“A successful author/publisher collaboration is like parent/nanny—no one will ever love your book the way you do, but you need to find someone you feel comfortable with and then trust them to do the right thing by your progeny.”
Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30–July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.
An Interview with Caroline Casey
Caroline Casey is Managing Director at Coffee House Press. She has a background in marketing, publicity, and acquisitions, including stints at Sarabande Books and Stanford University Press, and holds an MFA from the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa.
Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?
Caroline Casey: A successful author/publisher collaboration is like parent/nanny—no one will ever love your book the way you do, but you need to find someone you feel comfortable with and then trust them to do the right thing by your progeny.
Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?
CC: Talent. Full stop. We only care about the book.
Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?
CC: Definitely not. Social media can, when employed well and with years (years) of groundwork laying, sell books. But plenty of writers simply write, and they succeed or fail based on that.
Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?
CC: If only! Everyone requires something different. I guess I’d say to not judge the value of your work by its reception. You can’t control that.
Scribe: On your website, you give a wide-range of narrative nonfiction; can you highlight a few examples of recent narrative nonfiction publications to give readers get a better sense of what you’re looking for?
CC: We’re interested in work that conforms more to the demands of “essay” than of “nonfiction.” Recent-ish examples would be Elena Passarello’s Animals Strike Curious Poses or Katie Holten’s collage (that’s the best description I can think of) About Trees. I’m enjoying Lauren Elkin’s Flaneuse. Garnette Cadogan is writer I’m always ready for new work from, as is Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. I’d say our taste is: any book that approaches its subject with curiosity, sentence-level interest, and a sense of context.
Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.