Informational Interview With Kim Martin Sadler

Kim Martin Sadler

Editorial Director

The Pilgrim Press

Interview date: November 14, 2012

Purpose of Interview: To get information on the publishing industry.


Pilgrim Press is the oldest living publishing house in the nation. It was founded in 1640 when the Pilgrims came over on the Mayflower. Pilgrim press has a rich history in abolition and civil rights. The publisher moved from New York to Cleveland in 1991. Pilgrim press publishes about 20 titles per year.



What is your background (both academic and experience)?

Degree in print journalism

Freelance writer for:

Trinity Baptist Church in Chicago

The National Association of Social Workers

The Urban League


How long have you worked in this field?

21 years in communications writing





What are the basic prerequisites for jobs in this field?

To get into one of the “Big 10” publishing houses you have to know someone to get your foot in the door and you have to start at an entry level position and work your way up.

There are multiple components to book publishing other than the author

Graphic artists- create book covers and cover art

Production – manufactures the book

Marketing- get the word out about the book

Because of the internet, eBooks and other technology, you can have any background to get in to the publishing industry.


How would you describe your day-to-day responsibilities?

Day begins with opening and responding to emails, many of those emails are for unsolicited manuscripts. The manuscripts that cover areas of interest go into a folder, other get a decline letter.

Edit manuscripts that are acquired for publishing

Look at sales reports such as the “birthday report” that tracks book sales from the first publication date thru the first year

Handle any crisis with authors

Negotiate contracts with authors

Look over catalogues to make sure they include all current titles

Read Publishers Weekly (the industry bible)

Attend acquisition meeting

Make sure deadlines are met


What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging? Least satisfying?

Most satisfying:

When the book that has been worked on is released and is a success

Most challenging:

Problems with authors and the process; authors can be very rude and demanding

Contract negotiations

Misprints (mistakes made after the book is printed)

Least satisfying:

Sending decline letters


What I learned about the job

The publishing industry is a white male dominated industry.  There are very few people of color in the industry. Key things publishers look for in an author are the author’s platform, how they use social media, and if they have a following.  Book publishing is a time sensitive industry, books are marketed a year before their publication date.

What the interview changed my mind about what the job is

The job is not for procrastinators, there are deadlines that have to be met to make sure the book has the best chance to be successful.  The interview has increased my desire to be in the publishing field.

What I learned about the process

There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into producing a book. Attention to detail is a must because mistakes can be costly. You have to be available to the author and address their fears and concerns.

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