ALA!

Booth This June, a couple of our Skyhorsers attended the ALA (American Library Association) Annual Summer Conference in Orlando, Florida!

ALA Annual is one of the world’s largest yearly gatherings for publishing industry professionals, librarians, teachers, bloggers, and book lovers! Here, attendees are able to talk to publishers and media, learn about upcoming books, and pick up a WHOLE lot of books and swag! We had a great booth in the middle of the exhibition hall that we filled with our adult fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, Autism, and of course, Sky Pony titles.

A few of our coworkers (three seasoned professionals and one who had never attended) gave their thoughts on this yearly conference. Although it was swelteringly hot in Florida in the middle of summer, it didn’t dampen our spirits!


Jaidree Braddix, Assistant Publicist, Cooking & Lifestyle

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of learning that there is no happier being on earth than a librarian or book blogger who has just received a free book. And boy, did we give out a lot of free books. At ALA Orlando, children’s and YA books ruled the day, with free copies of the adorable picture book Gorillas in Our Midst and the timeline-bending YA thriller Timekeeper being the fastest to fly of our tables.

Timekeeper LineIt should be no surprise then, that one of my favorite memories from my three days at the Skyhorse booth was the moment two small boys rushed in, eyes locked on our “Books for Minecrafters Library” at the back of the booth. Our Books for Minecrafters were hugely popular with children’s librarians and teachers throughout the day, and I had gotten used to answering questions about reading levels and age groups in a more detached sort of way, but seeing the genuine excitement in an 8-year-old boy’s eyes when he asked me, “Is that GameKnight999?!” reminded me who our real audience is. He was beyond disappointed that he could not walk out of there with the entire collection, but was thrilled to come back for our giveaway the following day and to pester his poor mother into taking a handout listing all of our Minecrafter titles, so that she could “buy them all later.”

That 8-year-old’s excitement was mirrored in the eyes of book bloggers in their 20s, standing in a fifty ft. line waiting for Tara Sim to start signing Timekeeper; in a teacher, new to her school, who was desperately seeking picture books with diverse main characters when we showed her Ming Goes to School; and in a costumed young superhero receiving his signed advance copies of Science No Fair!: Project Droid #1 and Soccer Shocker: Project Droid #2.

Even though we were there to self-promote on a broader scale, the individual interactions and happy new-book-owners are really what makes conferences like ALA special.


Cheryl Lew, Associate Publicist, Children’s and YA

This was my second time at ALA Annual (I attended last year’s in San Francisco), and it was still just as fun, exciting, and slightly overwhelming as my first time. We had an awesome team attending this year, and that really made it a memorable experience.

Everything in the booth went smoothly: Our giveaway books flew off the shelves (especially Just One Damned Thing After AnotherThe Hamilton Affair, and Gorillas In Our Midst), and people loved all of the bookmarks, Winston Sparkes buttons, Project Droid temporary tattoos, and other swag that we were giving out. It was so much find to have librarians and other attendees approach us to  learn more about our company, excited that some of our books would fit perfectly with their collections. People were especially excited about our diversity titles, as well as, of course, our books for Minecrafters.

ALA DinnerThe most exciting part of ALA for me was meeting a lot of my authors, including Tara Sim (Timekeeper), Taryn Souders (Dead Possums Are Fair Game), Tamera Will Wissinger (There Was An Old Lady Who Gobbled A Skink), and mother/daughter duo Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser (the Project Droid series). Since ALA is geared mostly toward librarians, we decided that all of our signings would be children’s authors. . . Which was amazing for me since they were all mine! I had corresponded with all of them via email, but it was wonderful to finally put faces to names.  Not only were all of their signings huge successes, we were joined by the authors for dinner at Todd English’s Blue Zoo at Disney/Epcot. The meal was great, but getting to know each other was even better.

Most importantly, ALA was a great opportunity to get to know my coworkers. In addition to making attendees aware of our books, we also bonded as well. . . And a few of us even went to Harry Potter World after!


Jenn Chan, Marketing ManagerHP World

We had a great show this year.  We did targeted advertising leading up to ALA Annual and offered a daily schedule of key title giveaways and in-booth signings which kept foot traffic coming to our booth throughout.

Our author signings were scheduled on the two main days and featured a nice mix of out-of-towners & locals, seasoned & first time children’s book authors.

One of my favorite parts of the show was meeting and getting to know them (we had a fun “family dinner” at Disney on Saturday night) and hosting their signings.  It was also exciting to see firsthand such energetic attention and support from all the fans/readers.


Booth 2Bethany Buck, Editorial Director for Sky Pony Press

It was a particularly poignant show, being in Orlando just two weeks after the nightclub shooting.  There was a feeling a healing and pride, lots of t-shirts, buttons, and rainbows in support of the community.

That’s why it was really meaningful that we had invited three Florida authors to come sign their Sky Pony books in our booth: Taryn Sounders signed her middle grade novel Dead Possums are Fair Game; Tamera Will Wissinger signed her picture book The Was an Old Lady Who Gobbled a Skink; and Kerry O’Malley Cerra, who unfortunately couldn’t attend, but we gave away her novel Just a Drop of Water.

Because there were a lot of local librarians in attendance, the was a lot of recognition and excitement and pride for these for these Florida authors and their great books.


What was your experience at ALA like? Tell us in the comments!

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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:

Mug

  • 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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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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