Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Friday, February 15, 2013

A visit with Chad Allen of Baker Books.

I've been visiting a blog of a man I first encountered when he guest posted on Rachelle Gardner's blog.
He's smart and very interesting. I'm learning a lot from his experiences in the publishing world.
And hello, he's a redhead! That makes him even smarter.

Chad Allen is the editorial director for Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
He blogs about writing, publishing,life and creativity at
You can follow him on Twitter @chadrallen.

Here is a photo.

So, how did I persuade Mr Allen to visit TRTR??

I asked him AND he said yes!!
I know right!? How nice is that?

I sent him a few questions about publishing and his views of things, I hope you enjoy the Q and A session.

1) Besides the obvious challenges of publishing becoming much more of an internet venture, what do you see as a new challenge to writers and publishers that was unthinkable ten years ago?
A shrinking number of bookstores, which of course is related to a burgeoning number of online “storefronts.” This change, as with most changes, I expect, comes with liabilities and opportunities. One liability is that people are less likely to stumble upon your work in a bookstore. One opportunity is that it’s a lot easier to make sure the right people stumble upon your work online.
2) With the onset and growing influence of Amazon, is the global publishing experience erasing literary borders?  Do you see more international writers' work coming across your desk?
It’s not erasing literary borders, I don’t think. A genre is still a genre regardless of which country you’re in. I am not seeing proposals from other countries very much; that’s likely mainly due to the fact that I work so much with agents, and agents recognize that  authors who do not have a presence in the U.S. are by and large still a tough sell in this country, with some very notable exceptions. Still, globalization has meant that a part of our list is devoted to matters of international concern. For example, I just finished working on a book by Chinese dissident Bob Fu, and we are about to reissue a book on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict called Blood Brothers.
3) How has your 9-5 job changed how you see the world when you're travelling? Do you pay more attention in airport or local bookstores, or newspapers, keeping an eye out
for new authors?
I am an acquisitions editor, so I’d like to think I can’t help but notice an up-and-coming author or a hot topic. The reality is I’m sure I miss these all the time, but I do my best, and being a Christian acquisitions editor, I have faith that God leads me to the authors and topics that he wants me to pursue. Books are cultural artifacts; I’m endlessly fascinated to learn what our culture values as evidenced by what we read.
4) If there was an opportunity for you to try your hand at a completely different career for one month, no holds barred and you'd magically have the skill set required, what would you do? Cowboy? Astronaut? Disney animator?
Hm. That’s tough, but I think it would involve public speaking—either as a pastor or as an author. I’ve been on the receiving end of public speaking that has had a profound impact on my life, and I like the idea of helping others in this way.
5) If you could re-do one day of your life, which would it be and why?

I’m sure there are many, but the one that comes to mind is the day my wife organized a graduation party for me when I finished graduate school. My ungrateful behavior tainted what was otherwise a beautiful gift of love that she gave me, and I wish I could do that over.

Thanks Chad!!


  1. Hey, he looks familiar. Must have seen him at a writer's conference. Thanks for the interesting read, Jennifer.

  2. Props to all the redheads in the world, they truly are smarter (my hubby's one, as you know, Jennifer).

    Seriously, great questions and answers here. It's amazing how the mega-bookstores are collapsing before our eyes. Yet I'm wondering if the online bookstores don't have a wider influence anyway?

    And great day for a do-over, Chad. I've been guilty of those bad attitudes that wreck an otherwise wonderful event. I think I've mostly grown out of that stage now....

  3. Great questions, Jennifer! Great answers, Chad!

    Have a great weekend! :)

  4. Thanks to both of you for a great interview! "Books are cultural artifacts"-- so true. It's amazing to see the values of any given time period mirrored in the books (content, quantities, titles, reception of those titles, staying power...) of that time.

  5. Wow - great questions, Jennifer. These are some changing times we're in, that's for sure. I know change is inevitable, but it seems that things are happening so much faster than they used to, like a movie reel speeding up. It's exciting and scary all at the same time.

    Chad, thank you for your insight. It's always good to hear from those inside the industry.

  6. This was a lot of fun. Thanks, Jennifer, for having me, and for those who stopped by to comment.

  7. Great interview, Jenn and Chad! These are certainly interesting times. Who'd have thought that tangible, cozy bookstores would ever fall to Amazon and the ebooks?! Hehe, I just thought of Ewoks...

  8. Thanks everyone for your comments. I usually respond to each one, but I spent most of Friday, Saturday and half of Sunday out of town for a hockey tournament, and my brain was DONE.

    Thank you to Chad, as well!

  9. I really appreciated his post and the depth in which he answered the questions here. I am always interested in reading different perspectives about the industry :)