The Inside Scoop with Christina Pulles of Sterling Children’s Books

Thanks to everyone that participated in this giveaway. With all the extra entries, we had over 400 of you competing for that one submission pass! Our winner is:

RYAN (jesteram)

Congratulations, Ryan! Keep your eyes peeled for an email with details on how to claim your prize.

I’m so excited today to celebrate Sub It Club’s anniversary by introducing you to the fabulous Christina Pulles! I’m lucky enough to be working with Christina on my picture book, MAURICE THE UNBEASTLY, which will be coming out with Sterling Children’s Books next year. Christina gives us a fascinating peek into the life of an editor, AND is giving away a pass to skip her slush pile! Keep reading to find out more!

Christina Pulles joined Sterling Children’s Books in June 2015, and before that worked at Simon & Schuster’s Simon Spotlight imprint. Realistic middle grade holds a soft spot in her heart, but she also loves working on everything from board books to fiction and nonfiction picture books. Originally from the Chicago area, she now reads, runs, bakes, and eats in Brooklyn with her husband, Justin.

Tell us about your path to the publishing world. Did you always know you wanted to be an editor?

I read constantly as a child—every night before bed, in the car, and at every meal (including restaurants)—but I didn’t really think about being a book editor until after high school. As I searched for internships each summer during college, I started researching different publishers and imprints and trying to figure out which one I might like to work for. I got my start in publishing in the sales department at Independent Publishers Group, a book distributor in Chicago, before moving to New York and diving into the editorial world.

What were your favorite books as a child?

They’re still my favorite books: the Anne of Green Gables series and the Harry Potter books. I reread each set every few years, and I actually just went to Prince Edward Island, where Anne takes place, on my honeymoon in the fall. I was also a voracious reader of series fiction: Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley, Nancy Drew, and all their many (many!) spinoffs.

Can you give us an idea of what makes Sterling distinct from other publishers?

Sterling is a mid-sized house, and our children’s division is made up of one group of editors, rather than several different imprints that focus on different types of books. This means that we children’s editors work very closely together, and we also each have the opportunity to work on whatever projects interest us, which I love—I’ve always enjoyed working on books for a variety of different age groups and markets.

We’re also one of the few publishers that still accepts unsolicited manuscripts. We get together once a month and go through the slush pile, and we’ve found a lot of great authors in there!

What is the acquisitions process like at Sterling? Do the editors work together or select manuscripts on their own?

Both! When an editor has his or her eye on a manuscript, it’s brought to the whole group, and everyone is proactive about either getting on board with a project, or helping suggest revisions if we think a project has potential but still needs a little work. After a manuscript has passed through that meeting, we share it with our Sales and Marketing teams and get their feedback as well—they are great at keeping up with what’s working in the market and what their buyers are looking for.

Writers like to worry about things like font, formatting, and the use of rhetorical questions in query letters. How important are these kinds of things? Any personal pet peeves when it comes to queries?

I don’t think it’s necessary to focus too much on things like font and formatting; I do like a query that’s neatly and succinctly written, but if I’m interested in the content, I’m not going to stop reading just because something has been misspelled or because it is set in italics.

I don’t know if I have any particular pet peeves, but I would say that I like to know a little about the author, even if they’ve not been published yet. Our Marketing and Sales teams always want to know where an author lives, to get a feel for the local market, so I like it when that information is provided right away in the pitch.

What would you love to find in your slush pile?

Oooh, so many things! Sterling is on the lookout for new middle grade right now, and I haven’t read anything with a strong female narrator that’s been just right for our list. I’d also love to find a picture book that makes me laugh out loud in the middle of our slush meeting—and know right away that it’d also make a kid laugh.

What one piece of editorial advice would you give writers who are sending their stories to you?

Stick to writing about things that are important to you, that you’re emotionally connected to. I think it comes through to an editor when a writer is trying to take on something she thinks will make a good book, but doesn’t really mean anything to her. That being said, try to keep a good handle on the market so you know what else might be out there that’s similar to your book. Is there any natural way to make your book stand out from other books on the same topic?

Any upcoming projects you are especially excited about that you can share with us? (besides mine, of course!)

MAURICE THE UNBEASTLY, of course! Seriously, it’s going to be a fun one and I just can’t wait to see how the illustrator brings your fabulous Maurice to life. I’m also working on a debut middle grade novel called HOWARD WALLACE, P.I., by Casey Lyall that comes out this fall, and I think it’s just fantastic—it’s funny, thought-provoking, and moving all at the same time. And it’s a mystery!

