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See You on the Bookshelf

Arts & Culture Podcasts

A fifteen-episode podcast following 'See You in the Cosmos' from manuscript to published novel, featuring interviews with the publishing insiders who worked on it.

A fifteen-episode podcast following 'See You in the Cosmos' from manuscript to published novel, featuring interviews with the publishing insiders who worked on it.


United States


A fifteen-episode podcast following 'See You in the Cosmos' from manuscript to published novel, featuring interviews with the publishing insiders who worked on it.








15. The Publisher

There’s the publisher—the publishing house, a company that puts out books—and then there’s the publisher—a specific person and role within that company. In this our final episode of See You on the Bookshelf, we speak to Lauri Hornik, President and Publisher of Dial Books for Young Readers, and we reflect on the overall journey of See You in the Cosmos from manuscript to printed book.


14. The Book Tour

This week we talk once again with our Penguin Young Readers publicists Lindsay Boggs and Kaitlin Kneafsey, and with our sales rep John Dennany, about putting together the book tour—one that, for a debut Middle Grade author like me, involves fewer bookstore events and more school visits and dinners with booksellers. Music by Saint Benjamin. This episode also featured sounds from, including Shutting a car door by cameronmusic, Car interior / driving on rainy night by Maurice_J_K,...


13. The Marketing

We’ve talked a bit about marketing in past episodes; this week we go more in depth with Julia Teece from Penguin Random House (UK) and Alexis Watts from Penguin Young Readers (US). We talk about how Marketing works with Publicity on a campaign, about selling into Schools and Libraries through both in-person events and the online Penguin Sneak Peek (such as this video for Spring 2017 featuring See You in the Cosmos), and about awards and the longer sales cycle for children’s books....


12. The Sales

See You in the Cosmos is on the shelves of most bookstores in the English-speaking world. But it doesn’t get there automatically. Booksellers have to decide to stock it. And convincing them to stock it is in large part the responsibility of the publisher sales rep. This week we talk to John Dennany of Penguin Random House Books for Young Readers about the on-the-ground work of traveling to bookstores, giving sales presentations, and about how he knows when a book might be poised to take off....


11. The Publicity

See You in the Cosmos has been reviewed in newspapers and magazines like The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and TIME for Kids. But media coverage around this book and others like it don’t happen by accident; they come as a result of the persistent efforts of the book publicist. This week, we speak with not one but three publicists: Lindsay T. Boggs and Kaitlin Kneafsey of Penguin Young Readers (US), and Sophia Rubie of Penguin Random House Children’s (UK). We learn about their paths in...


10. The Librarian Conference

This past Thursday and Friday, I was in San Antonio for TLA—the Texas Library Association’s annual conference. I brought my microphone. In this episode, we talk to librarian Curren McLane, a member of TLA’s planning committee, and to Venessa Carson, who is part of the School and Library Marketing team at Penguin Young Readers . We also get an airport-hot-take from Marissa Grossman and Kate Meltzer, two Penguin editors who were also in attendance, and, in my downtime, I roam the main...


9. The Audiobook

See You in the Cosmos was born out of audio; the novel is written as transcriptions of the recordings that the main character, Alex, is making on his Golden iPod. This week we talk to Karen Dziekonski, producer at Penguin Random House Audio and Listening Library, about bringing these “transcripts” alive for the audiobook. Karen goes into her time with StoryCorps, as well as the challenges of casting Alex. We also hear a couple auditions from Jason Culp and Robert Fass for an unusual...


8. The Interior Design

This week on the podcast we talk once again about design—the design of the book’s interior. We hear from Jason Henry, senior designer at Dial Books for Young Readers, about the invisible work that goes into turning the Word-doc manuscript into a printed book.


7. The Copyediting

You’ve met my editors; now meet my copyeditors. This week we hear from Regina Castillo, Copy Chief at Dial Books for Young Readers, about what copyeditors do, and we also chat with Wendy Shakespeare, Senior Editorial Manager at Penguin Random House Children’s UK, about anglicizing American books for a British audience.



We've come back to where we began our story: roughly eight months out from publication. We pause for a moment before digging into the even more behind-the-scenes—and invisible—aspects of the publishing process.


6. The (Internal) Launch

As See You in the Cosmos launches this week in the US, UK, and rest of the English-speaking world, we look back on the internal launches that took place within the publishing houses roughly one year ago. We talk again with my editors Anthea Townsend and Jess Dandino Garrison about the room where it happens, and about presenting a book to their colleagues at the publishing house.


5. The Cover

The challenge of writing and editing a middle grade book with a broader audience translates to a similar challenge in cover (or jacket) design. In this episode we talk with Jacqui McDonough, Art Director at Penguin Random House Children’s in the UK about the design process, what designers and art directors do, and hiring The Heads of State for the cover illustration.


4. The Editing

This episode we go deeper into editing with Jess Garrison of Dial Books for Young Readers and Anthea Townsend of Penguin Random House Children’s UK. We talk about our three-way collaboration, and about the differences between fiction for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers.


3. The Acquisition

See You in the Cosmos was jointly acquired by two editors—one on each side of the Atlantic. In this episode, we meet those two editors. Jess Garrison is Senior Editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, part of Penguin Young Readers in the US. Anthea Townsend is Editorial Director at Penguin Random House Children’s in the UK. We hear about how they came together over the manuscript, and what they look for in the books they publish.


2. The German Deal

Even before See You in the Cosmos was sold to US and UK publishers, it was sold in Germany. In this episode we chat with Kalah McCaffrey , the literary scout who played a significant role in the deal. We also hear again from my agent, Jessica Craig, about auctions, pre-emptive offers, and the nailbiting couple weeks before the english language offers came in.


1. The Submission

The manuscript is attached to an email, and that email is sent to editors at various publishing houses. The person sending it? The literary agent. In this episode we hear from my agent, Jessica Craig, about submitting See You in the Cosmos to publishers. Jessica and I reminisce on how we first met, and she tells the story of her path in the industry—from scouting to foreign rights, to becoming a primary agent.



A novel is finished. Eight months later, a printed book appears on shelves. What happens in those eight months? Here is a brief introduction to See You on the Bookshelf, a podcast mini-series about how my novel, See You in the Cosmos, becomes a published book.