Cheryl’s Desk

Today, Associate Publicist Cheryl is sharing what her workspace looks like. Check out her post below!

Desk After

I’ve always been a bit of a hoarder.

Not the “piles of plastic cups, empty take-out containers, and newspapers from a decade ago” kind that you see on TV, but I do like my work (and living) space to be homey since I spend so much time here. It’s a bit cluttered and chaotic, but it’s an organized chaos… The kind I feel right at home in!

At any given time, my desk will have:


  • Copies of (most of) the books I’ve worked on. While these are mostly Sky Pony titles, I also have a few non-kids’ books, too, (such as pet books, adult fiction, and cookbooks) from before our pod system was put into place.
  • My bookmark/postcard wall that authors have sent me. Now that we have an in house designer, I expect this collection to expand greatly in the near future!
  • I have dozens of mugs in my apartment, and I always make sure to have one of my favorites at my desk. Today’s mug: a Los Angeles Starbucks mug that I picked up in during my 6-year LA living experience.
  • Drawings: I’ve accumulated a lot of post-it drawings from friends in the office that are always prominently on display.
  • An ever-growing pile of books (both Skyhorse and other) that I need to take home and add to my own collection
  • Snacks: Sometimes I’m too busy to leave my desk for extended periods of time, so I always have some granola, chocolate, and other treats on hand in case I need a pick-me-up.
  • And of course, like any office, there’s always a bunch of papers and books that cycle in and out of my cube throughout the day. My inbox is never empty!

I may be moving desks soon, as our company just acquired another floor in the building (yay!), but you can bet that I’ll make this new space just as cozy and lived-in as my current one!

All our Sky Ponies’ desks are different… Check out Kylie’s and Adrienne’s, too!

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Happy Book Birthday!

Happy Book Birthday to all of our June Sky Pony Books!


Life Before by Michele Bacon

Life BeforeSeventeen years is a long time to keep secrets, and Xander Fife has gotten very good at it.

Everyone believes Xander has a normal life and a normal family. If he can just get through this summer, he’ll start his real life in college with a clean slate—no risk, no drama, no fear.

Even better, his plans for summer are awesome: lots of pick-up soccer, relaxing afternoons with friends, and an epic road trip. Xander is banking on some long-overdue nights with his ideal girlfriend, the amazing Gretchen Taylor.

Instead of kicking off what had promised to be an amazing summer, however, graduation day brings terror. His family’s secrets are thrust out into the open, and Xander must confront his greatest fear. And survive doing so.

Armed with a fake ID, cash, and a knife, Xander skips town and assumes a new identity. Hundreds of miles from home and in danger, one thing is clear: Xander’s real life is already in progress and just getting through it isn’t enough.

Kingdom in a Horse by Maia Wojciechowska

Kingdom in a Horse_coverDavid Lee is twelve years old and disappointed in his father Earl, a once-famous rodeo clown who has quit the circuit and moved David to a small town in Vermont to start a new life. David has a hard time adjusting to life as a “normal” boy and is hurt that his father never allowed him the chance to be his partner in the rodeo arena. When Earl tries to buy David a horse at auction, David pretends to have no interest in it, and the horse is sold, instead, to a seventy-year-old woman named Sarah Tierney.

Sarah, grief-stricken at the death of her husband, tries to ?nd solace in her new horse, Gypsy, but she needs help from Earl and David to learn how to care for her. As the three of them spend more and more time with Gypsy, they all become entranced—in their own ways—by the horse and begin to learn more and more about themselves. A heartfelt story, this middle-reader novel is a must read for any girl or boy interested in nature and horses.

Treason in America by Jules Archer, foreword by Brianna DuMont

Treason in America_coverTreason can be defined as “the breach of the allegiance which a person owes to the state under whose protection he lives.” But what exactly does it mean to be guilty of a “breach of the allegiance” owed to your country? In a country that guarantees freedom of speech and dissent tp all citizens, the extent to which dissent becomes unlawful may not always be clear. Treason is punishable by the death penalty, underscoring the importance of the question: How do we go about proving that someone is indeed an enemy of his country—a traitor?

In this book, renowned historian Jules Archer explores different cases of treason throughout our history, while encouraging young readers to really question the definition of treason and how it should be treated. He asks readers to consider the similarities between disloyalty and dissent and ultimately urges this generation to take it into their own hands to redefine American duties and liberties for our time

Down into the Nether by Danica Davidson

Down into the NetherStevie and Alex thought they defeated Herobrine completely, but they soon discover that he’s still on the loose. He has returned to Stevie’s nightmares, taunting him with threats to now destroy the human world.

