Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 10, 2013

Free Fall Friday – Interview

MelissafaulnerMELISSA FAULNER, Editorial Assistant, ABRAMS Books for Young Readers and Amulet has agreed to share her expertise with us and critique the four winning first pages for us in May.

Melissa was kind enough to answer a few questions I thought you might be interested in reading. Here they are:

1. This is the first time we have had someone from Abrams BFYR. Could you share what makes Abrams different from other publishers?

Abrams is a smaller, boutique publishing house, so we’re able to provide a level of personal attention to authors and illustrators that a lot of larger houses aren’t able to achieve. Because of our size, we don’t really have a “mid-list.” Abrams’ is also deeply rooted in design and art having begun as an art book publisher, so there is a strong visual sensibility to every book we publish.

2. Do the editors at Abrams work as a team or do they chose books independently?

While editors do acquire books individually, we very much work as a team on projects. We have weekly editorial meetings where we discuss potential acquisitions with the entire department before taking them to an acquisitions board meeting. It’s also not unusual for editors to ask other editors to read manuscripts or look over covers just to get a second opinion, or to bounce around ideas.

3. Does Abrams try to stick to a certain ratio or PB, MG, YA, Fiction, and non-fiction with each catalog?

We generally try to have as balanced a list as possible for each season (we have two a year). We’ve always had a very strong non-fiction publishing program in both our Books for Young Readers and Amulet imprints, which is really great since so many publishers are now looking to acquire more non-fiction.

4. What is the ratio of debut authors to published author on your list?

It’s generally a fairly even split, though some seasons it may weigh more heavily in one direction or the other. We’re equally enthusiastic about bringing new talent to Abrams as we are about developing and nurturing our house authors.

5. The industry has been changing quite rapidly, do you think the mid-list authors are finding it harder to stay on the list?

I think at a lot of larger houses, authors are finding that they have to be a stronger advocate for themselves. Most aspiring authors know it’s essential to have built a strong platform before their book has been acquired, but it’s also essential to maintain that engagement and build even after their book has published. It can be daunting, but today, authors are fortunate to have so many avenues of engagement to pursue.

May’s submission deadline will be May 22nd, due to the Memorial Day.

Below is this month’s picture prompt for those of you who like them. This illustration is by Maria Bogade. She was featured on Illustrator Saturday on Feb. 9th 2013 and I missed showing off this illustration. Thought it might provide some inspiration for a story. You do not have to use it. Feel free to submit a first page from a work in progress.


WRITERS Sending in a First Page: Please attach your double spaced, 12 point font, 23 line first page to an e-mail and send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail. Put “May First Page Critique” or “May First Page Picture Prompt Critique” in the subject line. Make sure you have your name on the submission, a title, and indicate the genre. Also let me know if you were able to post of facebook or Tweet. You will get your name in the basket for each time you comment, tweet, or mention on facebook, giving you a better chance of being picked. If you end up doing more things to get additional entries, then e-mail me a note by May 20th. The four chosen and their critiques will be posted on May 31st.

Call for illustrations for May: Thank you to everyone who sent in an illustration for April. There are a couple that I didn’t get up. I promise I will use them in the days to come.

You can send anything, but I am especially looking for illustrations that reflect the month. I hope you will send something for May. This is a good way to get your work seen. Don’t wait, I will post the illustrations as they come in. Please make sure the illustration is at least 500 pixels wide and include a blurb about yourself and a link to see more of your work. Please send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com and put “May Illustration” in the subject box.


Princess Party postcard

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Hi Kathy and Melissa,
    Thank you for the informative post.
    Melissa, when you say someone has to have a strong platform does that mean a ton of followers?


    • Tracy,

      I think editors and agents are interested in seeing that you are willing to be involved in social media and you know more than just your close friends and family. From experience I know not everyone can handle a daily blog. It is a lot of work and a big commitment, but you can always use other blogs to get your name out there – Just like you are doing – and start thinking about writing articles that would interest people who have big blogs. I love when someone is smart enough to send me articles I can use that would interest my visitors. It give me a day where I don’t have to think about what I am going to talk about and it helps the person who sent it in to get their name visible to over 1700 people who visit my blog everyday from all over the world. Plus, all the other people who have signed up to follow me.



  2. Kathy,
    Thank you so much for clarifying as to what agents/publishers mean about platform, and for the info on building a platform. 🙂


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