Your Black Friday Book Shopping Guide

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Need some help? We’ve got you covered for the book lovers in your life! Check out our suggestions below!


Best book for werewolf fans: Earning My Spots by Mark Eastburn

Summary: Sam and his family are the only werehyenas in their town, and he’s often told that he’s inferior to all the other kids of shifters. But as tensions rise between shifters and humans, it becomes clear that Sam is the only one who can stop a war that’s on the brink of erupting.

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Best books for fans of Once Upon A Time: Roses: The Tales Trilogy, Book 1 and Feathers: The Tales Trilogy, Book 2 by Rose Mannering

Roses Summary: Her silvery appearance is freakish to the numerous inhabitants of Sago, and she is tauntingly named Beauty by those who torment her. After fleeing town in the wake of a violent uprising that sets out to massacre all Magics, she is captured by State officials who threaten to take her back to war-torn Sago. She manages to escape them during a blizzard by running into a deep, enchanted forest, where she meets a great and terrible beast who will bargain for her life. But can Beauty accept Beast?

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Feathers Summary: Outcast from birth for his ability to turn into a swan, Ode was forced to discover how to control his remarkable gift entirely on his own. But even with his gift, he cannot save his family from the oncoming war. The Magical Cleansing is spreading across the realm, and strangers arrive from foreign lands bringing with them bloodshed and fear. With the help of his gift, Ode flees to a distant island where answers, Magic, and a girl with golden hair await him.
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Best book for Shakespeare lovers and theater kids: The Taming of the Drew by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Summary: Cass is so excited for her leading role in The Taming of the Shrew at the summer apprentice program of a Shakespeare theater company. But her co-lead in the play, Drew, is a total troll—and Cass’s bunkmate has a huge crush on him. So Cass decides to “tame” Drew and give him a personality makeover. What could possibly go wrong?

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Best book for anyone who feels like an outsider: A Blind Guide to Normal by Beth Vrabel

Summary: Ryder has limited vision and a prosthetic eye. His wit and popular made him popular at the school for the blind, but this year for eighth grade he’s going to the mainstream middle school—and fitting in is not as easy as he thought it would be. Can Ryder find his way to a new—and possibly even better— “normal”?

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Best book for someone who needs more time in her day: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

In an alternate Victorian London where clock towers control the flow of time and a broken clock can stop time completely, a young clock mechanic races to save his father who is trapped in a Stopped town, and to prevent attacks that could cripple all of England.

9781510706187-frontcover

Best books for young readers who wish they had a robot to do their chores: Project Droid #1: Science No Fair! and Project Droid #2: Soccer Shocker! by Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser, illustrated by Mike Moran

Logan’s always wanted a kid brother, but when his inventor mom builds him a robot cousin, he realizes he’s gotten a lot more than he bargained for. Java is very literal-minded, and keeping his true identity a secret is going to be loads of trouble.

Science No Fair 9781510710184Soccer Shocker 9781510710191

Best book for a fan of science fiction: Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

For fans of The Girl of Fire and Thorns comes a story of betrayal, love, and loss—all on a technologically advanced alien planet where monarchy reigns, but lies rule.

beyond-the-red-9781634506441

 

Best book for the dancer: Spin the Sky by Jill Mackenzie

Summary: Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. When a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. This could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to get her and Rose out of Summerland. But will the competition prove too steep? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

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Best book for the video game addict: It’s a tie! Invasion of the Overworld by Mark Cheverton or Catching the Jigglypuff Thief by Alex Polan
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catching-the-jigglypuff-thief
Best book for the teen who’s always prepared: Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca
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Best book for the varsity star: Double Exposure by Bridget Birdsall

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Books We’re Thankful For

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Sky Pony team members are big fans of books. We love to read and we each have a memorable book in our lives that inspired us. Check out the books we’re thankful for below!


