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Mentor Corner Archives: Kristine Enderle

Editorial Director, Magination Press (May 20, 2019 Issue)

What was your first job in publishing?

I was a development editor at Human Kinetics, a sport science text books publisher in Champaign, Illinois.

What was your career path like getting to your current role?

Completely convoluted! I actually have a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and minor in psychology from Indiana University. After college, I worked as a research tech in an AIDS research lab at National Cancer Institute and cancer research lab at Northwestern University Medical Center. I eventually grew tired of bench work and immunology and viral research, so I started taking fiction writing and journalism/communication courses at Northwestern, all those classes I missed as an undergrad. Eventually, I got a job as the Medical and Scientific Affairs manager at the National Alzheimer’s Association where I wrote newsletters and fact sheets but mostly explained the neurological science of dementia and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease to non-scientists and caregivers. Believe it or not, all the science work and then translating and communicating complicated neurobiological biological processes to people, prepared me to develop and work on sport psychology and anatomy/sports text and trade books. It was about taking jargon and technical language, making that understandable to the audience, and then packaging that information (either visually or with words) into a way that is assessible and interesting to read.

What advice would you give to those who are either just starting out or are in their first few years in publishing?

Know your audience and read their books. Books for that age group (in particular) should be consumed daily! Figure out how to do every part of a book and realize that it is all CONTENT not product necessarily—from picking paper and endsheets, designing a page, choosing fonts, looking at the visual pace of the story, editing the words, collaborating with authors and agents, writing flap and cover copy, choosing a title—but know that all those decisions aren’t yours alone (and be fine with that.) Surround yourself with book editors who deeply care about books and the needs of the audience.

What have been some highlights of your career so far?

Having the guts to publish a book win that ended up winning a Stonewall Award (This Day in June by Gayle Pitman) and become listed as an ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom’s Top 11 Challenged Books for 2019. It is really beautifully illustrated, and the story is authentic and affirming and shows a Pride parade through the eyes of child. Plus there are all kind of illustrations showing men dancing together, interracial couples, gender nonconforming folks, loving families, dykes on bikes, leather daddies—it is delightful and one-of-a-kind. I couldn’t be prouder of that book.

Having published (developed and edited too) GIRL by Karen Rayne—it’s edgy progressive modern inclusive growing up guide for anyone who identifies as a girl. It received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was selected as one of 7 Best of the Best Nonfiction Teen books from the Chicago Public Library.

I also have been lucky enough to launch a whole bunch of authors, publish their debut book, and then work with them to develop into incredibly talented house authors. And they call me their editor! I love that.

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