5 Minutes With…Matt Ringler

Some of you may remember Scholastic senior editor Matt Ringler as one of the great faculty members from the 2016 summer conference in LA. Recently, SCBWI caught up with Matt for an Insight Exclusive. In case you missed the interview, here it is!

Matt Ringler is a senior editor at Scholastic specializing in chapter book, middle grade, and

Matt Ringler

YA fiction. He is the editor of the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, the Game Changers series by Mike Lupica, the STAT series by Amar’e Stoudemire, and the Little Rhino series by Ryan Howard. His YA list includes the New York Times Bestseller Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky and It’s Not Me, It’s You by Stephanie Kate Strohm.

What elements does a manuscript need to get your attention and make you want to acquire it?

I want a manuscript to make me feel everything. If it’s funny, I want to laugh so loudly that people stare at me. If it’s heartbreaking, I want to have tears coming down my cheeks. I want to be turning pages tensely while my knuckles turn white. I want to miss my subway stop. I want to come home and not turn on the television because I need to know how the book ends. And I want the face of at least one other person who I know would love this experience to pop into my head without having to think about it all.

How do you know something is right for a series?

Most of the series that I’ve worked on have come in as multiple books from the get-go. But once in a while, you get to take a standalone and make it into a series. If a story does its job properly then you care about the characters even after the story ends. Because you should want to know what happens next (or in the case of prequels, what happened before). Giving readers more of a world they already love—that’s how you know you something is right for a series.

What is the acquisitions process at Scholastic?

The Acquisitions process is one of the most exciting parts of this job. A manuscript comes in and you love it—and you really do need to love it because you’re about to dedicate a large portion of your time and energy on doing this. The manuscript is shared with the acquisitions team, which is made up of other departments like sales, marketing, publicity, manufacturing, the publishers, and other editors. And hopefully, everyone agrees that they want to move ahead. You don’t always get every manuscript you want, there is sometimes disappointment. But when you do, it makes it all worthwhile.

Between the time you acquire a book or series and the pub date, what is your role with your authors?

Hopefully, if an author is choosing you as their editor then they have some level of trust for you already there. But it is important for that relationship to continue to grow. In my opinion, that’s the most important part of the editorial process. Trusting each other, and being able to have open and honest conversations about what is and isn’t working. The process of editing the manuscript and putting together a publishing plan all falls into place once that relationship is solidified. There are a lot of moving pieces that have to come together before anything is printed. Cover and interior design. The marketing and publicity plans. Sales materials. Putting a book out into the world is an exciting experience. It can also be nerve wracking and intimidating—sometimes all at once. So making sure my authors feels comfortable and have the tools that they need to succeed are a major part of it. Also, phone calls. Lots and lots of phone calls.

SCBWI, “SCBWI Exclusive with…Matt Ringler, Senior Editor, Scholastic,” SCBWI Insight (enewsletter), December, 2016, http://www.scbwi.org/scbwi-exclusive-with-matt-ringler/.


Destiny Calling, or How SCBWI Happened

Ever wonder how SCBWI started? You may know Lin Oliver and Steven Mooser co-founded the organization over 40 years ago, but do you know why? 

SCBWI co-founder Lin Oliver

It all started with a job Lin didn’t want…and a bit of destiny.

Read David Henry Sterry’s full article and interview with Lin that appeared in The Huffington Post last June.

David Henry Sterry, “Lin Oliver on Founding the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators,” The Huffington Post (blog), June 23, 2016,

SCBWI Books for Readers Book Drive!

unnamedSCBWI recently announced the launch of Books for Readers, its new Book Drive. The literacy initiative is meant to increase book access for readers in desperate need of books by collecting and donating books created by SCBWI members, to help promote SCBWI authors, illustrators, and their books, and to advance SCBWI’s mission as an organization of book creators and literacy advocates.
Sounds pretty great, huh? Want more info? The Books For Readers web page is up and running, so as soon as you’re done here, check it out!
BOOKS FOR READERS will have 4 phases:
Nomination, Selection, Collection, and Celebration!

To begin, SCBWI asks you to nominate 1- 2 local causes with readers in need in your region by downloading an entry form (located on the web page), and emailing it to your regional team by April 30, 2017.

Next, each region will review these nominations and submit their final choices to SCBWI Headquarters by May 22, 2017. Then, the selecting, collecting, and celebrating will soon begin!

To learn more about how SCBWI will be selecting the 1-2 final recipients, how the collecting will transpire, and about all the celebrating at the recipients’ venues, visit Books for Readers!


These Links are HOT!

Our wonderful Illustrator Coordinator, Angelica Jackson, has compiled a list of links for reference and honing your craft. Whether you’re an illustrator or a writer (or some combination of both), you’re sure to find something valuable below. Thanks, Angelica! 🙂

As a YA writer, blogs have been an invaluable source for me to learn craft and catch up on industry info. Now that I’m also our region’s Illustrator Coordinator, I took advantage of our private Yahoo group for ICs and asked my peers for their favorite blogs—and I couldn’t resist sharing their recommendations with everyone through our region’s blog! Most of these blog links are illustrator-centric, but many offer writing advice also, so you author/illustrators and writers may want to take a look too. Happy clicking! In no particular order:

Author/artist Angelica Jackson

The How To Be A Children’s Book Illustrator site has great features like Guest Critiques and an Illustrator Matchup service.

The Kidlit Artists blog has an SCBWI connection, since it’s the group blog of recipients of the SCBWI Illustration Portfolio Mentorship Program (LA Summer Conference).

Illustrator and art director Guiseppe Castellano has some tips for you under his #ArtTips page.

Find interviews and inspiration on Chris Oatley’s site.

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast is a blog about books that features heavily on picture books and illustration.

Wow, you could really get lost following all the links and features on Kidlit411.

Kathy Temean’s blog features some great illustration examples and how-tos.

Art of the Picture Book is dedicated to “exploring design and illustration of children’s picture books” and features some great interviews.

The Children’s Book Academy site has a blog “Mondays with Mandy or Mira!” 

Children’s Illustrators blog: be sure to check out the “blogging illustrators” links in the sidebar to make some new connections!

Feel free to link your favorite blogs for illustrators in the comments!

Angelica R. Jackson serves as our region’s Illustrator Coordinator and is a writer, artist, and avid naturalist living in the Sierra foothills of California. Her debut novel is Crow’s Rest, a darkly funny young adult urban fantasy.

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Sneak Peek of Keynotes for LA

Are you ready to sparkle? Get registered (or at least get on the waiting list) and head to LA for TONS of amazing information, inspiration, and FUN!

via Lee Wind at SCBWI: The Blog

SCBWI’s 45th Annual Summer Conference, July 29-Aug 1, 2016, will feature keynotes from these bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators:

Marie Lu

Sophie Blackall

Neal Shusterman

Carole Boston Weatherford

Deborah Halverson

 Ellen Hopkins 

Drew Daywalt 

Jon Klasson

Pam Munoz Ryan

Jenni Holm

Registration will go live at scbwi.org on April 19, 10am Pacific Time!

We hope to see you there.

Illustrate and Write On,

About Lee

About Lee
Completely honored and grateful to be recognized as SCBWI’s 2015 Member of the Year! I work in children’s publishing/media, but I’m not blogging here in that position. Here I’m a kid lit blogger and author, a former co-Regional Advisor for SCBWI Los Angeles, the Captain of Team Blog, and your official SCBWI blogger!