Alison Weiss, Editor

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

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I’m thankful for Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl. If I had to point to one book that jumpstarted me into a career as a children’s book editor, it has to be this one. When I was in college, I had time between classes, but not necessarily enough that it made sense for me to go back to the dorms. I spent a lot of time at the bookstore. (I’d expect that’s true of a lot of people in publishing!) But though I would browse the literature section—I spent a lot of time catching up on my classics, too—one day freshman year, I found myself wandering into the very bright and inviting children’s section. At first, I just took in the books I had read as a kid, the new books from authors who I had loved at ten and eleven and twelve. And then I saw the Goose Girl cover. I loved that cover. I spent weeks going back to the children’s section and that beautiful illustration would inevitably catch my eye. And then, one day, I bought it. And I read it. And then I ran to the bookstore and bought every other book they had by Shannon Hale. And then I started buying other middle grade and YA, too. And signing up for courses like Children’s Fantasy—where I revisited old friends like Michael Bond’s Paddington and A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh and made new friends like Alan Garner’s Owl Service and Frances Hardinge’s Fly by Night. And I started writing papers in my English literature classes on topics like the loss of innocence through the window of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and representations of American children in Paris in literature. And then, one day, I was looking for something to do for a summer and read a testimonial for someone who had an internship at Delacorte Books for Young Readers, and I applied, and got a job, and the rest is history. I still pick up every Shannon Hale book I can get. But Goose Girl will probably forever be my favorite.

Becky Herrick, Editor

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

wrinkle-in-time-cover

I’m thankful for A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, which was one of my favorite books when I was growing up. I had an old used copy with a weird and ominous cover that my science fiction-loving dad had bought from a library sale and given to me. Because it looked so weird, it took me a while to actually want to read it for the first time, but one rainy day I was finally bored enough to try it. It was like nothing I’d read before, and the afternoon fell away as I got lost in the strange, faraway worlds and transformative experiences of Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace. After that, A Wrinkle in Time became my go-to book for when I was having a bad day—when I was sick in bed or just really upset. Even now I still have my battered copy on my bookshelf, and I return to it when I want to escape.

Cheryl Lew, Publicist

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

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This may be a bit cliché, but the book that I am most thankful for is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. While I had read books for school before (and picture books and chapter books when I was younger to improve my reading skills), Harry Potter was the first series that I read purely for enjoyment. I was definitely more of a Saturday morning cartoon kind of kid (which unfortunately—fortunately?—is still true, even in my old age).

But the second I picked up this first Harry Potter book, I knew it was unlike anything I had ever read before. Rowling’s incredible world building, the relatable characters, and the fact that I was the exact same age as Harry and the gang when the first book came out made it very easy to picture what my life would be like had I grown up in this world. Aging with the characters I loved over the course of 9 years made this series a huge part of my childhood, and one of my favorite series of all time. Every few years or so, I’ll re-read the series in its entirety, and while still incredibly enjoyable, I’ll always be jealous of my 10 to nearly 20-year-old selves for being able to read these books and discover this world for the very first time.

 

Kat Enright, Editorial Assistant

The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

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So I’m going to pull the biggest cliché of girls my age and cite the Harry Potter series as the single most influential book series of my childhood. I was in elementary school when the books were first published in the US, and though I had always been a voracious reader Harry Potter captivated me in a way no other book did, and it’s stuck with me because I was lucky enough to grow up with Harry and his friends. As I’ve grown older and the world has changed around me, I’ve found that these books are even more relevant. Against a backdrop of whimsy and wonder, J.K. Rowling told a tale of finding an inclusive community, of fighting for the good in the world, and learning that part of growing up is learning to choose between what is right and what is easy.

And this Thanksgiving, more than any before, I am thankful that I grew up knowing what power hope and love held.

via GIPHY

 

Kylie Brien, Assistant Editor

Margaret Peterson Haddix

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I’m thankful for Margaret Peterson Haddix and all of the amazing books she’s written. I remember sitting in a circle and reading Among the Hidden with my sixth grade class . . . sneakily reading ahead because I was so captivated by the story. Of course, at eleven, I didn’t understand the complexities of the world that the characters lived in. I was compelled to keep turning the pages because of her fleshed out characters and gripping storyline that ultimately came down to life and death. I read every book available in the Shadow Children series and then started working on all of Margaret Peterson Haddix’s other books. I moved on to Running Out of Time, Just Ella, Escape From Memory, and Turnabout. I fell in love with all of her books and they helped shape me as a reader, a writer, and editor, and even as a person.