The prophecies on music discs suggest that only Stevie and Alex, plus Maison, Destiny, and Yancy, their friends from the human world will be able to defeat Herobrine. But the prophecies also warn that one of the friends will betray the rest, putting all the worlds at risk. Tensions run high as the group must figure out how to save the world while they try to discern the traitor in their midst. Maison, It isn’t long before the traitor is discovered.

Stevie and Alex find themselves separated from the others and must first journey into the Nether to find a special treasure that will enable them to confront Herobrine. The clock is ticking as they put their heads together to survive in the fiery depths of the Nether. Monsters are waiting for them around every corner and it won’t be much longer before they come face-to-face with Herobrine, who has become more powerful than ever.

Terror on a Treasure Hunt by Winter Morgan

Terror on a Treasure HuntAfter trapping Mr. Anarchy, the evil master griefer who’s been tormenting them, Lily, Simon, and Michael can finally concentrate on trying to escape the Overworld and getting to know their new friends on the server. So when one of their friends invites them along on a treasure hunt, they couldn’t be more thrilled!

But when the gang’s absence from Lisimi Village gives Mr. Anarchy a chance to escape, their hunt for treasure is cut short and Lily, Simon, and Michael must make a hard decision: do they continue their much-anticipated treasure hunt, or do they band together with their new friends to find and recapture Mr. Anarchy, and whatever team of griefers he might be working with?

Nothing is as it seems—and no one can be trusted—in this thrilling third book in bestselling author Winter Morgan’s Unofficial Minetrapped Adventure series.

Abracadabra! by Kristen Kelly & Ken Kelly

Abracadabra_coverSummon your inner Houdini and learn simple magic tricks that will wow your family and friends!

How did he do that? Have you ever racked your brains trying to figure out how that birthday party magician pulled a dove out of his sleeve? Or spent sleepless nights wondering just how he made that coin disappear? Well, what if there were a book that shared a magician’s secrets with you and showed you how to do magic, too?

Eleven-year-old magician Kristen and her magician dad, Ken, reveal secret magic techniques with step-by-step photographs and demonstrate how you can perform tricks that look impossible but are, in fact, very simple to master! You’ll also learn one of the most important secrets about becoming a magician—how to use your confidence, personality, and presentation skills to enchant and amaze your friends and family. Choose from thirty of Kristen and Ken’s coolest tricks and learn how to:

• Make a pencil float in mid-air!
• Bend a key using your mind!
• Make a pile of items disappear!
• Eat a knife!
• And much more!

With Abracadabra!, you’ll see that you don’t have to be an adult to perform magic!

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BEA: What an Experience!

This May, a couple of our fellow Skyhorsers were lucky enough to attend Book Expo America and BookCon in Chicago… and lived to tell the tale!

BEA (and BookCon) is one of the world’s largest yearly gatherings for publishing industry professionals and book lovers, from publishers to media to bloggers. Here, attendees are able to talk to publishers and media, learn about upcoming books, and pick up a WHOLE lot of swag!

A few of our coworkers (two seasoned professionals and two who had never attended) gave their thoughts on this yearly conference.

Lauren Jackson, Publicity Manager

Based on average age and average level of enthusiasm, you’d think Five Seconds of Summer or Taylor Swift had crashed this year’s #Bookcon in Chicago. The attendees—mainly teens, tweens, and their bewildered parents—embodied none of the traditional stereotypes associated with the bookish. They didn’t walk around and peruse; they ran and devoured.

And, being a new member of the team, one of the most rewarding aspects of an admittedly tiring day BEAwas the equal parts curiosity and name recognition that Sky Pony had at the con. People were rabid for Tara Sim, but also wanted to know more about Winston, our mascot, and the new Sky Pony blog. What could they expect? Would there be giveaways? What was our Twitter handle? Galley giveaways of dotwav and our new chapter book series with Nancy Krulik flew out of the booth in minutes. Every time we put out a fresh batch of pins, temporary tattoos and bookmarks, they’d be gone in the blink of an eye.

Witnessing the mayhem overwhelmed but also inspired. Before I was a late-twenties publishing “professional” (using that term loosely),  I was a bookish pre-teen, much like those that swarmed Bookcon, but I never had such a rich outlet to discover new books, authors, and kids like me. So I watched as an outsider as attendees screamed at the main stage for their favorite authors, begged their parents for more books (“Just one more!! Please?!”), and quizzed me on Sky Pony’s books, but I still felt very much like these were my people… just a bit younger.

