Allie Singer has been a member of the DK editorial team since 2011. Her focus is on teen and children's nonfiction, and she is passionate about creating beautiful books that inspire people to learn something new. Allie currently lives in Manhattan, and when she isn't reading or editing, she is either tap dancing or looking for new restaurants to try.
1. How did the idea first come about (backlist meeting perhaps)?
A year or two ago, we noticed that when you go to a bookstore and look in the teen section, you’ll see tons and tons of YA fiction—but quality, interesting nonfiction for teens is much harder to find. So we decided to start a new line of nonfiction books specifically created for tween and teen readers. As we brainstormed topics we felt readers in this age group really cared about, career choices quickly rose to the top of list. We envisioned a book that took this complicated, sometimes daunting, yet endlessly fascinating subject and broke it down in way teen readers would like, and in a way they would find useful and inspiring
2. How many editors and designers were involved in its creation?
There are five contributing authors, somewhere in the ballpark of twelve editors, and about eight designers who worked on the book in total. That probably seems like a lot of people for one book! DK is a bit odd, but wonderful, in that way: Unlike most other publishers, we give just as much attention to the design of our books as we do to the text—so it’s rare that there will be just one designer or editor on a project.
3. How long did it take to create the book from start to finish? (After the pub board approved, what timeline did you allow for the actual writing, design, and creation of the book?)
The book took a full year to create, from getting the concept approved back in in the fall of 2013, all the way to sending the final files off to the printer in the fall of 2014. After all that work, when the first advance copies finally came in from the printer in January, I almost couldn’t believe it.
4.Any contributions from in-house staff? (Editors, interns, assistants, temps, composition, marketing--any place in-house employees contributed--especially interns, temps and assistants.)
I think this book may have more in-house contributions than any other book I’ve worked on. Besides the many editors and designers in New York, Wisconsin, London, and Delhi helping to create the content, our entire staff pitched in when it was time to find career experts to read over their job’s information and make sure we got it exactly right. Then you have to take into account the contributions of our sales, marketing, PR, and operations teams who work impossibly hard every day to get our books into the hands of our readers. From the interns who help send out review copies, all the way up to the marketing managers and sales reps who present our titles to booksellers, Careers is a fantastic example of a true company-wide effort.
Thank you for sharing some of the processes involved in the creation of this excellent book!
This is one of those books that would have been a blast developing!
"This is the prettiest, most well-organized, useful and up to date guide to careers that I have ever seen. It is a wonder, and it is a treasure. I haven't said this about any book, in the last twenty years." — Dick Bolles, author, What Color Is Your Parachute?
5. What factors played a part in the internal design of the book?
From the start, we knew we wanted the book to be visually awesome, with bold colors and fun graphics. (Most of the books on this subject are black-and-white, text-heavy, and not all that interesting to look at.) But it was equally, if not more, important to us that the design of the book be practical and functional—there’s no point in publishing great information if it takes the reader a long time to figure out how to read it. When one of our designers came up with a treatment that was accessible, smart, modern, and able to really deliver information in an organized and accessible way, we knew right away it was the perfect approach. The design looks fantastic, and it works: The careers pages have the content split into easy-to-locate sections so that no matter what information readers are looking for, they’ll be able to find it quickly and easily.
6. Any hick-ups along the way, i.e. missed deadlines, back-to-the-drawing-board moments?
Of course! Every book has its hiccups, and Careers is no exception. At the beginning of each project, we do our best to figure out where the potential hiccups might be—but there are always ones that catch us by surprise. When you have editors and designers in three different countries working on a book at the same time, you definitely learn to expect the unexpected.
For me, the back-to-the-drawing-board moment (or, really, more of a I’m-gonna-need-a-second-drawing-board moment) came when we decided that we wanted to have every job’s page vetted by a person who was in that line of work—our “career experts.” We had to figure out a way to keep the book on schedule editorially while organizing the comments of more than 100 consultants. My inbox was very full for a few months….
7. How has the book been received so far?
The book is being received extremely well, thank goodness! Reviews have been great. And anecdotally, I’ve even heard from a few of my coworkers that their teenagers are using Careers to decide what their college majors will be. It’s an amazing feeling to know a book I helped create could potentially change the course of a person’s life.