via GIPHY

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Meet the New Pony: Q&A with Editorial Assistant Kat Enright

Kat Enright was born in Middle-of-Nowhere Pennsylvania, and earned her BA in Philosophy (with a minor in Writing) from Gettysburg College. After college, she served for two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA Service Member in Boston, MA, before she moved to New York to start her career in Publishing. Kat always has at least one book on her (and sometimes upwards of ten, if you count all the e-books on her phone), and a notebook to jot down all the creative ideas that pop into her head.

Q: What type of books do you like to work on?

I love working on all types of books, from chapter books up through YA. But most particularly, I’m looking for #OWNVOICES stories that celebrate the diversity of the world we live in, and that don’t shy away from the darker, more serious aspects of the narrative. That said, I still do love adding in a mix of fantastical elements, from high fantasy to magical boarding schools to futuristic science fiction.

Q: What were your favorite books when you were growing up?

When I was young, I read anything I could get my hands on (I practically memorized the backs of cereal boxes at the breakfast table). But the book series that has had the most impact on me is the Harry Potter Series. It opened up a whole new world to me, and I was lucky enough to grow up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

And besides, Hermione Granger will always be my hero.

Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

This is an easy one! I grew up on the original Star Wars movies, and they are still one of my favorite film series. It combined the best elements of science fiction and fantasy, cause c’mon, Jedi are basically just wizards in space!  I also learned everything I know about love from Han and Leia, so based on The Force Awakens, I might be in trouble!

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Dark chocolate, definitely! Milk will do in a pinch, but there is never any excuse for white chocolate.

Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Wait, who said I was a grown-up?

        

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Sky Pony on Instagram!

Just in case you missed it, Sky Pony Press now has its own (semi-brand new) Instagram (@skyponypress)! While we already have a general Skyhorse Publishing Instagram (@skyhorsepub), we really wanted to have a dedicated account where we can post about just our kids and teen titles, run a bunch of giveaways, and give you Sky Pony Press fans a behind-the-scenes look at our books, amazing staff, authors, and all things Sky Pony! Largely thanks to an OwlCrate giveaway of a bundle of our YA titles, we’ve amassed a pretty great following so far, and we’ve been trying to spread the word for kids and teen book lovers to follow us, like our photos, and tag us in their posts of Sky Pony books!

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So if you haven’t already, head on over to @skyponypress on Instagram and follow us! There’s also a live ***GIVEAWAY*** for an ARC of Tara Sim’s highly-anticipated upcoming fantasy, steampunk, LGBTQ YA novel TIMEKEEPER, so make sure to enter for your chance to win while you’re over there. Follow the instructions in the giveaway post to enter!

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Meet the New Pony: Q&A with Editor Becky Herrick

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Sky Pony Press has just welcomed Becky Herrick to the team as editor! Becky is originally from Columbus, Ohio, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan. Most recently, she was an editor at Scholastic. To introduce her a bit more, we asked her a few quick questions:

 

Q: What type of books do you like to work on?

I like all different types of books and love working on a range of age levels (chapter book, middle grade, YA)! I especially love friendship stories and books that can make me laugh.

 

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Q: What were your favorite books when you were growing up?

Matilda by Roald Dahl, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

 

matilda book books reading reading gif

 

Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

Do Disney movies from the 90’s count as classic? If so, Aladdin! Otherwise, probably The Sound of Music.

aww aw awww awwww aladdin

 

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

DARK, always and forever

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[Editor’s Note from Alison – We approve this SO much.]

 

Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An art teacher! I loved my elementary school art teacher, and I still love doing all different sorts of arts and crafts in my free time (when I’m not reading!). Last year I had a lot of fun taking a screen-printing class.

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A Day in the Life of an Editor

It’s a wide-spread belief that editors sit at their desks all day reading and editing, complete with the iconic red pen.

 

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I’m not going to lie. When I first contemplated a job as a children’s book editor, I did the same thing. I can read children’s books for a living! That would be great!

