Publicity Manager Lindsay Matvick discusses publishing at Lerner, 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 (6/22/16) has been condensed and edited by Kristen Daily, Ebooks MN Project Intern.
Minitex: How would you describe yourself as a publisher?
Lindsay Matvick: Lerner Publishing Group creates high-quality fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Founded in 1959, Lerner Publishing Group is one of the nation’s largest independent children’s book publishers, with fourteen imprints and divisions: Lerner Publications, Millbrook Press, Carolrhoda Books, Twenty-First Century Books, Graphic Universe™, Darby Creek, Kar-Ben Publishing, Carolrhoda Lab™, Hungry Tomato™, LernerClassroom, ediciones Lerner, First Avenue Editions, Lerner Digital™, and Lerner Publisher Services.
From richly illustrated picture books and excellent nonfiction resources to entertaining fiction and graphic novels, Lerner Publishing Group offers a wide variety of materials to draw in young people and help them learn and grow.
M: What does it mean to you to be an independent publisher in Minnesota?
LM: We are honored to be part of the rich literary culture in Minnesota. As an independent publisher we are proud to publish many Minnesota authors and illustrators and to give back to our community through charities, sponsorships, and scholarships, including the Minnesota Book Award Book Artist Award and the Vaunda Micheaux Nelson Scholarship. This annual award is given to a new or current student in the Hamline University MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young Adults who shows an exceptional promise as a writer of color.
M: What are you most proud of as a publisher?
LM: What makes Lerner so unique is the breadth and depth of our publishing program. We are proud to have more starred reviews, more awards, and more digital options than any other school and library publisher. We are also committed to publishing the highest-quality picture books, nonfiction, and YA novels for the trade market, which receive national recognition from prominent review journals and esteemed awards committees.
M: What publications are you most excited about?
LM: In our Fall 2016 season we are extremely excited about Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story written by Minnesota author Caren Stelson. This striking work of narrative nonfiction tells the true story of six-year-old Sachiko Yasui's survival of the Nagasaki atomic bomb on August 9, 1945 and the heartbreaking and lifelong aftermath. Having conducted extensive interviews with Sachiko Yasui, Caren Stelson shares the true story of this young girl who survived an atomic bomb and chronicles her long journey to find peace. This special book offers readers a remarkable new perspective on the final moments of World War II and their aftermath.
This fall we’re also pleased to launch our new Bumba Books™ brand, which introduces emerging readers to nonfiction. This dynamic new brand includes seven engaging series featuring eye-catching photographs, intriguing topics, simple charts and diagrams, and attractive design. Each title also includes age-appropriate critical thinking questions and a photo glossary to help kids build nonfiction reading skills.
M: How would you describe your relationship with the Minnesota library community? What would you like to see in the future?
LM: We are in love with Minnesota libraries and all they do to support young readers and our literary community. We also greatly value the opinions and expertise that Minnesota librarians have to offer and use input given by Minnesota librarians to build our lists and create new series and titles that are missing on library shelves. We continue to build relationships with local librarians and hope to encourage future librarians through support of programs like the Minnesota Library Foundation, Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, MELSA, and more!
M: What changes do you think publishing will see in the future? Where do you see Lerner in the future?
LM: Changes in technology have driven so many of the changes in the publishing industry in recent years, and we expect that will continue. We will remain committed to offering our books in all the formats our customers want.
M: 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?
LM: Lerner is active on our blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube and we use these social media channels to reach librarians, teachers, bookstores, bloggers, parents, and young readers. As new platforms emerge we will continue to use social media as a way to directly engage with customers and fellow book lovers!
We also use platforms such as NetGalley and Edelweiss to get eGalleys into the hands of key industry influencers and we are seeing the use of these programs blossom.
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.