Managing Editor Mari Kesselring discusses publishing at Flux, an imprint of North Star Editions and one of the Ebooks Minnesota publishing partners. Ebooks MN is an online collection covering a wide variety of subjects for readers of all ages, and features content from our state's independent publishers.
This interview (7/13/17) has been condensed and edited by Kristen Daily, Ebooks MN Project Intern.
Minitex: How would you describe yourself as a publisher? What does it mean to you to be an independent publisher in Minnesota?
Mari Kesselring: At Flux, we’re passionate about showcasing diverse stories and perspectives. We are multi-genre Young Adult publisher, and so we have sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary—you name it! We tend to publish books that are more “edgy”, showcasing some of the tough things that teenagers deal with.
We are lucky to be part of the rich literary community here in Minnesota. Minnesota has so many great resources for authors, editors, and publishers. As we continue to grow the imprint, we’re excited about partnering with local bookstores and others for promotional events.
Minitex: What do you see your role as in the Minnesota publishing community?
MK: While there are many amazing publishers in Minnesota producing great work, there are not many that focus specifically on YA for the trade market. So, Flux is unique in that way.
Flux also has a wonderful history of launching some big name authors (including Maggie Stiefvater and A.S. King), and through this, we hope that the imprint makes a name for itself (and Minnesota publishing) on the national stage.
Minitex: What are you most proud of as a publisher? What publications are you most excited about?
MK: I'm very proud that Flux has the reputation of being a GLBT+ friendly publisher. This is something that we continue to cultivate in acquisitions.
I’m excited about all of our upcoming books! I’m super pumped to see local author David Oppegaard’s The Town Built on Sorrow hit the market in September 2017. It’s a creepy thriller that you won’t want to put down, but it has a much deeper level than your average page-turner.
We’re also releasing our first YA anthology, Welcome Home, this fall. The book is a collection of fictional stories about adoption. It’s a mix of genres, and features authors such as Adi Alsaid, Lauren Morrill, and Courtney C. Stevens. Many of the authors (and the collection’s editor, Eric Smith) have firsthand experience with adoption.
Minitex: How would you describe your relationship with the Minnesota library community? What would you like to see in the future?
MK: Our libraries are such an important resource in this state. Many have programs especially set up for teenagers and feature expansive YA sections.
I think a lot of Minnesota librarians are familiar with the Flux imprint. In the future, we hope to make more connections with librarians and help support the work they do.
Minitex: What changes do you think publishing will see in the future? Where do you see Flux in the future?
MK: The #ownvoices effort is big in YA right now, and that’s wonderful. I think we’re going to see more and more readers seeking out diverse authors and stories. I think it’s possible that this could lead to more memoir in the YA market as well.
Flux will continue to seek out diverse stories and topics that resonate with readers. North Star Editions also has the Jolly Fish Press imprint which is coming out with five books this fall, including several books for middle grade readers.
Minitex: PR coverage/getting word out about books has drastically changed (i.e. social media promotions, book trailers, etc.). What do you think this will look like in the future? How will people find books?
MK: So true! YA is huge on Twitter and Instagram. There are so many fun ways for authors to get involved and promote their books on social media. In the future, I think we will see more publishers relying on authors to promote and sell their own books using social media platforms and other tools.
I think a lot of readers already find books through Goodreads, reviewer blogs, and other social media. I think we’ll only see more of that in the future.
Readers can check out books from two authors mentioned in this interview, Maggie Stiefvater and David Oppegaard, in the Ebooks MN collection. Stiefvater’s Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception is fantastic adventure and love story that features lots of Celtic faerie lore. Oppegaard’s The Firebug of Balrog County is a darkly comic coming-of-age story set in a small town.
Ebooks Minnesota is a two-year pilot project of Minitex and State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education. The collection was made possible in part by funding from the Minnesota Department of Education through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and by Minitex.