, what sort of skills should they develop while in the MS in Publishing program so they can embark upon a successful career in publishing, whether in editorial, marketing, sales, or production or any other aspect of the business?

Susan Katz: It’s important to learn as much about the field as possible. So much information is available on line! Read the relevant business publications and research the publishers by visiting their websites. Bone up on the industry by reading newspaper articles in the area of publishing that interests you. Be sure to study the challenges the industry is facing so that you are prepared to focus on the thriving areas.

Prof. Denning: Can you tell us a bit about our lecture that will take place on Thursday, Oct. 29th ?

Susan Katz: As I metioned earlier, Jane O’Connor, the author of the Fancy Nancy picture book series, as well as her editor, Margaret Anastas, will be joining me. I thought it would be interesting to break the session into two parts. First, I’d like each of us to talk a bit about our careers, our experiences and how we got to the place we are today, and then I thought we would explain the picture book market and each describe our specific experiences in creating this fantastic picture book franchise that has sold over 30 million copies and is still selling today.

Prof. Denning: Thank you Susan!  We are really looking forward to your lecture.

Alumni in the Spotlight

Alumni in the SpotlightRakesh Suresh is a 2012 graduate from the MS in Publishing program. He is currently employed with HCL’s Media Services vertical as an Assistant Manager. Rakesh’s role is to develop and offer focused solutions for media, publishing, and entertainment companies across the globe. His focus and desire is to take the conventional publishing world to the next level.

 

 

Professor Denning: What have you been up to since graduating from the program in 2012?

Rakesh: It’s been a great journey. I returned back to India after my graduation with a vision to take India’s publishing service sector to the next level. However, it was a little difficult to convince Indian executives to change and expand their organization’s portfolio (typical example of an innovator’s dilemma). So, I did a little introspective reflection and changed my game plan a bit. I joined Newgen Knowledgeworks as an Operations Manager, where my role was to handle a business worth about $1 million a year. As handling day-to-day operations is not my cup of tea, I had a very brief stint over there. I then joined HCL Technologies as a Presales Consultant where my role is to provide media/publishing related solutions (from both IT and business perspectives) to organizations across the globe.

Professor Denning: How do you think the program helped you towards your career, however unconventional?

Rakesh: This program changed my perspective on publishing altogether. If we limit the term ‘publishing’ to just books and magazines, we are simply missing the bigger picture here. The size of the pie is always greater than what we think! My humble opinion is, publishing isn’t limited to big corporate houses anymore. Publishing defines the dissemination of content, and it can be carried out by anyone in the world. Even a layman, who is publishing his content/views on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or a blog is a publisher today.

On that note, this program helped me to understand industry trends and the impact of the west coast (i.e. technology companies like Facebook, Twitter, Scribd, etc.) on the east coast (i.e. conventional publishing industry).

Rakesh_Suresh (2)Professor Denning: Seeing as you work in the technical end of publishing, what do you think is the up and coming trend in regards to digitization?

Rakesh: There are so many new developments: big data analytics (predictive marketing), semantic publishing, localized content owing to higher internet penetration in developing countries, XHTML or digital-first workflow, affordable CMS, CRM and DRM, customized content in e-learning and magazine industries, dynamic newsstand, technologies enabling content discoverability, value added to services through QR codes, augmented reality, near-field communication (NFC) etc., consolidation of niche products with bigger players e.g. Adobe CQ5, Adobe Experience Manager etc., the dominance of Google and Amazon in terms of advertising/display ads, content aggregation, device and distribution channels.  These are just a few trends that I can think of immediately.

The others, which are hugely discussed in almost all content related conferences, are apps, responsive websites, social media content aggregation and analytics.  I think most of the organizations have to get a better grip on these disruptive technologies.

Professor Denning: When did you discover that this path was the right path for you?

Rakesh: I did my Bachelors of Engineering in printing technology. During my undergraduate years, I felt that print books’ market share was slowly dying and hence I was curious about the role of technology in publishing. At that time, I happened to meet India’s national newspaper editor-in-chief and he advised me to pursue my career in new media, which was nascent and a hot topic seven years back. Hence, my game plan was to know/understand hardcore software development before I ventured myself into the business aspect of publishing.

