Molly Damon, Sheri Roloff, Abby Nies Janowiec
Welcome to KWiL, an independent, traditional, children’s book publisher in Milwaukee where we believe books are just the beginning…
…the beginning of an adventure, of seeing the world in a new way, of a feeling, of a passion, of an understanding, a lesson, a performance, an activity, a question, an answer…a life-long love of reading.
The underlying goal with every book we publish is that kids will want to, “Read it again!” To us, this request is the most telling indication that a book has achieved what it set out to do.
Although our list will continue to grow to include all genres of children’s literature, currently we publish picture books and early chapter books. Within these genres, we are developing several niches.
We are passionate about projects with STEM and/or Makers themes. We publish stories that have well-researched and vetted scientific, technological, mathematical and/or engineering-related content. Although we are pursuing a small number of nonfiction titles, most of our books in this category are what we call, “scientific fiction.” In addition to their STEM-themed content, these stories have memorable characters and engaging plots. They are STEM-based “read-it-again-worthy” books, which makes them compelling titles for both the home and school library.
We are also passionate about creating books that reflect the diversity of the world in which we live. We fully embrace the #weneeddiversebooks and #ownvoices campaigns. With every project we ask ourselves, “What can we do to make this book more inclusive, or more reflective of our world?”
CHAPTER BOOKS & THE SCHOOL/LIBRARY MARKET
We are in regular contact with kidlit industry leaders, educators, librarians, and of course, kids, in order to determine where there are gaps in the market and what kinds of books kids want to read. This research has informed our decision to publish early chapter books. We are working with a growing list of talented authors to develop several series about a variety of topics. Many of these are books are being created in consultation with educator focus groups. Several of these projects will specifically serve the school/library market, and several of them have both school/library and broader commercial appeal. Even if subtle, all of them have a STEM element and most of them carry a strong, although never limiting, regional appeal.
COMMERCIAL PICTURE BOOKS
We have a small collection of picture books, including a holiday title that while not STEM-themed, are 100% read-it-again-worthy.
Finally, while we are thrilled to be working with authors and illustrators from across the country and around the world, we dedicate part of our list to Wisconsin-based authors and illustrators as well as books about Milwaukee-based topics and/or people.
We host or partner with community-focused businesses and organizations for literacy-themed events in order to achieve our ongoing goal of being a publishing company that Milwaukee can connect to and be proud of. We are committed to a spirit of openness, and we regularly share behind the scenes stories and photos.
KWiL’S BOTTOM LINE
Our bottom line is quality, and we are highly selective in acquiring new manuscripts. We are open to submissions, and we would be honored to hear from you.
Sheri Roloff reading her book, Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus at KWiL’s launch party March 8th.
Abby Nies Janowiec
Founder & President/Publisher
Abby founded KWiL in 2017 after spending 10 years in secondary education teaching and working as a literacy coach, and a lifetime obsessed with books, especially children’s books. While there are countless combinations of content, characters, plot, illustration style, and design, Abby’s goal with each book KWiL creates is for it to come hot off the press with its own magical, “read-it-again-worthiness.” She believes that when a young reader says, “Again!” a book has achieved what it set out to do. From content to manufacturing, Abby takes great pride in the quality of KWiL’s books and enjoys overseeing the thrillingly complex process of publishing.
Molly joined the KWiL team just a few months after the company’s inception, and she has played a pivotal role in its foundation. Molly has a background in social work and spent time in Chicago and Madison school and community settings assisting people with developmental disabilities. Her professional background fuels her passion to publish stories that are inclusive of many voices and viewpoints. She brings to the team an ability to connect to industry leaders and to develop relationships with local partners as well as author and illustrators. Molly provides acquisition and editorial insights that help KWiL move in our desired direction and currently spends most of her time on publicity, marketing, and sales.
An essential contributor to any book project is the designer, and we are excited to have Madison-based Sara DeHaan, an experienced book designer, leading our design work. Sara is designing all of our chapter books and several of picture books. She is also our pre-press point person and she helps determine the design direction for most of our projects. You can learn more about Sara’s work, here: http://dehaanarts.com.
Ashley Cave Himes
Editor & Editorial Board Member
With almost 20 books in production now through 2021, Ashley is a critical part of the KWiL team. Ashley leads editorial work on select projects as well as assists with broader acquisition decisions. In addition to her keen editorial eye, Ashley brings to the team 10 years of experience in publishing at University of Chicago Press, Workman Publishing, and Parenting magazine. She is also a bookseller and coordinates the authors-in-schools program for an independent bookstore in New Jersey, where she lives with her family.
KidLit Consultant & Editorial Board Member
Sheri joined Abby shortly after Day One, when Abby recruited her to be the author of KWiL’s first book. Not only are we incredibly proud to have debuted with Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus, KWIL would not be where it is today without Sheri. Sheri worked tirelessly for KWiL for most of 2017, both on her own book and KWiL’s corporate design needs—including our logo! Sheri has also played a critical role in acquisitions and editorial development. Her impeccable taste is a key part of what makes KWiL, KWiL. In addition to working on her second book, Sheri is designing several of our picture books.
Laura came on as KWiL’s accountant early in 2018 as it was becoming increasingly clear that our QuickBooks needed an expert like her. Laura studied accounting at Grove City College in PA, obtaining her CPA while working in public accounting in Pittsburgh. Now a stay-at-home mom who was recently transplanted to Wisconsin, she enjoys playing with spreadsheets and organizing numbers when her three boys quiet down enough to allow it. Reading books together is one of her family’s favorite activities so she is excited to be part of the KWIL team, bringing new stories to life in print.
We are proud to be printing a majority of our projects at one of the leading children’s book printers in the country, Worzalla. Worzalla is located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. You can learn more about Worzalla, here: http://worzalla.site.
Brew City Marketing
We are proud to be working with local web designer Brew City Marketing. Brew City built our website and works with us to keep it updated. You can learn more about Brew City, here: https://brewcitymarketing.com.