Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Andrew Karre- Editor Carolrhoda Books

One of the awesome editors that attended the Spring SCBWI WWA conference was Andrew Karre, the editorial director of Carolrhoda Books, Carolrhoda Labs and Darby Creek, divisions of the Lerner Publishing group. I'd like to share some of the great insight he gave into the publishing world of today.

First off, Andrew works on children's books for all ages, from picture book to young adult, in both fiction and non fiction.If you want to attract his attention then your book better make the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

When asked at the conference what he is looking for, he said he is, "looking for everything". In picture books he wants a unique and quirky telling that is story driven. He doesn't work on too many middle grade novels, but if he does acquire one it needs to be literary. In regards to young adult he wants, "weird shit". He doesn't want commercial YA, only the strange stuff. If you are a non fiction writer, he is looking for books that can be interdisciplinary. He suggests looking at the publishers list to see what has been published in the past.

What inspired Andrew when he was younger? He loved the book I am the Cheese by Robert Cormier.

When asked what he thinks a writer needs to do to pursue a career in writing- Andrew told us that a writer needs to be the nexus of a lot of networks. He compared it to being at a cocktail party. You want to be the person everyone wants to talk to; not too dominating or too quiet.

Andrew told us that in regards to the world of publishing today, that publishers are still viable despite the rise of ebooks. He feels that in today's world, the new media landscape has clarified things for both authors and publishers. It has forced publishers to market only the best. In fact, for the first time publishers have had to prove themselves. If a writer needs the things that a publisher provides, then that is the way to go. Now writers have a choice.

What about agents? Andrew says that agents do earn their keep. An agents job is to allow the writer to write. If you have an agent you don't have to talk about money and business with the publisher and do your writing at the same time.

Want to know more about Andrew? Check out his blog at and follow him on twitter at @andrewkarre.