- Jeff Pinsker Named President of Klutz® and VP, Scholastic Inc.
- Storia, the eReading App for Kids Created by Scholastic, to Offer Titles from Albert Whitman & Company
- Olympic Gold Medalist and American Soccer Star Alex Morgan to Publish Debut Middle-Grade Series With Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
- Macmillan and 21st Century Launch Joint Children's Publishing Venture in China, Macmillan Century Consulting & Service Company Ltd
- Scholastic Launches Harry Potter Reading Club, an Online Resource for Teachers, Librarians, and Parents
Jason Wells interviewed in the Early Career Committe's BOLDFACE newsletter this month
July 27, 2011
This month's BOLDFACE, the CBC Early Career Committee's newsletter for publishing staff in their first five years in the industry, featured a Q & A with Jason Wells.
Jason is the Executive Director, Publicity and Marketing at
Abrams Books for Young Readers | Amulet Books.
Q: What was your first job in children's publishing?
A: In 1992, as a junior in high school, I started as an after school intern at the now defunct coffee table reference book publisher PBC International, Inc., based in Glen Cove, Long Island. I worked there for two full years, full-time in the summer. It was a wonderful place to learn the ins and outs of both marketing and editorial. I was lucky enough to experience book design BEFORE computers-wax, boards, slides, transparencies, and all of the glories of old school, full-color printing.
Q: What was the first children's book you worked on?
A: It was the last book I worked on before leaving PBC to go to college---Children's Book Illustration and Design, edited by Julie Cummins. It was a survey of the best children's illustrators in the field and a fascinating introduction to the world.
Q: How long have you worked at Abrams Books for Young Readers?
A: 9 years as of June 2011.
Q: What is your favorite word?
A: It changes, at the moment it is pontificate.
Q: What is your favorite industry-related website or blog?
A: This also changes. Since BookExpo I'm hooked on Shelftalker. There something so real about it.
Q: Can you describe your typical day?
A: I get up (try to, sometimes) at 6:10am and go to the gym in my building; then bike to work. I'm usually at my desk by no later than 7:55am. I read the Wall Street Journal. Then the juggling begins. As my department is both publicity and marketing, parts of the day involve different aspects of both. I love the variety. I usually wrap things up at 6:50pm, before the freight elevator closes at 7pm (have to get the bike back out of the building!). Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of your job?
Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of your job?
A: Communication. Whether I'm talking to the media, librarians, booksellers, or simply passing information along in-house, the message has to be clear and presented with courtesy (no matter how bad the news is).
Q: What's the best piece of advice you ever received?
A: When I worked in publicity only at a previous job at a larger house, my very wise boss told me that my talents would be best used by a smaller publisher who could fully appreciate my interests in both marketing and publicity. She was right.
Q: What are you reading now? Or what was the last book you really enjoyed?
A: I just finished Jack Gantos's new book. For a while I've been reading We are the Drowned by Carsten Jensen, and I love it. It is a fantastic epic best read in pieces.
Q: What's the oddest submission/craziest query letter you've ever received?
A: Just last night I received an e-mail inquiry by Florida's former governor Jeb Bush, asking for an author to appear at a charity he works with. This is second only to getting an actual thank you letter, with real signature, mailed to me by Barbara Bush for sending an author to one of her events. The Republicans are after me!
Q: Recent years have seen a rise in picture-book biographies. Were your life ever to be chronicled in such a way-and don't be modest, now-who would you choose to illustrate it?
A: Most likely Jos A. Smith, who has illustrated brilliant depictions of Gregor Mendel, Audubon, and others. Since most of my life involves bicycles, bookstores, and publishing offices, he'd be ideal.
Jason M. Wells is the Executive Director of Children's Publicity and Marketing at Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books, imprints of ABRAMS. He started his career in publishing at age 16 at reference book publisher PBC International on Long Island. After graduating from SUNY Oneonta in 1997 with a degree in communication, he worked at G.P. Putnam's Sons, Publishers, as a publicity assistant for children's books and also worked at Penguin, DK Publishing, Hyperion/Disney, and Simon & Schuster.
In 2002 he joined Abrams and has lead the marketing and publicity on bestselling series Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, which has more than 50 million copies in print in the United States, The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, and TTYL by Lauren Myracle, the Newbery honor book and New York Times bestseller Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus, and picture book bestsellers Babar by Laurent de Brunhoff, The Crows of Pearblossom by Aldus Huxley, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, 365 Penguins by Jean Luc Fromental, illustrated by Joelle Jolivet, When Sheep Sleep and The Jellybeans series by Laura Numeroff, and All in A Day by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Nikki McClure. In 2007, Jason earned a master's degree in library science from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.