The Publishing program really helped me understand the intricacies of the publishing business. My internship with Hachette Book Group and the many guest lectures I heard steered me in the right direction and paved the way for my growth.

Professor Denning: What advice do you have for other students who want to stray away from the traditional publishing path?

Rakesh: My input (not advice) to the future achievers/aspirants is not to negate the impact of technology in our daily lives. As I mentioned earlier, publishing isn’t limited to books and magazines. It’s all about content, content, and content. Content is and will be in ‘bits’ going forward! If you can have a strong foundation in technology and business, success is not far away.

The world is in dire need of content experts who not only understand the business but also enable organizations to reach their audiences at the right time and the right place through the right channel.

HCL-TechnologiesProfessor Denning: What did you write your thesis on? And what advice do you have for those about to write their thesis?

Rakesh: My thesis was entitled ‘Searching for the Perfect Methods to Forecast Recurring Demand in Trade and Academic Publishing Supply Chain.’ I think the industry is still in search of a perfect method and, I think it will always be a combination of few methods.

My advice to students: stay focused on what you are passionate about. It is great if you can challenge the status quo. Never hesitate to talk to professors about your topic and objective. In my case, they were so kind and helped me to connect with industry people like Thomas Di Mascio, Linda Bathgate, and Jason Epstein, who not only gave clarity on the topic but also shared valuable industry insights.

Professor Denning: How important is it to network, even on the digital side of publishing?

Rakesh: It helps us to understand:

  • The current reality of the industry, and test the waters before you make a decision about your career
  • Your skill gaps or your areas that need improvement
  • Redefine your game plan/strategies at the right time
  • Envision the future of the industry/business units
  • Understand how the micro-level implementation impacts the macro-level objective
  • Thinking on our own feet – It gives an opportunity to examine our own mental models
  • Learn how to land in a job, if you are interested.

Professor Denning: What kind of skills do you need to enter your line of work?

Rakesh: A blend of IT and business knowledge. Analytical thinking. A love for new technologies and an interest to learn new things around the clock. More importantly, be willing to agree that the known is a little drop, the unknown is an ocean.

Professor Denning: Considering you have a unique view of the industry, what is something important for our students to know about publishing that they may not know otherwise?

Rakesh: Most of the processes are getting automated, and they are challenging and demanding (both in terms of development and usability). Several small software applications created with a well-defined focus can bring a paradigm shift to the organization. For example: subscription and distribution of eBooks, implementation of workflow management software, a seamless editorial management system, etc.—these not only change an organization’s capability matrix but also test employees’ skills and talent.

Every organization is looking out for innovative ways to monetize its content, for which technology is acting as their sole partner. To put it in a nutshell, publishing companies are becoming more of a content service provider backed by technology.

Publishing is evolving into a newer form, which embraces faster, personalized, user-generated content, new ways of digital storytelling and content sharing etc., and seamless integration with all sorts of devices.

Professor Denning: Where do you see the publishing industry headed in the next 5, 10, 15 years?

Rakesh: I wish I could!! It is really difficult to predict the future of the publishing industry over the long term at this juncture. That said, we can be sure of one thing: publishing is going to be more dynamic than ever before.

Technology is playing a key role in defining an organization’s strategy and the rate at which it should grow. Every aspect of publishing like format definition, distribution, editing, production, monetizing the backlist, the role of print and eBooks, etc. is changing faster than we ever dreamt of. It is an optimistic sign, and I personally envision many innovative business models evolving by collaborating with technology companies in the imminent future.

Publishing companies will have their own indigenous product development and R&D team, which will bring out innovative deliverables in conjunction with the latest technologies in real time. For example, recent research indicates that Augmented Reality (AR) apps currently generate $300 million in revenue. These apps could potentially earn $5.2 billion by 2017. In terms of print, it is going to be specialty products that can support smelling, tasting, augment reality, and offer innovative packaging to name a few. To sum it up, the focus would usher in a strategy fueled by technology, innovation, global markets, and strong ties with end users.

Thank you, Rakesh!

