• Kurt Dinan

My Visit to My Publisher

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Sourcebooks, who will be publishing THE WATER TOWER 5. I arranged the trip because, let’s face it, this could be the only book I ever sell, so I want to experience as much of the process as I can.

Here’s a brief history: Sourcebooks was founded in 1987 by Dominique Raccah, who, from everything I’ve read about her, is just amazing. (Seriously, look her up. Look at everything she’s accomplished.) The company is located in Naperville, Illinois, outside of Chicago, and is not only known for their excellent publications, but their innovation. In 1997, they put out We Interrupt This Broadcast, which included a cd, one of the first, if not the first, publishers to do this. (I bought a copy of this book when it came out.) They also created the Put Me in the Story series and app, which allows parents to order books where the kids are the stars in series like Sesame Street, Marvel, and Disney. So yeah, the company is just really impressive.

Thus ends today’s lesson.

After school a couple of Tuesdays ago, I drove the six hours to Naperville, getting into my hotel room around 11. The next afternoon, I met up with my editor, Aubrey Poole, and three other Sourcebook-ers: editorial assistant Kate Prosswimmer, marketing coordinator Alex Yeadon, and public relations butt kicker Katy Lynch. (I would post a picture here of all of us at lunch, but I forgot to have our waiter take one. Duh.)

After lunch, where we I interrogated these women about their jobs, we drove to the Sourcebooks office. My host and tour guide for the day was Aubrey, who, like I said earlier, is my book editor. She’s awesome–smart, funny, and supportive. Here’s a picture.

(True story, my wife helped me choose my outfit. I’m basically a 10-year-old boy when it comes to dressing myself.)

At Sourcebooks, was is the first thing that greets me?

(This is how they used to teach cattle proper posture in the Old West.)

How cool is that? It was also a great indicator of what was to come because the entire Sourcebooks office is full of life and energy. (Okay, yeah, the bull is an inanimate object, thereby not really an object of “life and energy”, but you get the point.) Over the next hour and a half everyone I met was incredibly friendly, gracious, and excited about my being one of their authors. I met editors, artists, publicists, and promotional wizards. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was just fantastic, patiently answering all of my wide-eyed questions when I know they had 30 to 40 books they needed to be working on. Here’s one of those fantastic people, Alex Yeadon, marketing coordinator.

(Thinking, “Who is this creepy bald guy taking my picture?”)

The only bummers of the day were not getting a chance to meet Dominique Raccah and Jean Johnson, both of whom were out sick. But, it just gives me a reason to schedule another visit.

After a trip to the storeroom, where Aubrey loaded me up with a bunch of books to take home to my kids and students–thanks for that!–I was asked to sign the author wall. This, of course, was a really cool honor and I stressed about what to write and just how terrible my handwriting was, but I came up with something.

(I may not have the best message on the wall, but it’s certainly the highest.)

Here’s what I wrote:

(Yes, I have the handwriting of a nervous child.)

It was a wonderful trip and experience that made me want to: A. Quit my teaching job and go to work for Sourcebooks, B. Go write, and C. Work my butt off to help give The Water Tower 5 as much a chance to succeed as possible. I’m beyond thrilled to be a Sourcebooks author. I can’t wait to get further into the process.

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