Jake Klein, Associate PublicistBill and Jake

How do I begin to describe my first experience at BEA? Words that come to mind: dizzying, exhilarating, informative, fun!

BEA 2016 in Chicago was a successful experience for me personally, and for Skyhorse as a company. As a first-timer and as a publicist I got a better sense of what my role in this fantastic company is.

From the moment the gates opened and the attendees flooded in, my role was to represent Skyhorse Publishing in a professional (and fun!) manner. I spent the day interacting with an array of interesting individuals. I spoke with librarians looking to stock vast shelves. I spoke with bookstore owners looking for the next big seller. I spoke with journalists hoping to break the dotwavnews on the next hit title. Each new person offered fresh perspective on this wild ride we call publishing.

I particularly enjoyed my time speaking with bloggers. Young Adult fiction and children’s book bloggers were out in force, smiles wide, ready to engage publishers and forge new working relationships. I admired their entrepreneurial spirits. Most bloggers explained that they worked from home, reading through dozens of novels a week, trying to elevate themselves to great heights as book reviewers. I exchanged business cards with dozens of them. As a publicist I saw opportunity to broaden the reach of our titles. As bloggers, they saw the chance to widen their review catalog.

At the end of each day, everyone left the conference tired. Tired from good conversations about good books.

I can’t wait to see what BEA 2017 will have in store!

Winston Button

Brianna Scharfenberg, Associate Publicist

At times overwhelming and exhausting, the next you’re giddy because you saw an author you’d never thought you’d see in person or nabbed a galley of a book you can’t wait to tear open. The best part about the conference was being around hundreds of readers and having wonderful conversations with media. At BookCon, lots of excited teens and adults flooded McCormick place finding gems of books and freebies. The kids loved our colorful Winston Sparkles buttons, tattoos, and giveaways like two in one book Project Droid.

The book world is alive and well thanks to all the dedicated readers and passionate publishers. Next year will be even better!

Jennifer Chan, Marketing Manager

Overall BEA went well for us. We set up many sales meetings ahead of the show with our key trade accounts. Key advertising on the first and second Minecraftdays and daily ARC giveaways helped drive foot traffic throughout the show.

We also participated in this year’s Librarian Lounge which included a scavenger hunt contest (our booth was a required stop) and a full table display at the exclusive VIP reception. Both promotions gave us many opportunities to talk up our titles, gain new contacts, and turn a number of librarians on to our company and the kinds of books we do for adult and children.

The Sky Pony titles we promoted at BEA were dotwav and the Project Droid series 2-books-in-1 flip ARC. We also had fun items like Project Droid temporary tattoos and a Winston Sparkle button to promote the Sky Pony Express blog. All the ARCs we put out were snapped up as soon as we put them out (which is a good sign for our upcoming plans for ALA this month).

After a number of years of the show being in NYC, it was nice to be in Chicago this year. With the change in venue, it gave us the chance to connect directly with a number of local librarians, educators, booksellers, and media!

Catch us next at ALA from June 24th-27th (booth #2236)! Stop by for ARCs, bookmarks, Winston Sparkles buttons, and a bunch of other swag! #TeamWinston

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Kylie’s Desk

Today Kylie is sharing what her workspace looks like! Check out her post below!

I spend a lot of time at my desk so I want it to be a place I enjoy. I try to surround myself with images and objects that make me happy. So my cube walls are full of pictures of my favorite people and you can find little knick-knacks that remind me of some of my favorite things.

My desk

I bet you’re wondering about the boxes on my desk. In an effort to do more standing than sitting, I converted my desk into a standing desk using tools I found around the office. My monitor is stacked up on books and my keyboard is resting on top of some boxes. It’s definitely an unconventional set up but I really like that it gets me out of my seat for most of the day.

My favorite mug

On my desk you’ll find a lot of books. I keep a copy of each of the Sky Pony titles I’ve worked on and some from my collection at home. We like to share books in the office so I have a few of my favorites floating around that I lend out to my colleagues.


I always go straight for the coffee machine when I get into the office so I have my favorite mug at the ready.

Emma Swan and Wonder Woman


I have two strong female character action figures on my desk. They’re doubly special as they represent strong women from some of my favorite media AND they were given to me by two of my favorite people.


The papers takeover!

My desk can get a little messy when the papers pile up but a few things I always have on hand are a pack of gum, my favorite hand lotion, and my favorite pens in a variety of colors.



My desk looks very different from Adrienne’s and Cheryl’s as we all have our own unique styles and personalities. What’s one thing you keep on your desk?

