Sunday, February 14, 2016

Alessandra Balzer: Acquisitions Today: Opportunities and Challenges

Alessandra Balzer is the Vice President and Co-Publisher of Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, publishing picture books to novels from teens.

On the process of acquisitions:
Auctions are rare. Many of B+B's favorite books come traditionally. If Alessandra loves a book, she shares it with her team and they look at it closely. If the team is on the same page, she brings it to the acquisitions board. Many details are looked at in the meeting and it's approached as a business decision.

On coping with losing something you love:
It is what it is. You do your best. If you don't get it, you move on.

Do you ever offer notes on a manuscript before making a decision?
It depends. When it's done, there's no guarantee, and a lot of time is put into it. Alessandra has done it when it's worked out, and she's done it and then had to reject the project.

On deal-breakers in a offer:
As an editor it's difficult because there is a passion part and a business part. It can be helpful when the house has a policy when it comes to contracts which can take some challenges away because certain pieces don't need to be negotiated.

On junior-level editors taking on projects:
When a more junior level editor brings a proposal to an acquisitions meeting, the rest are behind them and advocating for the project as well.

Final thoughts:
Do your best work, and don't write to what's selling or to trends. Write your passion.


  1. Love the last bit of advice. It's always a good reminder, since the trends get hyped up so much.

  2. On coping with losing something you love: Thanks for reminding us that sometimes publishers love our work, but even they have someone to be accountable to. It doesn't mean that our work is not good. It just might not fit.