 

But the truth is, while editors do read and edit a lot, most of that happens on our own time on evenings and weekends:

 

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It’s a rare day when I actually get to edit in the office.

So, what does an editor do all day, then? Well, here’s a day in my life. Let’s see. I don’t even know what will happen!

9:00 AM – Get to work. I grab a cup of coffee and quickly skim my emails to see if there’s anything I need to deal with right away. There isn’t. I write a fast update email to an author and agent, and mark a couple of emails to come back to later in the day or later this week.

That done, I settle in for my daily ritual of checking sales orders and look for tasty book-related news and great pieces about my authors’ books to share on social media. Do all editors engage in one or both of these activities? I have no idea. But this is my pattern to ease into the day.

9:30 AM – Author calls to check in on something. We have a lovely, quick chat.

9:35 AM – Bethany stops by my desk to check in.

9:45 AM – Time for another cup of coffee. Off to the kitchen I go!

coffee black and white vintage advertisement coffee lovers

9:50 AM – Start writing the draft for a deal announcement for a book I’ve recently acquired. Sometimes the editor takes the lead on this, sometimes the agent. And sometimes the announcement copy comes very quickly, and other times, not so much . . .

This one was a little tricky. It takes a while.

10:15 AM – Email agent draft copy of deal announcement for her thoughts and comments. Cross that off the list. Phew!

10:22 AM – Start typing up this blog post and realize it takes a long time to sound elegant AND research appropriate photos and GIFs. (I do it for you, dear reader.)

10:55 AM – Respond to agent asking about when client will receive editorial letter.

10:56 AM – Back to the post.

11:05 AM – Rachel stops by to catch up on some points since she’s just back from what sounds like a gloriously relaxing vacation. We talk ARC set up, some administrative concerns, and reviews among other things. We also discuss the impending Lesbian Hillbilly Militia attack, which I promised her I would include in this post. Link here: http://www.dailydot.com/irl/lesbian-and-transgender-hillbillies-are-taking-over-your-town/?llid=xKlJ&ls=dd&type=cpc&campaign=xKlJ

11:25 AM – Last catch up on the post. I’m almost up to current! I need to figure out the next task to tackle!

11:29 AM – Realize I missed social media-ing a teaser from one of my forthcoming books that went live this past Tuesday! (Check it out here.) So I tweet the link.

11:32 AM – Update an offer form with agreed terms. I like to have one sheet with everything clearly laid out. It makes it easier when it comes time to draft the contract.

11: 40 AM – Derailed by important email. Do a little research and respond.

11: 56 AM – Send updated offer form to agent to make sure it’s all as agreed.

11:58 AM –  Create folder for new author. Love adding the new!

12:02 PM – Agent likes the deal blurb! Hooray! She’s sending it on to other involved parties to make sure we’re ready to submit.

12:05 PM – General administrative reorganizing.

12:14 PM – Sit down to review a proofread. For me, this means printing out the PDF, inserting proofreader’s comments, and giving it another read. Once the book is typeset, I just catch more on the physical page. When I have everything together, I’ll mark it all back into a PDF and send it to the author for her to confirm she approves all the changes.

I suspect that this new development will be most of the rest of my day. . . . Life as editor = you don’t actually get to plan out your days and keep to that plan.

And, contrary to the above, I’m actually editing in the office, today! Caveat, though. This kind of editing in the office isn’t all that unusual for me. It’s the structural and deep line edits that usually happen outside of work hours. Going through a proofread is much more akin to proofreading—just working out he last kinks, making sure every t is crossed and i is dotted.

12:51 PM – Adobe starts a cycle of freezing. Contemplate throwing something at my computer. Decide that would be unwise.

tumblr angry work computer frustrated

1:43 PM – Ask that we order in more red pencils. Hey, I need them!

1:47 PM – Go heat up my lunch. I’m hungry!

1:50 PM – Eat lunch while working. Periodically look up to see emails, etc. and deal with them, but mostly just making sure everything in this book is shipshape. Very apropos since it’s a pirate story!

3:00 PM – Wonder why this office is so cold! The blistering conditions I’m reading about in this book are not helping.

