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  • Writer's pictureManju Howard

Publisher’s Corner: Q&A with Sandra Sutter of Gnome Road Publishing

Welcome Sandra Sutter, children’s book author as well as the founder and owner of Gnome Road Publishing. I'm excited for writers and illustrators to learn more about Gnome Road.

For our Kidlit Creatives Members, you have a chance to win a Zoom consultation with Sandra on a manuscript. To WIN this special prize, follow the directions at the end of this post.

On Kathy Temean's blog, Writing and Illustrating, she recently featured Gnome Road Publishing’s imprints, what they wish to acquire, and how to submit. Also, Sandra was interviewed on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog, where Sandra provided more information about the mission and plans for the press.

Now, let’s ask Sandra about some of her thoughts on acquiring, editing and marketing work at Gnome Road Publishing.

Hi Sandra!

What is the first thing that stands out to you when you receive a submission?

If you had asked me this question three months ago, I might have said that the title of a work would be the first thing I notice. As it turns out, it isn’t. It is a professionally written query that follows submissions guidelines. Those things are usually a good indication that the author has also studied the craft of writing for children and has a well-written manuscript. I am not looking for any particular format or content so much as that the author or illustrator (or agent) cares about how they are presenting their work.

Take us through your editorial process once you do acquire a manuscript.

I have already started working with authors to edit several manuscripts that I have interest in acquiring right now. Being a small press means authors and illustrators will be working closely with me during all phases of the production and publication process, and I want to make sure we are a good fit and share a vision for the story before taking it on. They also need to decide if they want to work with me! Likely there will be several back and forth revisions between us, which is mostly done through Zoom and email. For author/illustrators this also includes changes to visual storytelling once the manuscript is ready. By the time a contract is signed, the manuscript and vision for the overall book should be close to what we actually see in the finished product (hopefully!).

How will you work with the authors and illustrators to market Gnome Road books?

There are some things that the publisher has control over that help with marketing (working with a distributor, sending the book out for pre-publication reviews, press releases, etc.). These are part of the overall business plan at GRP. However, each title will have a marketing plan made in collaboration with the author(s) and illustrator(s) that goes beyond these efforts, and will vary depending on the book themes, hooks, and intended audiences, as well as the specific strengths, resources, and connections each person brings to the team. For example, for a book focused on sea creatures, part of the plan might be to make a list of aquariums, coastal marine life discovery centers, or marine life animal sanctuaries with gift shops and contact them with postcards, emails, or, if possible, a personal visit if within driving distance. Perhaps the author is a marine biologist who is active in her trade association and has an opportunity to share the book with other members. Or maybe the illustrator is a good friend of an activist or celebrity who loves marine life and wants to tweet about the book.

Thanks very much, Sandra!

Gnome Road Publishing Mission statements:

To Our Readers: We produce books that engage and inform, develop and strengthen a love for reading, and bring smiles and laughter to the world. Our books are made with all readers in mind. We want them to be read time and again, to be cherished, and to light the way on a lifetime of reading adventures. To Our Creatives: We know the publishing industry isn't only about books; it's about the people who make them, too! We provide a system of respect and support for creatives and their work throughout the publishing process and beyond. We are committed to communication, collaboration, cultivation, and community!

Links to website and social media:

Prize offer: For a chance to win a 15-30 minute Zoom consultation with Sandra on your manuscript, leave a comment on our Kidlit Creatives page (must be a member) and share this interview on Twitter or Facebook. Deadline to enter is Monday, March 22nd.

All posts on Manju's blog promote members of Kidlit Creatives: Create, Query & Support. Request to join us by answering three questions on our site.

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