Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Monday, August 25, 2014
Inside Publishing: Interview with Leily Kleinbard, Associate Managing Editor
How did you start your career in book publishing?
I began my publishing career in magazines, not books. Before Open Road, I worked at PEN American Center as associate editor of the then-biannual literary journal PEN America. While I was involved in all aspects of the journal, developing its contemporary poetry program and managing its print production were my main jams.
After a couple of years, I decided to give book publishing a go. I had a good amount of production experience, and the position of associate managing editor seemed like a good fit, so I applied to the opening at Open Road with the embarrassing subject line, “Your most promising applicant for associate managing editor!” (I’m pretty sure that’s why I was hired.)
What is a managing editor responsible for at a digital book publisher?
Managing editors are responsible for shepherding titles through production, from start to finish. It’s our job to communicate (and enforce!) production deadlines to the rest of the company, so we do a lot of liaising between departments. At any given moment, we have to be able to account for all of the moving parts of a title—the status of its interior, cover, copy, etc.
At Open Road, we also have a solid understanding of the file conversion process, factoring in the production concerns unique to each title as we schedule its publication.
As managing editors at a digital book publisher, one should be comfortable with the technology and understand the functionality and the capabilities of each e-reader / device. Cookbooks, for example, tend to have a lot of complex formatting, so you need to know which design elements will translate well into digital. This is further complicated by the fact that iPads and Kindles have proprietary file types, each ebook rendering differently on its respective device; a reflowable cookbook won’t look the same on an iPad as it does on a Kindle. These are some of the considerations that go into preparing a book for conversion.
They are also extremely helpful when communicating expectations of the final product to the editors and authors.
Which skills does a managing editor typically have?
All of the obvious ones, like an acute attention to detail, being able to juggle multiple projects at once, and the ability to stay calm (and keep others calm, too) in the often stressful, always deadline-driven world of publishing.
Perhaps less obvious is the ability to be highly organized and flexible / adaptable. I think managing editors are often seen as very regimented thinkers who aren’t quite keen on thinking outside the box. But you might be surprised by how much spontaneous and creative problem-solving we do every day. Each title has so many moving parts whose statuses are constantly changing. A good managing editor is someone who can create and enforce systems of organization that accommodate this kind of fluctuation.
What does an average day for you entail?
I oversee production for Open Road Distribution clients. Like many people, I typically start my day with a to-do list (which quickly gets sidetracked as my inbox fills up with urgent questions and last-minute requests). Then I finagle outstanding assets from authors, agents, and partner publishers; perform quality assurance (QA) on ebook files; prepare files for conversion; and create production schedules for recently transmitted titles. All of which would be impossible without the holy grail of production, my weekly scheduling report.
Do you have a favorite Open Road e-book?
Fifty Contemporary Writers from Conjunctions magazine—it’s a great collection of recent fiction and poetry by a diverse group of authors.
The Memory of Fire Trilogy by Eduardo Galeano has been one of my favorites since I read it for the first time in my Latin American literature course in high school. I was psyched when I found out that we were publishing the ebook editions here.
And Arlene Sardine by Chris Raschka. Beautifully illustrated and somewhat sinister, it’s the story of a fish whose lifelong dream is to become a sardine, which—SPOILER ALERT—she achieves just a third of the way into the book!
What’s your favorite thing about Open Road?
First and foremost, my Publishing Operations team. There’s a lot of support, and I’m lucky to have such generous teammates. Second, the atmosphere—there’s a lot of confidence here. You can feel it when you walk into the office. People are excited and optimistic; they believe in the future of ebooks and our stake in it. That’s no small feat for a publishing company.
Do you have a favorite place to read?
In bed, beside my two cats.
Do you have any advice for someone who is working in book publishing?
Don’t stop reading for pleasure!
Bonus question: Do you have a favorite quote about reading or writing?
“A good book is an education of the heart.” —Susan Sontag
Editor’s note: Leily gets extra points for the photo of her on an open road!
Friday, August 22, 2014
Thursday, August 21, 2014
The Best Bookish Podcasts
About: The Bookrageous Podcast mixes silliness with seriousness in their podcasts. The hosts–Jenn, Rebecca, and Josh–discuss various topics such as what they’re reading, plot evaluation, character development, and style.
About: Sword & Laser is a podcast for science fiction and fantasy lovers. It also features a book club and video show. Hosts Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt foster an active community of “sci-fi/fantasy buffs.”
3. SciFi Diner
About: The SciFi Diner Podcast offers listeners interviews, book reviews, and opinions on science fiction books, TV shows, and movies.
About: The Reading and Writing Podcast invites a different author for each episode to discuss their career, their works, and their writing.
5. Book Riot
About: The editors of Book Riot have a weekly podcast dedicated to discussing the newest and coolest things happening in the book world. Topics range from new book releases to book related news.
About: Book Riot’s advice column is now a bi-weekly podcast. Rita Meade and Rebecca Schinsky answer book-related questions such as, “Any advice for a book lover with a very busy full-time job?”
About: The Slate Audio Book Club podcast features thoughtful discussion of classic and contemporary books.
About: Every Wednesday, Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman share book recommendations, insider info from the book publishing industry, and other bookish topics.
About: Authors such as George Saunders and David Sedaris select their favorite stories from the New Yorker's archives, read them aloud, and then discuss them with the magazine's fiction editor.
About: Host Michael Silverblatt interviews fiction and poetry writers– emerging and established. Interviewees include Lydia Davis, Junot Diaz, Erica Jong, and William T. Vollmann.
About: Claire Armitstead, the books editor at The Guardian, presents author interviews, news on the book publishing industry, and book reviews.
12. Longform Podcast
About: Hosted by Aaron Lammer, Max Linsky, and Evan Ratliff, each Longform podcast features a conversation with a nonfiction writer or editor on craft and career.
About: The Bat Segundo Show is a cultural and literary podcast that consists of in-depth interviews with contemporary authors and artists, cartoonists and comedians, journalists and “idiosyncratic thinkers.”
14. Literary Disco
About: The hosts–Julia Pistell, Tod Goldberg, and Rider Strong–are published authors who enjoy discussing books of every genre. Instead of traditional author interviews, they invite authors to select a book for them to read and discuss together.
About: The NPR Books podcast includes stories from NPR shows, including author interviews, book reviews, book recommendations, and features about all things considered to be bookish.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Monday, August 18, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014