4:00 PM – Jacket meeting. See all kinds of pretty in progress.

4:30 PM – Back to the desk to keep editing.

5:15 PM – Scroll through PW’s Children’s Bookshelf where a deal I’ve had to keep under wraps for a long time is being announced! Send the newsletter to the agent, and gleefully go share the news on social media!

5:48 PM – Off to home. It’s been a really long day and its time to get cozy, maybe do some more editing, or curl up with a manuscript to read. Until tomorrow!


Alison S. Weiss is an editor at Sky Pony Press, where she works on picture books through YA. Some of her favorite book as a kid were Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Eloise, Anne of Green Gables, and Paddington. As a grownup, favorites (that she has not edited) include Barkbelly, The Goose Girl, Circus Mirandus, The Penderwicks, and Savvy. She loves assassins and spies and sleuths, friendships that feel like they’ll last forever, and love stories that will twist you into knots before they’re through. She’s especially eager to find a middle grade with a cozy feel, and a voice-driven, sweeping, romantic YA.

Recent and soon-to-be released projects include Jessica Taylor’s Wandering Wild, Kristina McBride’s A Million Times Goodnight, the Project Droid series by New York Times bestselling author Nancy Krulik, Amanda Burwasser, and illustrated by Mike Moran, dotwav by Mike A. Lancaster, Timekeeper by Tara Sim, Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production by Sarah S. Reida, Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh, and It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! by Wendy MacLeod McKnight. She’s worked with New York Times best-selling author Jessica Verday (Of Monsters and Madness), Agatha Award winner Penny Warner (The Code Busters Club series), YALSA-Award winning Sarah Cross (Kill Me Softly and Tear You Apart), ITW Award Finalist Kristen Lippert-Martin (Tabula Rasa), Amalie Howard, and Sarah McGuire, among others. She also assisted on Christopher Myers’s H.O.R.S.E., which won a 2013 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award and the 2014 Odyssey Award.

Follow her on Twitter @alioop7.

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Which Bella Donna Character Are You?

Which Bella Donna character are you?

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1. What’s your favorite color?

A. Black

B. Green

C. Pink

D. Red

 

2. What spell would you most like to be able to do?

A. A memory-erasing spell

B. A spell to turn people into animals

C. A spell to turn everything pink

D. A spell to make yourself the center of attention

 

3. What animal would you want as a pet?

A. Cat

B. Do I have to just pick one?

C. A fluffy white dog with a pink bow

D. A snake

 

4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you most want to live?

A. Anywhere my family is

B. Where I can study animals

C. In a big pink house

D. In my own place

 

5. What is your favorite type of cookie?

A. Snickerdoodle

B. Chocolate chip

C. Sugar

D. Oatmeal raisin

 


Mostly A’s: You are Bella Donna! You are a caring individual with a devotion to your pet and your family!

Mostly B’s: You are Sam! You love animals and exploring nature!

Mostly C’s: You are Angela! You love everything pink and you are very loyal to your friends!

Mostly D’s: You are Verity! You have a mischievous side but your ultimate interest lies in doing the right thing


Enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Bella Donna Too Many Spells 9781634501552Bella Donna Too Many Spells 97816345015529781634501552-frontcoverBella Donna: Too Many Spells by Ruth Symes, illustrated by Marion Lindsay

Bella Donna seems just like any other student at her school, but she has a secret: she’s really a witch! The other witches who live on Coven Road are having a spell casting contest, and Bella is determined to win. She’s trying to learn as many spells as she can, and that’s no small thing! It’s not easy to complete secret magic training while trying to live a normal-kid life. When strange things start to happen at school and begin to spin out of control, Bella wonders if she can really do it. Maybe there are just too many spells!

This second installment in the sweet, spooky Bella Donna series will captivate young readers. Bella Donna: Too Many Spells is a combination of magic, adventure, and staying true to yourself. Marion Lindsay’s adorably simple spot illustrations bring even more magic to author Ruth Symes’s delightful tale. Fall in love with Bella Donna and her road to witchdom! And be prepared for her next big adventure!

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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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