Interview With Executive Editor of Riverhead Books, Courtney Young!

courtney youngCourtney Young carefully considers our question: whether it is enough for people to write a manuscript if the thought of doing so crosses their mind. Understandably so, the executive editor at Riverhead Books believes it is different for everyone; in other words (no pun intended), like many things in life, it depends.

“I will say writing a book is a lot of work, and you have to be, especially on the nonfiction side, prepared to go really deep on your subject and on working on the book,” she told So Booking Cool. “Be prepared for it to take years to get to the outcome. It’s not easy and the hardest thing is to commit to a book that your heart isn’t in.”

Young can relate to doing something that her heart wasn’t in. Prior to embarking on her 12-year career in book publishing, she pursued engineering. She was expected to follow in the footsteps of her father and brother. However, Young realized her true passion was in English, prompting her to take it on as her new major. She worried about disappointing her family (and to an extent she did), however, leave it up to a book to become the solution. Her father would later gift her The First Time I Got Paid for It: Writers’ Tales from The Hollywood Trenches by Peter Lefcourt (Editor), Laura J. Shapiro (Editor).

“ ’Well, I guess people can make a living if they’re not engineers, and I assume you’ll be okay,’ “she recalled her father saying. The Detroit native also had a stint working at NASA in California as a technical writer, where she edited proposals and journal articles. She was grateful for the opportunity, but, again, this wasn’t her ideal career. Her vision clear, she relocated to New York City and officially began her publishing career at Penguin Random House’s Portfolio Books, a business imprint. She has not looked back since.

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Some of Young’s favorite titles she’s edited include the New York Times bestsellers What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe; Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North; Spineless by Juli Berwald, just to name a few. Young also discussed some of the forthcoming projects that she is excited about, such as Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein (May 2019), who wrote the bestseller, The Sports Gene (she also worked with him previously).

the sports generange bookThe Sports Gene is a really fascinating, wide-ranging book that a lot of people came to, and he found the thing that most people were interested in is this idea of early specialization,” Young said. “The idea that if you want to truly be great at something, especially sports, you have to start early and focus; be kind of like Tiger Woods, and just sort of get ahead of everybody else. And David was turning over all this research that said the opposite, that the people who are actually most successful aside from those few stories like Tiger, are generalists.” In his new book, Epstein presents information on why thinking broadly and having diverse experience and various interest will enable an individual to thrive.

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Young, her insight on what makes a strong editorial team, some of the proudest moments of her career, her insight on book reviews, and the other upcoming projects she looks forward to sharing with the world. Don’t be a stranger, visit Young on her official Twitter.

Interview With Marc Shapiro, Author of “John McCain: A View from the Hill”!

One of the reasons New York Times bestselling author Marc Shapiro penned John McCain: A View from the Hill was because he wanted to uncover the unknown details of the late senator’s life. However, if you are expecting a scandalous, sensationalized account, you won’t find it in this biography. The book, published by Riverdale Avenue Books, was written prior to McCain’s passing and focuses on the revered figure’s professional life, in which readers have gained compelling information. McCain was as kind as he was tenacious and was willing to work with everyone, a point Shapiro emphasizes.

“We need more people like John McCain,” Shapiro told So Booking Cool. “I mean, that sounds cliché as hell, but we really do. I talked to one person who made the point of saying that John McCain was a throwback to the founding fathers of this country. If there had not been people like him when this country first came into being, we would probably have thirteen United States of Americas as opposed to the one we ended up having in the beginning.”

In our second interview with Shapiro (check out our first one, in which we discussed his Lin Manuel Miranda biography and more), we uncover additional topics, such as the book he wrote on Donald Trump prior to his presidency, as well as his forthcoming biography on the popular boy band from South Korea, BTS. Shapiro, who is just as much as a journalist as he is an author has a catalog that includes more than 80 high profile biographies, as well as fiction, short stories, and poetry.

