Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 21, 2017

July Featured Editor – Mira Reisberg

Dr Mira Reisberg editor at Clear Fork Publishing’s children’s imprint Spork has agreed to be our featured editor for the month of July and critique four first pages. Besides being an editor, she is a multi-published, award-winning children’s book illustrator and author whose books have sold over 600,000 copies. She also runs and continues to help children’s book writers and illustrators get published with the courses she conducts at the Children’s Book Academy. In a former life not too long ago, Mira was a literary agent and a children’s literature professor. She has a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies with a focus on kid lit.

Here is Part Two of my interview with Mira:

Do the illustrators you sign to illustrate Spork’s picture books sign work for hire contracts?

No. Getting a flat fee for work for hire is not a great deal for illustrators unless it’s a self publishing job and it pays decently or it’s fabulously well paid. Spork doesn’t give a big advance but it gives really good royalties instead that are much better than industry standards. So over the long term it’s a really good deal.

Do you provide editorial feedback to writers that you work with?

Yes I’m definitely an editorial Editor pushing those I work with to deepen meanings or humor, create more dramatic scenarios, amp up their characters, and play with language more. I think my PhD training made me pretty analytical which helps with looking at plot flaws and inconsistencies.

Do you have a plan for how many picture books you would like to sign in your new position?

Yes, I only want to sign 2 to 3 books so that I can do the best I can with them and have some kind of balance with the Academy, Spork, my own creativity, and if possible having a little bit of a life. I am much more interested in quality than quantity.

Did Clear Fork close picture book submissions to give you more time to get settled?

Yes, time to get settled and to do more in depth editing and art directing on the already contracted books.

Clear Fork has only closed picture books submissions so that we can catch up on the backlog of already signed books and so that I can acquire 2 to 3 myself. It takes time to make wonderful high-quality books and set up good promotional systems. Once this is all set up, we will be accepting more picture books so that the press can be sustainable and do quality books.

Are you planning on taking Spork in a new direction?

No it’s not a new direction, we just need to set up good systems to do fewer books per year that are of a much more consistently higher quality and once we’ve finished editing and art directing the currently contracted picture books and gotten them out into the world in a good way, plus some select new ones that I’ll be acquiring, then we’ll be opening up to picture book submissions again.

Working for Spork is such a wonderful extension of what I’ve already been doing for a long time in helping bring beautiful or fun or meaningful books into the world, and a big bonus is that working with Callie is a real joy and getting to help my students even more is a big thrill.

Tell us a little bit about The Children’s Book Academy.

The Children’s Book Academy is my baby and I love it and my students very much. I took the job with Spork to help my students who were already contracted with them as well as future students who will be. As you can probably tell from what I’ve already written I am being very cognizant of the need to pace myself so that both Academy students and Spork do really well. I made the mistake when I was a literary agent of signing too many people and doing too much editorial work and it cost me my health and sanity for a period. I learned the hard way that need is infinite and I am finite so my task will be finding balance and doing a better job of time management and not signing stories or illustrators that need a lot of work.

Children’s Book Academy mailing list with free webinars, big discounts and other goodies

The Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books – a highly interactive time-flexible e-course taught by two editors

The Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s e Books – a highly interactive time-flexible e-course taught by two art directors  (will be updating soon)

Fab free mini-course/webinar The Pleasures (and how to) of Writing Humor and Heartbreak for Kids–heartbreak.html

Bio: Mira Reisberg has helped MANY authors and illustrators get published. She has worn just about every hat in the industry including illustrator, author, and literary agent. Mira holds a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies with a focus on children’s literature. She has taught children’s literature courses at Washington State University, Northern Illinois University, San Francisco City College Extension, and US Berkeley Extension. Mira also works as an editor and art director at Clear Fork Publishing’s children’s book imprint Spork and is an award-winning children’s book illustrator and writer. You can follow her on Twitter at @ChildrensBookAc

Stop back next Friday to read the four first page critiques from Mira.

Talk tomorrow,


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