Monday, August 23, 2010

Six Questions for Dr. Nicolas Kanellos, Editor, Arte Publico Press

From the website:

"Arte Público Press, affiliated with the University of Houston, specializes in publishing contemporary novels, short stories, poetry, and drama based on U.S. Hispanic (Cuban American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and others) cultural issues and themes. Arte Público also is interested in reference works and non-fiction studies, especially of Hispanic civil rights, women’s issues and history. Manuscripts, queries, synopses, outlines, proposals, introductory chapters, etc. are accepted in either English or Spanish, although the majority of our publications are in English." Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: According to a report by Foner Books (, “[g]rowth stagnated for booksellers in 2008, and overall book sales barely moved according to the government.” In addition, I’ve read a number of articles concerning the difficulty authors are having securing book deals. In your opinion, what is the current state of the print book market?

NK: It’s diminishing every day, except for celebrity books and graphic novels.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a manuscript?

NK: Immediate reader appeal, excellent characters and plot development, and master control of language and style.

SQF: What major mistakes do authors make when pitching their books?

NK: They overstate the marketability of their books, completely unaware of market conditions and quirks, publisher mission and financial limitations, and genres addressed by the publisher.

SQF: Of the books your company publishes each year, how many are by previously unpublished authors?

NK: About 50%.

SQF: What is your advice to new, unpublished authors looking for a publisher or agent?

NK: First, write the book.

SQF: What question do you wish I’d asked that I didn’t? And how would you answer it?

No response given.

Thank you, Nicolas. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

NEXT POST: Six Questions for Geoffrey Porter, Editor-in-Chief, Untied Shoelaces of the Mind 

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