Interview with Paul Levitz, David Pecker Distinguished Visiting Professor for the 2014-2015 Academic Year

paullevitzIt is an honor to have Paul Levitz serving as the David Pecker Distinguished Professor for the 2014-2015 academic year.  Mr. Levitz is a comic fan, editor, writer, and executive.  He formerly was president and publisher of DC Comics and presently teaches Publishing Comics and Graphic Novels and Publishing Transmedia at Pace University.  He is currently working on a book on Will Eisner and the birth of the graphic novel for Abrams Comic Arts.

To read Professor Levitz full biography, click here.

His first lecture will take place tomorrow, Thursday, October 30, 2014 at Pace University, 163 Williams St, 18th floor, from 6-8p.m., where he will be discussing how we as publishers define our mission in an era when our own audiences are constantly connected: to each other and to the flow of raw data, old and new.

Professor Jane Denning had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Levitz as he assumes his new role.   The pair discussed what he hopes to accomplish as the David Pecker Distinguished Professor as well as some advice he has to offer to current Pace M.S. in Publishing students.

Prof. Denning:  Hi Paul, thank you for agreeing to do this interview!  Congratulations on being named the Visiting David Pecker Distinguished Professor for the 2014-2015 academic year.  What do you hope to accomplish this year at Pace?

Prof. Levitz:  Thanks, Jane.  I’d like to extend my reach to the students who aren’t able to take my two courses.  I haven’t had the courage to do online teaching, so I miss out on a fair number of the program’s students, and hopefully the lectures will be available to them.

Legion of SuperheroesProf. Denning: As the Visiting David Pecker Distinguished Professor, you are expected to give two lectures throughout the course of the year.  What do you want students to take away from these lectures?  Any pearls of wisdom you can impart for us now?

Prof. Levitz:  I don’t know if they count as pearls of wisdom, but I’m exploring the future of publishing models in my first lecture, since the world around us is changing so rapidly.  One of the points I make is that publishing has to move from a banking model to more of a venture capital approach…but to make sense out of that you probably have to listen to the whole talk.
Prof. Denning: Many of our students here at Pace have varied interests within the world of publishing.  When you were first starting out in the industry, what prompted you to pursue the publishing of comics and graphic novels?

Prof. Levitz: Comics is a very unusual field in its accessibility, and even more so when I was a kid.  Because of the structure of comic conventions and the zine world, I was able to get to know most of the industry’s creative people while I was in high school.  That’s not possible today, and would have been impossible in the ‘70s if I had made a similar effort in other publishing worlds that I loved, from sf to mysteries to the magazine field.

The Golden Age of DC ComicsProf. Denning:  As the President and Publisher of DC Comics for eight years you have a unique perspective on the industry, are there any recent developments/trends in the comic book industry that you’ve noticed?  Where do you think comics and graphic novels are headed given that so many beloved characters are being brought to life on the big screen (i.e. The Amazing Spider-man, Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World)?
Prof. Levitz: The movies bring a lot of fresh capital to the comics field and its creators, but it’s much more interesting to me to watch the explosion of new subjects and genres that are being explored in graphic novels.  In Japan, the manga market is about a third of their publishing industry, compared to the 2% of ours that is comics-driven.  The wide range of subjects for manga is part of that, and I’m hopeful that as our subject range continues to increase, so will our share of publishing.

Prof. Denning:  If a student is interested in the comic book industry, what is the best way to break in?  Should they be attending Comic Con?

Prof. Levitz: Comic conventions are great places to learn about the field, and you don’t have to start with the giant shows.  Smaller events like MoCCA Fest, here in New York, or Comic Art Brooklyn, are great ways to get a taste of the avant garde of comics…and full of young people with so much in common with our students.  The energy is amazing.   And another approach is simply to hit a great comic shop, and start talking to the folks behind the counter.  Even more than indie bookstores, comic shops tend to have passionate fans of the field working there.

Prof. Denning:  As our students gear up to enter the workforce, what sort of skills should they really develop while in the program so they can embark upon a successful career in publishing, whether in editorial, marketing, sales, or production or any other aspect of the business?

