Sometimes the best ideas are associated with a red couch. . .

The Red Sofa Chats: Annette Pollert-Morgan

Annette Pollert

Annette Pollert-Morgan is the editorial manager of Sourcebooks Fire, the young adult imprint at Sourcebooks. She acquires teen fiction and nonfiction, and loves complicated, engaging protagonists, and intense, heart-wrenching books that leave you feeling more than when you started. Annette has worked with NYT bestselling authors L.J. Smith, Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié, and Thomas E. Sniegoski, National Book Award Finalists Carrie Arcos and Deb Caletti, Stonewall Honor recipient Brian Farrey, as well as Jennifer Echols, Miranda Kenneally, Jason Myers, Lisa Schroeder, Jeri Smith-Ready, K.M. Walton, and others. Before joining Sourcebooks, Annette was an editor at Simon Pulse, a contemporary, commercial YA imprint at S&S. You can follow her on Twitter at @annettepollert.

 

 

1. Why did you choose to become an editor?

I’ve always loved books and reading, so knew I wanted to do something that let me spend time with both “when I grew up.” I fell in love with editorial work during an internship at Scholastic Inc. Editors get to see a book from acquisition through publication (and beyond!), so they really play a role in each stage of the publishing process. And I found that to be really exciting and rewarding. I was hooked!

 

2. Are there any projects you wish you could have worked on?

There are many books that I wish I had acquired and edited. Some are manuscripts I read on submission that got swooped up by another editor. Some are books I admire and wonder what the editorial process was like with the author. Some are books that I loved when I was younger and now look back on, imaging how amazing it would have been to be the first in-house reader. It’s a long list. So I tend to focus on what I’m going to fall in love with next. And I’m grateful to editors who ushered novels—such as Joy Hensley’s RITES OF PASSAGE, E. Lockhart’s WE WERE LIARS, Meg Rosoff’s HOW I LIVE NOW, Lois Lowry’s NUMBER THE STARS, and others—to the shelves so I could enjoy them.

 

3. What are you reading right now (for personal reading, for fun)?

At the moment, I am between books. Next on the list? Herman Koch’s THE DINNER. My personal reading has more adult than YA of late. I enjoy variety.

 

4. How do you utilize Twitter? How do you believe it has changed the way we go about publishing books?

Twitter is a fantastic way to connect with authors, agents, and editors. It’s very conversational and you can learn a lot from the exchanges there. I follow a wide range of folks. Personally, I go through phases of lurking and tweeting. And I tend tune in when I’m on the bus, the subway, and waiting in line to pick up lunch. It keeps me entertained and engaged—but keeps it from becoming a distraction. I’ve met agents, learned about new submissions, connected with potential authors, heard publishing news, and discovered new books that I wanted to read on Twitter. It’s a useful tool.

 

5. If you had a crystal ball, where do you think (or hope) publishing will be in 5 years?

It is exciting to see how much publishing has changed over the past few years, and I’m looking forward to the future. As a YA editor, I hope that the enthusiasm continues for that category. It’s important that we grow new readers. If you’re not reading when you are younger, it’s not as likely that you’ll want to read when you’re older—so there need to be different kinds of books to appeal to teens. Whatever the format, whatever the delivery, I’m looking forward to more engaging, innovative storytelling that leaves readers feeling energized and connected and wanting more.

 

Thanks so much for being part of the Red Sofa Chats! For our readers, Annette is hosting a contest for this special chat, of which a comment or question will enter a person’s name to win copies of  Rin Chupeco’s THE GIRL FROM THE WELL and Virginia Bergin’s H2O.  The winner’s name will be randomly drawn on December 1st.  Let’s do it!

 

13 Responses to “The Red Sofa Chats: Annette Pollert-Morgan”

  1. Dan Koboldt

    Thanks for the post, Annette! I’ll throw out the question that a lot of us probably want to ask: What sort of projects are you looking to acquire now for Sourcebooks Fire?

    Reply
    • Annette Pollert-Morgan

      As my grandfather used to say, “Do you have a few minutes? Sit down and I’ll tell you!”
      The short answer is: I acquire only YA for Sourcebooks Fire, and primarily contemporary teen fiction (across genres). I’m drawn to stories in which characters are emotionally, physically, and/or spiritually isolated…which sounds depressing, though what teen HASN’T felt that way at one point in time? I also love fast-paced narratives that twist and turn and keep me guessing. Books about death and grieving, stories about survival, incredible love against the odds, issue-driven novels—I like intensity.
      All that said, I love a good laugh and always like to have a few books where things end happily. Also? I like to be surprised!
      I will acquire the occasional nonfiction book too. Narrative or prescriptive, these projects need an authentic voice that addresses timely issues in a relevant way that will speak to teens.

      Reply
  2. cheisserer

    Hi Annette. I followed you on Twitter. Always great to come across great people in the writing business. Also, your collection of favorite books have a lot in common with mine! Have a great rest of your week.

    Reply
    • Annette Pollert-Morgan

      High-five! Clearly we both have excellent taste. Thanks for leaving a comment!

      Reply
  3. Sara Amundson (@saraterror)

    THE GIRL FROM THE WELL is the most amazing novel I’ve read all year. I would like to hug everyone at Sourcebooks until their internal organs smoosh together. Thank you so much for giving the world a chance to discover Rin Chupeco’s amazing talent.

    Reply
    • Annette Pollert-Morgan

      I am so glad that you enjoyed THE GIRL FROM THE WELL, Sara! It is one of the most creepy, atmospheric novels that I’ve read. And the great news? Rin has a companion novel that is coming out next year. It’s a toss up to which book I love more. So I’ve decided it’s best not to choose!

      Reply
      • Sara Amundson (@saraterror)

        I know if you have a time machine, you’re supposed to do something all noble, like travel to the past and avert terrible atrocities. But if I had a time machine, I’d just use it to fast forward to the 2015 release of THE SUFFERING. Okiku is one of the most fascinating protagonists I’ve ever seen. I love Rin Chupeco’s book and brain so much, I don’t even care that my boundless enthusiasm probably makes me look a bit deranged. 😀

  4. John Lanser

    Mainly because I don’t want to be head murdered, but what do you think the main difference is between ya and adult fiction and why should there be one?

    Reply
    • Annette Pollert-Morgan

      This could be a very long answer, but I’ll try to keep this brief! Teens will read adult books. Adults will read teen books. Most YA is about teenage protagonists (though there will always be an exception or a book that pushes the boundaries). Adult books can certainly have younger protagonists (think THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, among others). I think it is easiest to frame/decide based on audience. Who are your main readers going to be–and where will they look to find the book. Where would a book be shelved?
      But as far as qualities that differentiate between YA and Adult Fiction? In my opinion, a good storytelling is good storytelling. And that’s that!

      Reply
    • Sara Amundson (@saraterror)

      I love how this comment makes no sense outside of the context of my Twitter feed and my habit of threatening to murder everyone on Twitter who doesn’t read THE GIRL FROM THE WELL.

      Seriously, though, I will murder their faces off.

      Reply
  5. ineffabilliken

    How do you understand YA’s role in a larger literary culture? In particular, do you think of it essentially transitional?

    Reply

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