Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Interview with Julie Matysik- editor

1. How long have you been an editor? Have you always worked at Sky Horse? I started out as an intern at a small literary agency in NYC and then moved over to Skyhorse as an editorial assistant in March of 2009. I gradually worked my way up through the ranks and became an editor--and the manager of our Sky Pony imprint--in 2011. Prior to that, I had worked as a preschool after-school teacher in  Madison, Wisconsin, and also an English teacher in Japan.
2. What are you looking to add to your list? I'm always on the lookout for fresh new mid-grade fiction as well as picture books that have strong messages for kids. We are hoping to also grow more in the YA area and are focused on publishing YA novels that tackle tough and real-life issues that teens are facing today. 
3. What are some of the biggest mistakes you see when people query? By far, the most-frequent mistake I see in author and agent queries is the misspelling of our company's name. I know it doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but I feel that if you misspell a company's name, that shows that you did not take the time to research the company (and its areas of interest) and know exactly who you are pitching to. And then I'm less inclined to read any further materials. Another frequent mistake I see when queried for new projects is a failure to change the name on the pitch letter. That's also not a way to make a good first impression with an editor. 
4. How important is it for the author to have some type of social media identity? More and more, as the industry changes and old modes of publicity stop being as effective as they once were, it is vital to have an author who has either already established a social media identity or who will be willing to pour a lot of time and effort into cultivating an online presence (through Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.). Readers--especially in the mid-grade and YA audience--are spending more and more time online, and if you aren't on there with them, it's going to be much harder to get the attention your book deserves.
5. What are some of your favorite books? I always find this a difficult question to answer. Where the Wild Things Are, Harry the Dirty Dog, and Madeline will always be a few of my favorite picture books. For mid-grades, I love such classics as Number the Stars and A Cricket in Times Square. Allegra Goodman's The Other Side of the Ice was the first true YA novel I ever read, and it will always hold a special place in my heart for the genre. And then I read a lot of adult novelists, such as Margaret Atwood (A Handmaid's Tale), Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses and The Road), Ian McEwan (Atonement), and so on.    
6.what advice do you have for aspiring writers? Don't try to write about what you either don't know or aren't interested in. It will show in your tone and presentation. Find something you are passionate about and pour that passion into creating a world and characters that can bring it to life in a creative and engaging way.
7. Are you accepting queries now? And what are your guidelines? I am accepting queries and proposal for picture books, mid-grades, and YA. I prefer to receive an email query with a short pitch and then I'll request further information if I feel the book might be a good fit for our company. For proposals, I like to see a summary of the book, chapter outline (if applicable), author platform, a list of comparable titles, and a sample chapter or two (full manuscript for picture books). 
8. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? :) Oh you know my weakness! I have always been a die-hard fan of mint chocolate chip.

Thank You Julie! If you want more info on Sky Pony Press submissions, here is the link http://www.skyponypress.com/guidelines/

Sky Pony is also on Twitter at @Skyponypress

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