Thursday, January 17, 2008

Editor Interview: Sharon Coatney

Meet Editor Sharon Coatney!
Acquisitions Editor
School Library Media
Libraries Unlimited

Featured Publisher: Libraries Unlimited/Teacher Ideas Press
Web site:

Professional: After being a teacher and school librarian for 30 years at all grade levels in Kansas, I retired six years ago. I started my new career as acquisitions editor for Libraries Unlimited. I have worn many hats over the years including positions as President of the American Association of School Librarians; President of the Kansas Association of School Librarians; Chair Standards Writing Committee for Library Media, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Councilor at Large—the American Library Association.

Personal: My husband, Jeff, and I have been married for 41 years. A retired army officer, Jeff is the owner of Phoenix Industries and the New Linwood Café—two small businesses in our little town. In December, we hosted an arts focus month at our café, with a special visit by author Jane Kurtz. We live in rural Kansas, not too far from Kansas City. Our children are grown. Mark is Special Projects Editor for Newsweek, based in New York, and Rachel is a teacher of the gifted and talented for the Shawnee Mission School District in Kansas City. We have one grandson, three-year-old Will, who is the joy of our life.

Interview Questions:
Q: What were some of the most influential books you read as a child?
A: When I was a child, I read the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries as well as just about anything else I could get my hands on in the school library. To this day, I love to read mysteries. I loved the Little Golden Books as a small child and vividly remember when the author of The Little Squeegie Bug came to my school in kindergarden. His name was Bill Martin, Jr and that was his very first book!

Q: How do you balance your career and your family?
A: My family is grown so my husband and I and Wonder Dog, who thinks he is really our little boy, get along fine here together. My job is a virtual one; I work entirely at home. I do travel 10-12 times a year to visit with authors, speak, and attend conferences. Many times, my husband will travel with me (particularly if it is an interesting place to go). Two years ago we went to Prague where I spoke at the conference for the librarians teaching at the American schools in Europe. This year we had a lovely and leisurely time driving back through the mountains in October after I had attended the AASL conference in Reno.

Q: Do you also enjoy writing your own manuscripts in the midst of editing everyone else’s?
A: Like every other children's book lover, I am trying to find a publisher for a picture book that I have written! It is a family story.

Q: What types of topics/proposals/manuscripts would be on your editor’s wish list to receive?
A: We are a publisher of professional books for teachers and librarians. We are looking for helpful, practical books on using technology in the classroom, reading, and all other curriculum areas. I am particularly interested in receiving anything that addresses the collaborative teaching of the curriculum by teachers and school librarians.

Q: Share one tip you’d like to give about landing a contract with your publishing house.
A: Please do not send proposals to us that you have submitted simultaneously to other publishers.

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