I believe it was around this time last year, fall anyway, that the Community Resource Manager at the Barnes and Noble where I work gave my name to a friend of hers who was getting ready to start a new publishing company. Since that time, I have been so excited to be part of this new adventure. Eileen Robinson had the idea from her years working in publishing, as well as from her own family experiences, that it is hard to get boys to read, especially middle grade boys. And she’s right. As a middle school teacher, I see more girls with books than boys. Now, I agree with a certain favorite author of mine that I follow on Twitter, no names, but there are lots of good books out there for both boys and girls. But I don’t think it hurts to go out with this idea in mind, to do something to work on this issue. So I was happy to read through the manuscripts Eileen sent me, giving my opinions on the stories, as well as how I thought they would appeal to this age group. And now, the first book from Move Books is going to be published this October. I posted my review of The Mapmaker’s Sons by V.L. Burgess earlier this week. I asked Eileen to help me celebrate my 3rd Blogoversary with an interview. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Can you tell my readers a little about your background in the publishing industry?
I landed in children’s book publishing by accident. Never gave a thought to becoming an editor but have always been an avid reader and I loved to write. Spent many summers in the library. I began in educational publishing, moved into school and library publishing and got the opportunity to work with Scholastic magazines, scholastic trade, book clubs and book fairs. Went on to help authors shape their manuscripts and now there is Move.
2. What made you decide to start Move Books?
My son, my nephews, and their friends. Every time I’d ask any of them about school, they preferred to say as little as possible about it. If I asked their favorite subjects, most responded gym, recess and lunch. When I asked if they liked reading, for the most part I received a “no” or a shoulder shrug but sometimes they’d show me a book they happened to be reading at the time. My son didn’t like to read. It was like pulling teeth. He and other boys I talked to thought of reading as a chore, something you did in school. And most of the time it was because they couldn’t find things they liked enough. Until one day, my son came home talking non-stop about this book he was reading in school. It was Diary of the Wimpy Kid. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my 5-year old nephew who reads fluently and has been doing so since he was about 3. He actually is one of two readers in his class and reads out loud to the rest of the students! Reading is definitely recreation for him.
3. What have you enjoyed the most about starting this company?
I am enjoying the process but am humbled by it. I’ve learned for as much as you think you know, there is so much more you don’t. And for me that’s building a business while simultaneously being the editor I still want to be.
4. I have a few followers that are also writers/aspiring authors. If they had a story they thought would be good for this project, what should they know if they want to become a part of this endeavor in the future?
I look for authentic middle grade voices. Do you know your readers and what motivates them to read? The books I’d like to be a part of creating are entertaining and give the reader a level of comfort but also challenge them. I want boys to care, making the same emotional investment that girls do but in their own way.
5. On a more personal note, how has my reading the manuscripts helped, and what ways could I improve my input for you?
Lisa, you are absolutely wonderful and your experience has contributed to some of my decision-making. It’s important to look at a story from different viewpoints.
Thanks Eileen for stopping by and answering my questions! For all of you who read my review and might be interested in ordering the book, it is now available for pre-order on Barnes and Noble HERE.
And again, don’t forget to enter my current contests going on with the links below. AND, stay tuned for tomorrow when I will post my very first Challenge, and I hope you’ll all sign up and participate!