World's FinestProf. Levitz: Learn all the technical skills they can: photoshop, in design, programs for e-book creation, and enough accounting for self-defense.  Use your social media time to see how publishers and authors function in that space, and think about how it can be done better—so many of our students’ first jobs are social media-related now.  Learn how publishing companies think: that’s one of the virtues of having professors who have functioned in the industry.  Develop the habits of a publishing person: don’t browse looking for books you like, stalk a bookstore for knowledge, paying attention to which companies are publishing which titles, what seems to be selling, and watch how people make their selections.   And develop networking skills: the people you meet in this program will include folks whose career paths will intertwine with yours.

Alumni in the Spotlight–Robb Pearlmann and Jessica Napp

For this month’s Alumni in the Spotlight, Jessica Napp (2000) interviews her fellow alumna and colleague, Robb Pearlman (1994). 

Robb PearlmanRobb Pearlman is the Associate Publisher of Universe Books, Calendars, and Licensing at Rizzoli New York, and is the editor of pop culture titles including The Joker: An Illustrated History of the Clown Prince of CrimeZombies on FilmThe Princess Bride: A Celebration, and Stuck on Star Trek. He is the author of Fun with Kirk and Spock (Cider Mill Press, 2014), 101 Ways to Kill a Zombie (Universe, 2013), Nerd Haiku (Lyons Press, 2012), Spoiler Alert!: Bruce Willis Is Dead and 399 More Endings from Movies, TV, Books, and Life (Lyons Press, 2010), The Q Guide to Sex and the City (Alyson, 2008), and the upcoming Game of Thrones: In Memoriam and Game of Thrones: The Starks (both Running Press, 2015), and 101 Ways to Use a Unicorn (Universe, 2015); two books for children: Leaf Dance (Little Simon, 2001), Passover is Here! (Little Simon, 2005), and the upcoming Groundhog’s Day Off (Bloomsbury, 2015); as well as two storybook engagement calendars: Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (Universe, 2011) and Disney’s Winnie the Pooh (Universe, 2011). Robb has had successful events and signings around the country including San Diego ComicCon, New York ComicCon and BookCon, the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention, and book and comic book retailers in Los Angeles, New York, and New Jersey. He has performed at the Nerdnite Nerdtacular, and has had essays featured on the Los Angeles and Las Vegas CBS websites, HuffingtonPost.com, and StarTrek.com.

Jessica Kapp

 

Jessica Napp is currently Associate Director of Publicity at Rizzoli New York, an integral part of its parent company, the Italian communications giant RCS Media Group.  Rizzoli New York is a leader in the fields of art & architecture, interior design, photography, haute couture, gastronomy, performing arts, and gay & alternative lifestyles.  She is also the VP of Communications for the Women’s National Book Associaton (WNBA) NYC Chapter and the PR and Marketing rep to Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, NY. To read a complete interview with Jessica, click here.

 

In a galaxy far, far away, two Pace MS Publishing alums happened to meet on the job and for the last seven years they have been working together in harmony!

When I started working at Rizzoli in 2007 it was a surreal experience. On the one hand, I knew a handful of people from previous jobs, so in some ways, those early transitional days were super easy because at least 5 people knew my name. On the other, I was the stereotypical new kid, needing to learn a whole new crop of names and faces. And in that mix was Robb!  I had heard of Robb before, but somehow we had yet to meet. I worked with his partner at Abrams, we had both worked at S&S, but in different divisions, and now, here we stood in the halls of Rizzoli, circling and bantering, and realizing we had one more connection (other than good taste in people) – The MS in Publishing program at Pace!

Our working relationship over the years has evolved into a friendship like no other, so I am proud to have had the opportunity to interview Robb for this blog.  Now, mind you, if you can’t keep up with Robb, don’t read the post. Synapses will be firing on all levels and not laughing is not an option.

Jessica:  Hi Robb, and thank you for agreeing to do this interview. It has been 20 years since you graduated from the MS in Publishing program. Can you tell us a bit about what you have been doing and how your career has developed since then?

