When you have the pleasure of chatting with Kate Napolitano, two things become abundantly clear about the senior book editor: she is as passionate about books and loves hyping them up as she says she does; and two, she is a go-getter. Originally, the editor of You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson, wanted to be a teacher, but later changed her mind. It wasn’t until a conversation with her professor during office hours, that The College of New Jersey graduate was introduced to the idea of working in publishing. Though the profession seemed inaccessible, the thought of working with writers resonated with Napolitano, who majored in Literature.
Her first publishing opportunity was with Rutgers University Press. She would then land an internship at Viking and continue to climb the editorial ladder at Penguin Random House. As of November 2017, she is a member of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt family. This May makes 10 years in her career. In 2016, Publishers Weekly selected her as one of the Star Watch honorees. Three years later, among her goals as a publishing professional is to prove that millennials do buy books, as well as helping to make sure that all voices are being represented in the book world.
“We’re now in an era where we see that the millennial demographic is reading more and reading more physical books than ever before, which is great and really hopeful for me,” Napolitano shared with So Booking Cool. “We need to publish books for all different types of readers and that means involving a lot of different perspectives. Publishing has been historically very white, straight, female of a very particular socioeconomic class, generally speaking. And I think we’re having very important conversations about how this can shift.”
Listen to the interview to learn more about Napolitano, her insight on editorial work and internships, consumerism, which types of celebrity books appeal to the masses, some of the challenges in her career, why she can’t choose just one favorite author, and some of her upcoming releases including book by the creators of The Hard Times website and now podcast; We Should all be Mirandas, which is based on the popular Instagram account Every Outfit on Sex & the City; Buzzfeed’s Anne Helen Petersen’s Can’t Even (Napolitano and Peterson collaborated on Petersen’s previous book, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud); writer and humorist, Cazzie David; and writer, comedian, and actress, Quinta Brunson (A Black Lady Sketch Show), to name a few.