Interview with Kaylan Adair
By Theresa Rizzo
Date: October 28, 2008
Bio: Kaylan Adair is an
Associate Editor at Candlewick Press in
Answer:† I have no desire to acquire books about Łber wealthy teens. I would love to see more literary middle grade novels and young adult novels with unique and compelling voices. I am very much drawn to stories with heart, be they sweet or funny or gritty or tragic.
Answer: I donít accept email queries, though I will accept electronic submissions. Technically, I donít accept unsolicited submissions or queries, but I am open to receiving submissions (see below) from authors attending this conference up to three months after date of the conference.
Answer: For picture books, I prefer to receive the entire manuscript. For fiction, I prefer to receive the first three chapters and a brief summary. I only ever skim the summaries, so please donít agonize over them!
Answer: I always respond personally to conference submissions and make an effort to give some specific feedback. If I meet an author or hear an authorís pitch and am intrigued by the concept, I might put the submission at the top of the pile, but even so my response time can be abysmal. If you havenít heard from me within two months of submitting, please feel free to send a friendly email or postcard; I never mind an author checking in now and then, so long as she doesnít do so every week J
Answer: Contest wins are a nice bonus and should be mentioned in the query letter, but itís not going to make me sign up a project I am otherwise unsure about. I do like to see that an author is familiar with the publishing industry in that she knows how to craft a query letter, when (and how) itís appropriate to follow up, what kinds of books we publish, etc., but I certainly donít expect her to know everything going in. I really enjoy working with debut authors because everything is so exciting to them Ė and to me! One of my favorite things about the job is sending a first time author the very first copy of her book. What could be better than that?
Answer: Whoops, I already answered this one! But I also really love the nitty-gritty parts of editing and watching a story take shape over multiple drafts. I love presenting a new book to the sales and marketing teams and watching them get excited about it. I love seeing the book on the shelves of bookstores and hearing from kids who fell in love with it. We work in an amazing industry and there are so many parts of it that I love.
Answer: One of the hardest parts of my job is dealing with the cold, hard reality of the book business. Not every book will be a bestseller, no matter how much I love it or how much the author loves it. I think itís important to remember that your editor is on your side and wants your book to do well, so itís hard for me when I have to deal with authors or agents who think of me (or of my company) as an adversary. But I am blessed to work with some of the nicest people in the industry, so this isnít too much of a problem.
Answer: Books, for sure Ė both reading and collecting. I also have the predictable weakness for chocolate.
Answer: Spend a year in Ireland researching my family history, possibly writing a ďfactionĒ account of my ancestorsí experiences both in Ireland and in the U.S. (a la Alex Haleyís Roots).