Robb: Hi Jessica, it’s my pleasure, and thanks so much for reminding me how old I am. I can’t believe it’s been that long! After graduating from Pace, I worked in the subsidiary rights departments for Disney/Hyperion and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. I decided to transition to the editorial side of things, and moved to Rizzoli as a senior editor. I’m now the Associate Publisher of Universe Books, Calendars, and Licensing. I acquire and edit pop culture, entertainment, and children’s books such as Zombies on Film, The Princess Bride: A Celebration, The Bow Tie Book, Miroslav Sasek’s This is The World, and The Joker: An Illustrated History of the Crown Prince of Crime; I direct our calendar program, which publishes calendars based on television and movie properties like Star Trek, Game of Thrones, Family Guy, Downton Abbey, Clueless, and Dirty Dancing, institutions like MoMA, The National Gallery of Art, Amnesty International, The Library of Congress, and artists including Masha D’yans, Lotta Jansdotter, Rob Ryan, and Vermeer. I’m very lucky that my geeky personal interests serve me well in my professional life!

Fun with Kirk and SpockJessica: Please tell me a bit about how your educational experience at Pace prepared you for your publishing career.

Pace gave me a working knowledge of all of the different departments and functions that make up a publishing company. As if my inability to do simple arithmetic wasn’t enough, I knew, thanks to my accounting class, that I would be completely ill suited to working in finance.  Anywhere. In any capacity whatsoever. My first publishing job was in the subsidiary rights department, and I know I would never have known what a subsidiary right was without the class I took at Pace. It’s funny, so many people—even those working in publishing—don’t understand what the department does, but subsidiary rights are a huge moneymaking revenue stream for any company. Working in that department also gave me access to every other department, both inside the company and in my licensees. I was able to work with the editorial, sales, and marketing teams at the home and school book clubs and fairs, large print and audio publishers, and scouts and producers at studios and production companies. While at Simon & Schuster, I was the brand manager for Raggedy Ann, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys, and I was able to reach back to my legal and financial classes at Pace when negotiating licensing contracts. Pace gave me the multi-faceted groundwork upon which I could build my career (and my calculator gave me the ability to calculate royalty percentages.)

101 Ways to Kill a ZombieJessica: Have you always been interested publishing? Where did that passion come from?

Robb: I have. Even when I was young, maybe six or seven, I was interested in the idea of publishing- how books came to be in the library or bookstore, how the words got on the pages, the pages into the book, the books onto the shelves. I could spend hours in the bookstore or library, just surrounding myself with piles of books and thumbing through them all. One of the first books I tried to take out of the library was, coincidentally, a Hardy Boys book.  I was tripped up by the word “motorcycle,” so my mom and the librarian steered me toward the more age-appropriate early readers. I was very fortunate to have parents who valued reading and education, so I was never without easy access to a book.  Plus, as an only child, it was a great way for me to entertain myself on rainy days or, thanks to my debilitating allergies and hatred of playgrounds, a delightful summer’s day. I wrote my first book in fourth or fifth grade—it was called “Herbie” and was about a blueberry or a Smurf knockoff of some sort.  I wrote and illustrated it, and, with my aunt’s help, bound it into a hardcover book. I still have it on my bookshelf next to my other books. Unlike some of today’s bestsellers, the binding has held even after all this time! One of the best gifts I ever received was an electric typewriter. It weighed about a million pounds and had a tendency to overheat and melt the ribbon. The vibrating keys would often make my fingers numb, but it was entre into the world of writing something for myself.

Robb Pearlman at ComicCon

Jessica: What do you think are the essential skills current students need to leave the program with in order to succeed in the industry?

Robb: Given that publishing a book is a collaborative endeavor, one of the most important skills is to listen and appreciate what other people have to say. Now that’s not to say that other people are right all the time—they’re not—but no department or person works alone, and without cooperation and open discussion nothing’s going to happen. And if something does happen, it’s not going to work as well as you think it would. I think it’s invaluable to understand, at least minimally, what other departments do, and the reasons they do them. With the exception of sociopaths, your colleagues are going to want each and every book to succeed. I think Pace’s ability to provide insight into all aspects of the publishing process is an invaluable tool to understanding other perspectives on the process. In order to thrive, you have to be able to adapt to the changes in the industry and the world. Holding on to the past, and resenting the present state of affairs, whether it’s ebooks or lack of retailers or trends in reading, is self-defeating. Things are changing every day, and if you don’t allow yourself to continue to learn, try new things, and new ways of doing things, you’re going to dig yourself into such a rut the young whippersnappers tweeting and posting and blogging are going to leave you behind and you’ll be archived along with the fax machines and word processors.