We will definitely keep our eyes peeled for those titles! Thanks so much for participating, Christina!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…the giveaway! The winner of this giveaway will have the opportunity skip the slush pile and have their PICTURE BOOK or MIDDLE GRADE manuscript go straight to the desk of Christina Pulles at Sterling Children’s Books. How’s that for awesome? Here’s how to enter:

This contest is for completed PICTURE BOOK and MIDDLE GRADE manuscripts only. To enter simply comment on this post.

For extra entries:

SubItClub Badge (175x88)Post our badge on your blog and link it back here to

Follow us on Twitter @SubItClub

Take part in our private Sub It Club Submission Support Group and/or our Critique Partner Matchup.

Share this post via social media!

Please let us know about your extra entries in your comment.

Entries are open until FEBRUARY 16TH at noon PST. Winner will be announced on this post the next day. Good luck!

198 thoughts on “The Inside Scoop with Christina Pulles of Sterling Children’s Books

Add yours

  1. Thank you for the sneak peak, Heather!! Because I am writing about things I love, my writing is done with passion. Thank you, again!


  2. She looks like a great editor and I have a ms that can make her laugh out loud.I hear such great things about Sterling taking care of their authors. Thanks for a great interview.


  3. Fabulous article! I shared on all my social media sites, and I’ve downloaded your badge to have my webmaster add it to my blog. I also followed all your social media pages. Thanks!


  4. A great post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about joy of editing. Sterling Books publish a great range of books of which I have bought many for my children and nieces and nephews.


  5. I loved hearing about your monthly slush pile meetings. Thanks for the behind-the-scenes look at Sterling!
    -Badge posted on blog
    -Twitter follower
    -Post shared on Twitter


  6. Sounds like a great opportunity–thanks so much for the inside scoop! I belong to the support group and follow on Twitter 🙂


  7. Thank you, Christina, for the info and the opportunity to participate in the giveaway. I’ll be at the SCBWI conference in New York. I think you would like my MG ms “Dimpna from Belgium. “


  8. A glimmer of hope that what comes from the heart may touch other hearts, too. Thank you for the perspective and opportunity! Following on Twitter. Retweeted.


  9. Thanks for the insights into Sterling’s approach to publishing and Christina’s likes and dislikes. I will pass this information along. The skip-the-slush-pile contest is a fun idea.


  10. Fabulous opportunity! Thank you for the wonderful interview. I follow on FB, Twitter and belong to the FB Sub It Club support group.


  11. Thank you for posting such an interesting interview, Christina. I would love the chance to be pulled out of the slush pile right onto Christina’s desk.
    I follow Sub It Club on Facebook and Twitter.


  12. Great interview! Thanks for the sneak peek behind the scenes at Sterling and for this exciting opportunity to submit to Christina. I follow SubItClub on FB, Twitter, and shared this post.


  13. Thank you so much for this opportunity! I love hearing what goes on behind the scenes! I can just imagine you in a quiet room, bursting out in laughter over a great manuscript. My Extra Entries: A badge on my blog, following on Twitter, joined the Sub-It Club Group, joined Critique Partner Match Up and shared this post via Social Media on both Twitter and Facebook.


  14. Thanks for a great interview! I love that Christina still finds work in the slush pile and that she went to PEI on her honeymoon in the footsteps of Anne of Green Gables! I am following on FB and Twitter and will join the Submission Support Group and Critique Partner Matchup!


  15. Happy Anniversary Sub IT Club! Christina, we were book twins as kids 🙂 Those are all my favorites too. I have a PB that I think is funny. 🙂


  16. Oh my goodness! I just loved this post. Thank you for sharing. I love the Anne of Green Gable series and Harry Potter Series. Prince Edward Island is a place I have always wanted to visit. This entire post made me smile as I read it. Your answers were very informative and helpful. Thank you. I really appreciate it.

    I also have your badge on my blog, and I am part of the Sub It Club Facebook group, the critique partner matchup, and I shared this post on my Facebook account. Thank you for this opportunity. I am so excited.


  17. Thanks for the down to earth interview with Christina. I’ve posted the Sub It link on my blog, member FB Sub It Club and have tweeted this page. I have a board book and picture book ready.


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