Monday, June 11, 2007

INTERVIEW: Stacey Barney - Editor - Penguin / G.P. Putnam's Son

In lieu of a personal photo, Ms. Barney has supplied a company logo instead.

Stacey Barney, an editor at Putnam Books for Young Readers has held posts in both adult and children's book publishing, beginning her career at Lee & Low Books, a multicultural children's book publisher. She then worked at Farrar, Straus and Giroux with such talented new writers as Chris Abani and Lisa Dierbeck.

At Amistad/HarperCollins, she published LA Times bestselling author Tamara T. Gregory's Passport Diaries as well as the acclaimed memoir, This Voice in My Heart. Before coming onboard Putnam's team, she worked at Dafina/Kensington, where she launched a Young Adult list with such titles as DRAMA HIGH, SO NOT THE DRAMA, BOY SHOPPING, and PERRY SKKY JR, the spin-off to bestseller Christian teen series PAYTON SKKY.

At Putnam, Stacey is looking for multicultural voices in everything from chapter books and middle grade to Young Adult.

EI: How often do you accept an offering because you feel it could be edited into publishable form but then fail to do so—either because of difficulty with the author or it wasn't any good in the first place?

Stacey Barney: I’ve not had this experience. I’ve never taken something on and then failed to publish it. When I take on work it’s because the author has done their job and what I receive on submission is already very polished.

When I take on something less than polished, it’s because I see the potential in it, and have a vision for it that matches the author’s vision. When Penguin/G.P. Putnam's Sons considers a new author's manuscript, does film potential play a role in the decision process? Can you rank the top genre markets in terms of most lucrative to least? Film potential doesn’t play a role in whether we decide to publish something or not.

While I won’t provide a ranking, I will say that Fantasy tends to be a very lucrative side of the business as does commercial teen fiction—books that are issue driven or chick lit type narratives such as the Gossip Girls series.

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