Ever wonder how your favorite Skybound titles find their way into bookstores? A lot of the credit goes to Sarah Clements, Brand Coordinator for our Editorial team. As part of our ongoing celebration of Pride Month, we recently chatted with Sarah about their lifelong love of reading, their favorite Skybound titles, and the importance of diversity in today’s publishing field and book market! Here’s what they had to say…
What’s your origin story?
Oh gosh. Okay, well I’ve always loved to read. I would spend HOURS in my bedroom reading and would be so stuck in my own little world that I had no awareness of what was going on around me. [LOL.] Growing up I typically read prose novels and some manga, I really didn’t get into graphic novels or comics until my senior year of high school.
I remember I went to a yard sale with my family and I found the four-issue limited series of West Coast Avengers. I was really into Marvel movies and the Daredevil TV show and I wanted to learn more, so I picked them up. From then on I went to my local library and borrowed the collections of Marvel comics.
When I started dating my partner, that’s when I became more familiar with the world of comics. He collected a lot of different series and my first purchase at our local comic shop was the Disney Princess comics by Geoffrey Golden, Georgia Ball, and Amy Mebberson. Those comic strips are absolutely adorable and I love them.
Ever since then, I’ve really explored my love for graphic novels, manga, and comics. Which led me to working as a library page and then library assistant at the Leesburg Public Library.
How did you come to work at Skybound?
So, I had been working part-time at the library for over a year where I got to really share my love of manga and graphic novels. I did this through both making suggestions for the collection and planning programming for patrons who were aging out of the teen program and moving onto college. I really enjoyed my job, but I was at a place where I wanted to move into a full-time position that combined all the things I loved doing.
I had been applying for mainly library positions when I saw the job posting for Skybound! It was one of those instances where you look at the requirements and go, “Well I do that but just in a different way,” and I decided to apply. I figured that if I got an interview, I could explain how my job at the library gave me unique skills for this position.
To say I was shocked when I got an email scheduling me for an interview would be an understatement. Then as I got to each next step in the interview process my hope that I would get this job kept growing because everyone was so wonderful and insightful.
A couple of interviews later I got a call saying I got the job and here we are! I get to work with some of the best people and I learn so much every day.
Can you describe your role as Brand Coordinator for Editorial?
I help market our Skybound titles in both the direct and book markets! I mainly lean toward the book market side, since that’s where my experience is. This consists of developing work orders for advertisements in print publications, submitting books for awards and reading lists, and so many other things! I also get to help with planning the book events we attend to promote Skybound titles.
What do you like best about working at Skybound?
For sure the people. Everyone I work with is so kind and knowledgeable, I am surrounded by some of the best people in publishing (in my opinion). I have learned so much in my time at Skybound and I am still learning more every day. I feel incredibly lucky to get to work with the people I do every day!
What Skybound project are you proudest of?
I don’t know if either of these necessarily count as projects, but I’m really proud of the advertisements we develop as well as all of the events I’ve been able to help plan this year!
I love coming up with the ads because I do research on how we should position each title based on the audience we’re advertising to. Then our Design team of Richard, Jillian, and Andres take the work order and make the ads always look so amazing. I get so excited to see Skybound ads in publications.
Helping to plan Skybound’s presence at events like ALA Annual is also really rewarding because the amount of time and detail that goes into everything is wild, in the best way.
What are your favorite Skybound titles?
Oh, so many. [LOL.] I live and breathe YA novels and graphic novels so I’m a HUGE fan of our Skybound Comet books. My favorites are Ava’s Demon Book One: Reborn and Everyday Hero Machine Boy! Also, I’m not typically a big horror fan but I Hate This Place by Kyle Starks is phenomenal. OH AND Arcade Kings is extremely rad. If you’ve wanted a comic that combines shonen manga and fighting games then that is the book for you…it also has the most amazing use of colors.
I could literally go on forever.
What else do you nerd out over?
Uhm, how much time do you have?? There are so many things, but I’ll shorten the list a bit lol. I am a massive Kingdom Hearts fan, so much so that I used to make Youtube videos about the series. I’m just a huge fan of video games in general but some of my favorites are Story of Seasons, Persona 5, Mass Effect, Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Animal Crossing, Genshin Impact, and Borderlands. That’s definitely not all of them but I don’t think you want me to write a book.
I also really love manga and anime. I collect a lot of manga but I will always suggest that you read Case Study of Vanitas, My Hero Academia: Vigilantes, and A Sign of Affection. All absolutely amazing series. Okay, last few things are I’m a huge Disney nerd, Star Wars nerd (Hera and Chopper from Rebels are my faves), and I love listening to TTRPG podcasts like The Adventure Zone and Worlds Beyond Number.
Do you have any advice for someone considering a career in your field?
Don’t be afraid to apply for a position, even if you think you’re not 100% qualified. I can guarantee you’re way more qualified than you think and your ideas will bring something unique to the table.
Also, I know it can be scary being LGBTQ+ in the time we live in but it’s so important to have diverse people working in libraries, comic shops, bookstores, and publishing. Everyone deserves to have their voice heard, so make sure to use yours because I can guarantee everyone will benefit from it.