Talking with Jerome Pohlen (page 2)
Talking with Jerome Pohlen
page 1, page 2
  Do you do any other kinds or writing? For example, do you write travel pieces for The Chicago Tribune?
 

Currently I write and perform travel essays for the 848 Show on WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR affiliate. They’re built around interviews I tape during my research on the Oddball books. I have written for the Chicago Reader, and a little-known magazine called Crime Wave. Additionally, I have written almost 20 educational books and science kits, few of which are available in trade outlets (or Amazon), but are still sold through teacher book clubs, catalogs, and stores.
 
  How much time do you spend on a book?
  That’s hard to say. I have a day job as an editor, but most of my spare time during the six months prior to the deadline I’m parked in front of the computer, or behind the wheel of my car. But all of the books I’ve done so far were built on work and travel I’d done prior to signing a contract. I’d say a year per book is a good estimate, but that’s not a full-time job.
Where do you work?
  Chicago Review Press, and its imprints, Lawrence Hill Books (African American interest) and A Cappella (music, film, and performing arts).
  Do you have an agent or do you handle the contracts yourself?
  No agent. I might have considered that route, had the publisher not contacted me directly. In my former job, I dealt with contracts from the other end, so I figured, why give a cut to an agent?
  What’s next for you?
  Well, the two books in the pipeline, but not yet released, are Oddball Colorado (August 2002) and Oddball Minnesota (April 2003). I hope to do an Oddball New Mexico and an Oddball Michigan after that. Also, I’ll also be trying to pitch a collection of travel essays this summer, too. Strange stuff, like finding myself in OJ’s house, the 50th anniversary of the Roswell crash, looking for ghost lights in the Texas thicket, that sort of thing. All true.
  Have you written anything about your Peace Corps experience?
  Yes, but nothing that’s been published. I have a few stories that I'd like to include in the collection of travel stories.
  What is your advice for RPCVs coming out of the Peace Corps who want to have careers in publishing, either as a writer or editor?
Scroll down on this page of the Independent Publishers Group to see the current titles from the Chicago Review Press. Write, write, write. I know it sounds a little pathetic now, but I wrote for almost seven years before a publisher took notice. I was writing educational material at the same time, but the travel books were a long process. As far as a career in editing, I came by a backdoor path, starting first as a science editor (my undergraduate degree is in engineering), and then moved on to general editing. It was not something I ever trained for, but picked up as I worked in the field.
     And I don’t know if this is the proper forum to add this: Chicago Review Press, and its imprints, is always looking for manuscripts, nonfiction only, if you want to pass that along to your readership. I am currently doing some acquisitions work, so if anyone wanted to contact me, I’d be open to it. (Famous last words, eh?)

Jerome Pohlen can be reached at: jpohlen@ipgbook.com

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