“The key to doing what I do is basically, number one: it has to interest me. I’m not averse to the idea of having a book that’s going to sell a lot of copies and make a lot of money for people, that’s how I pay my bills. But at the end of the day, whoever or whatever I write about, it has to have some interest to me because if not, it’s going to be a real drag to write and then you become your own worst enemy.”

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Shapiro’s approach to writing A View from the Hill, who he is as a writer, his thoughts on whether there are qualifications for writing a biography, additional tidbits about the BTS book, and more!

Interview With S&S Digital Marketing Manager & Angela Yee Book Club Partner Tasha Hilton!

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Yesterday we had the pleasure of speaking with Tasha Hilton, the Digital Marketing Manager at Atria Books, about her career in publishing and her role in the Angela Yee Book Club: Kickin’ it From the Stoop. She originally worked as a digital marketer in the entertainment industry before deciding she wanted to expand her horizons, leading her to pursue publishing and join Simon and Schuster in June 2016.

Hilton oversees the social media campaigns for Atria’s list, including the New York Times bestseller, I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart. Working on Hart’s book was an ideal partnership, according to Hilton, who says the comedian-turned-established author’s team and the Atria team made for a cohesive collaboration. Hilton also discusses the marketing strategies behind Empire star Taraji P. Henson’s Around the Way Girl memoir.

Our interview also discusses the upcoming Angela Yee book club meeting, which will discuss the New York Times bestseller and Kirkus Review Best Book of 2016,  Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill.  The event, in which Hill is scheduled to attend, will take place at its headquarters, the WOODstack Ivy store in Brooklyn, on September 27 at 6PM. For more information, visit http://kickinitfromthestoop.com/.

Check out the full interview to hear why the book club and working at Atria is important to Hilton, her advice for aspiring publishing professionals, her insights on marketing in general, and her upcoming books, including Black Girls Rock! by the awards ceremony and company’s founder Beverly Bond.

Interview With Senior Editor at Simon and Schuster, Christine Pride!

Christine2Like many publishing professionals, Christine Pride, a senior editor at Simon and Schuster, did not know there were opportunities for bookmaking, i.e, publishing. Pride earned her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and then worked at a non-profit organization catering to disadvantaged mothers.

It was during her four-year tenure at the organization as a Public Relations Associate and Director of Development and PR that she connected with a literary agent who also served as the chairwoman at the organization’s board of directors. Pride, a book enthusiast since childhood, became intrigued by agenting and pursued the industry she has now worked in for over ten years. She edits book club/women’s fiction, memoir, and some narrative nonfiction.

https://soundcloud.com/jewel-be/interview-with-senior-editor-at-simon-and-schuster-christine-pride

Hit play to learn more about Pride and her publishing trajectory, which includes Random House and Disney Hyperion, working as an editorial consultant, ghostwriting, her upcoming titles, such as entrepreneur, Joy Mangano’s memoir, Inventing Joy: Dare to Build a Brave & Creative Life (Jennifer Lawrence portrayed her in the film Joy) and her advice for aspiring publishing professionals. Visit Pride at her website http://www.christinepride.com/

Interview With Publishers Weekly’s Associate Editor John Maher!

Maher, John

John Maher, award winning journalist and the associate editor at Publishers Weekly recently talked to So Booking Cool about overseeing the web and print version, and social media of the trade company, his trajectory from pursuing music to poetry, writing, and seeking publishing jobs to becoming a reporter, and the book launch for the infamous alt-right English political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos.

For those of you unfamiliar, Simon and Schuster (S&S) pulled the publication for Yiannopoulos’ book after a series of controversial events that have offended many, including the publishing industry.

https://soundcloud.com/jewel-be/interview-with-publishers-weeklys-associate-editor-john-maher

Maher published the open letter  by Joy Peskin, editorial director at Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers (Macmillan) in response to S&S. Press play to listen to the candid and insightful interview with Maher and learn more about the industry insider. The New York-based writer has written for a host of publications including, Kirkus Reviews and The Long Island Herald and is co-editor of The Dot and Line, an online publication focused on the art of cartoons. Visit Maher at his website http://sittingoncarfenders.com/