Saturday, August 3, 2013

Editor Panel: Melissa Manlove

Melissa Manlove is a total mensch—not only is she willing to be searched for in tonight's faculty scavenger hunt, she's been a great addition at any conference I've ever seen/heard her at, she shows you stuff on her iPad (AND THEN LET'S YOU HOLD THE iPAD), she used to be a bookseller and still helps out at one on Saturdays (besidesand she has delightful footwear.
Melissa with the amazing Grace Lin, ( picture stolen from the amazing Anna Alter blog (

She's been an editor at Chronicle Books for nine years which makes her less than six degrees of separation from the Chronicle gift department's new Moomin notebooks, potentially the greatest notebooks known to mankind. Or Manlove.

She mainly publishes picture books (fiction and non-fiction) as well as older nonfiction and poetry.

Lin asks the panel what makes an evergreen and what makes a hit and is there any crossover for the two.

Melissa's answer:

Books that are hits may say something true about our current culture versus an evergreen book that may say something true about human nature.

Melissa asks if this has something to do also with a perceived shift in the industry from having a long backlist versus focusing more on finding a big splash. At Chronicle Melissa says they still think about the long backlist, and that they have room on their list for what most refer to as mid-list authors.
One of Melissa's books
On topic of sales, does any category sell better? 

Melissa says it really varies book to book, for example, an excellent nonfiction book may sell moderately for trade, but library and book club sales for it may be through the roof.

When Lin asked about manuscripts that spoke to the editors, Melissa's answer is that it's a marriage of voice and topic, the dance between the two can be really powerful. 

For example, when an agent approached Melissa with a picturebook manuscript about the subnivean zone, she wasn't sure if she should say gesundheit, but that book became Over and Under the Snow, which is a quiet and magical book. 

Another of Melissa's books

No comments:

Post a Comment