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A Day in the Life: Sky Pony’s Publicist

 Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work at a publishing company? There are many different jobs that one can do in book publishing. Today our publicist, Cheryl Lew is sharing what a day in the life of a publicist is like. Check it out below!  


What is Publicity?

To be honest, before I chanced into it, I had no idea the role that publicity played in book publishing. Simply put, the job of a publicist is to secure media coverage, help set up signings and events, and promote authors in any way they can. While social media generally falls under Marketing—not Publicity—since we are a small company, I am also in charge of Skyhorse’s Instagram account (@skyhorsepub).



Here at Skyhorse, I’m lucky enough to work primarily with children’s and young adult authors and the extremely talented Sky Pony Press team! In Publicity, each day is different, but here are a few things that happen on a typical one:

Weekly Publicity Meeting: Every Tuesday morning, the Publicity team gathers for a meeting where we share important media hits, ask questions, and brainstorm current events that we can to tie our books to. These current events cover all different topics—election coverage, the Oscars, National Oreo Day, #damndaniel, etc.—and since we publish so many different kinds of books, we often have a title to suggest for each one! We recently welcomed a couple of new members to our Publicity team, so this is also a great opportunity for us to all get to know each other and pick each other’s brains for new ideas.

Author Meeting: Last week, I was fortunate enough to meet author and illustrator Richard Fairgray, who has written three picture books with us so far: Gorillas in Our Midst (Spring 2015), My Grandpa’s A Dinosaur (Spring 2016), and That’s Not the Monster We Ordered (Fall 2016). Since Richard lives in New Zealand, I had never met him before, and it was very exciting to finally put a face to a name. The majority of our authors/illustrators live in different states—and even different countries—so it’s always a treat when they come in to the office for a visit!

Sky Pony Press Blog Meeting: Once a month, the Sky Pony Press team meets to discuss the schedule for the next month’s blog posts. It’s a time where we can discuss which books, both upcoming and backlist, to feature in each of our posts and how to creatively do so. Since the team gets along so well, it’s always a great time, and we all get really into suggesting fun and unique ways to feature our favorites!

Media Outreach: Arguably the most important part of my job is media outreach, which entails emailing or calling editors of magazines, newspapers, TV shows, radio, and online outlets to see if they are interested in doing a feature, review, or author interview for our books. In my experience, interacting with Mommy/Daddy and YA bloggers is the most fun because they are so passionate about what they read and are always excited to receive a copy of a book in exchange for an honest review!

ARC Mailing: About four months before the pub date, certain books receive ARCs (advanced reading copies), and it’s my job to send them out to long lead outlets—such as magazines and large newspapers—that want books several months ahead of time. On this particular day, I sent out three Sky Pony Press young adult novels to reviewers: A Million Times Goodnight by Kristina McBride, Life Before by Michele Bacon, and Feathers by Rose Mannering. How gorgeous are those covers?


My favorite parts of this job are being able to meet with authors I have previously worked with and members of the media from outlets that I’ve grown up reading/watching. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet with editors at The Today Show, Good Morning America, The New York Times, SELF, School Library Journal, and several others. I’ve also been given the opportunity to travel to and work trade shows like Book Expo America (BEA) and ALA (a bi-yearly conference for librarians) where I was able to meet and talk with both media and consumers directly. It’s always exciting when children at these shows run over to our booth to look at our Minecraft or other kids’ books!

When I chose publishing as a career path, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I’ve definitely found a home in publicity at Sky Pony Press!

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Adrienne’s Desk

Have you ever wondered what an editor’s desk looks like? No two are alike, that’s for sure. We all have unique interests and styles that are reflected in our desk decorations. Below you can take a look at what editor Adrienne Szpyrka’s desk looks like!



This is my lovely desk space where I spend my days editing, answering emails, and doing all the other things it takes to make books! It includes…

  • Lots of gorgeous Sky Pony books easily on hand
  • A color-coordinated index card system to keep me organized
  • A pretty painted metal box for my stash of tea and chocolate (ideal for keeping the mice away)
  • A massive scarf/blanket for when the office is chilly
  • And a beautiful little banker’s lamp that I love




Behind me, I’ve got a wall full of papers I can reference while I work. This wall also features my own little Michigan mitten crossing the Mackinac Bridge and hiking in the Upper Peninsula.





typewriterCactus (2)


I’m not one to keep photos at work, but a knitted cactus from my best friend keeps my phone and stapler company, and I have an “I love you” typewriter from my husband tucked beneath a bookshelf.






One of the perks of kids book publishing is that it’s almost impossible to have a work space that isn’t cheery. And I love mine!

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