Swoon Spotlight: Jean Feiwel
Senior Vice President, Publisher and Director of MCPG
Briefly describe your job.
I ‘founded’ my own imprint Feiwel and Friends and Square Fish (Macmillan Children’s paperback line) in 2007 and Swoon Reads in 2013. I also oversee Holt Books for Young Readers.
How long have you been in your current position?
8 years in January 2014
What is your favorite part about your job?
Acquiring books, developing new authors. Making ideas into books.
What’s your least favorite part of your job?
Strategy meetings, number crunching, budgets.
That it is easy to write a picture book because it is short.
If you could have any other job in book publishing for one day, what would it be? Why?
I love my job a lot. But I’d love to be a writer.
What’s the funniest way you’ve heard a friend or family describe your job?
My mother once described my job as working on ‘short’ books.
What does your desk and/or office look like on any given day?
It’s a mess.
What did you study in school?
Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College
Do you use your degree in your current job?
Every day! Women’s History gave me a real sense of confidence in who I wanted to be.
What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
I really haven’t had a weird job. I started in publishing as an assistant to a managing editor — a job I was ill suited for since it required an aptitude for detail.
How did you get into book publishing?
By chance. I had a friend who knew someone at Avon Books. I thought I was going to be an art curator at a museum.
What made you want to be involved with Swoon Reads?
I wanted to find new talent. And I was enjoying reading romance novels.
What do you like most about working with books for young adults?
The books are raw and emotional. It’s about a time in life that is tough but real.
What’s your favorite genre of romance?
Contemporary. I love Jenny Han, Morgan Matson. My romance taste tends to be a little sad.
What was the first romance you ever read?
What’s a book you wished you worked on?
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Live fully and work hard. You can do both.