Spoiler AlertJessica: In addition to your day job as Associate Publisher, you are also an author.  Tell us about the books you have written and what it is like to be on both sides of the industry.

Robb: I’ve written 10 books so far, with (hopefully) three or four more on the way in 2015 and 2016.  I write pop culture books, like Fun with Kirk and Spock Kirk-Spock, which mashes up the classic Dick and Jane books and the crew of the Enterprise, 101 Ways to Kill a Zombie, 101 Uses for a Unicorn, Nerd Haiku, and Spoiler Alert, in which I give away the endings to books, movies, television shows, and life.  Editing and writing are two different skills, and it’s fun for me to use both parts of my brain. It’s a great privilege to be able to be on both sides of the publishing equation, and I don’t take it lightly. I know what editors go through every day, so I try to make the process as smooth for them as possible. I make sure my editor understands that I know what the process is, how important deadlines are, and that I know what they’re going through.  I do my best not to get too “authory” on them- meaning I’ll try to keep my demands to appear on Good Morning America and at the top of the New York Times bestseller list to a minimum. You think I’m kidding, but these are things authors have said to me. That and “I’m sure Oprah would give a blurb for this if you would just ask her.” I think I’ve done pretty well on that front—to my count I’ve only had one unpleasant discussion (and my editor and I were on the same side of that discussion), but you’d have to ask my editors about that.

Thanks, Robb!  I appreciate you taking the time to do this interview. Can we go to ComicCon already? 

Student Spotlight: Kimberly Richardson

Kimberly Richardson is the intern for Linda Epstein at the Jennifer de Chiara Literary Agency, and is currently a graduate student in the MS Publishing program at Pace University. You can follow Kimberly on Twitter @kimberly_ann688 and expect to see her monthly blog posts on the Blabbermouth Blog “Dish from the Literary Agent Intern.”  Read her post on the Blabbermouth Blog!

 

Kimberly Richardson
Kimberly Richardson

Hi all! I’m Kimberly and currently a graduate student in the MS Publishing program at Pace University. I got my BA in English from Queens College and live on Long Island. Having been born and raised in upstate New York, I was inexplicably drawn to the City and at 18 made the move down. Since moving here I have experienced the beauty of the beaches and the enthralling, gritty factor of the City.

I worked at a funeral home while getting my BA and really enjoyed being able to help people. While there, I decided I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Having an English degree and failing to grab a job as an editorial assistant (or any publishing industry assistant for that matter) I knew I had to take a plunge; one that would help me in making connections and be a more appealing employee in the career I was seeking. So I applied to Pace and now I’m pursuing a dream I didn’t even know I had. I love the program and am even more excited about the people I am meeting and the opportunities that are unfolding. I didn’t realize this program would open so many doors and give me confidence in deciding where I want my degree to take me.

Deciding on this path shouldn’t have been as hard as I made it for the simple fact that I have always loved books. I began really reading with the American Girl series in third grade and I remember being captivated by how the story unfolded on the pages. Before that I hadn’t really grasped the power words could have on a person or their imagination. Throughout middle school and high school I read anything I could get my hands on and read a lot of fantasy, sci-fi and crime thriller (think Michael Crichton, Thomas Harris, J.K. Rowling). The books during those years, especially Harry Potter, defined the kind of reader I was becoming. Books helped shape the way I thought and felt and my imagination. Today, I still find nothing more satisfying than finishing a book I’ve been able to connect with and continuing to read books that influence who I am.

As any good student, I love reading, writing, and learning. I always say that if I could go to school for the rest of my life without becoming broke I would. For me, education and reading go hand in hand. I am looking forward to this internship with Linda, this next semester of school, and all the wonderful people I’m going to meet while continuing on this path!