CAROL GORDON EKSTER: First of all, congratulations, Kristen! That’s quite an undertaking to buy a small press. Since my second book, Ruth the Sleuth and the Messy Room was published by Character Publishing on its debut list, I, for one, am thrilled that you took over. Many small presses go out of business. So to find out you bought the company and are ready to lead with passion and enthusiasm is great news. Can you tell us about how you ended up becoming the new owner of Character Publishing?KRISTEN NECAISE: This is a fun story and is very much about being in the right place at the right time. Jerusha Bosarge’s daughter and my son are in the same class together at school and we happened to be at a classmate’s birthday party at the end of the school year. We were talking, and I mentioned that I was going to the Independent Book Publishers Association conference the following week. She replied with “Really? Do you want to buy a publishing company?” I was stunned. I knew that she had a children’s book and toy store, but we had never talked about it. She said that she had typed up her resignation letters to send to the authors the week before but just hadn’t felt right about sending them. Thank goodness! We met a couple of days later and went through all of the books she had published so far and it was so exciting to see what she had done that I couldn’t say no!
KN: I love the fact that Character Publishing looks for meaningful stories to share with the world. I plan to continue searching for stories that parents can count on to bring positive values into their children’s lives, and I would especially like to expand our collection of chapter books for the middle grades. I also want to increase the availability of our current collection through ebooks.
KN: I think that owning a publishing company is any reader’s dream job. For me, it’s all about the wondrous stories that I can help bring to life and share with other readers.
CGE: Many of our readers will want to know about the submission policy and what you are looking for. Can you fill us in?
KN: Character Publishing accepts manuscripts between January 1st and March 15th of each year. They can be sent either via email or regular mail. I ask that authors take a few minutes to identify the character traits emphasized in their work and to consider how their work fits with our goals of positive character development. Complete guidelines are available at the website www.characterpublishing.org.
KN: I am presently working on publishing an amazing collection of poetry about a child’s first year of life. It celebrates the milestones children reach during that time and the wonder parents feel as they watch their child change and grow. I am also busy reading the manuscripts that were submitted at the beginning of the year and working on getting the word out about the books we already have on Character’s list. I’ve started promoting with some Amazon Giveaways and I look forward to implementing other ideas that will help readers find our wonderful books.