Mikyla Bruder Steps Up at Amazon Publishing

From Publishers Weekly:

Mikyla Bruder doesn’t anticipate any surprises when she takes charge of Amazon Publishing in July, following the departure of Jeff Belle, who has headed the operation since it began in 2009. “We’ve worked together for so long, I expect it to be an easy transition,” she said. June marks her 10th year with Amazon Publishing, and she has been publisher since 2015.

Prior to joining Amazon, Bruder worked at a number of West Coast publishers in several different roles. She was executive editor and publishing director at Chronicle Books and then associate publisher/director of sales and marketing at Workman’s Portland, Ore.–based imprint Timber Press. Like many West Coast publishers, she believes being outside of the New York City metro area has given her a different view of the book world. She said she sees her mission as helping Amazon Publishing, which she described as a midsize publisher, take the next steps forward in its evolution while remaining “an author-centric publishing house.”

Though Bruder does not see a shift in the overall vision for Amazon Publishing, that doesn’t mean there won’t be some changes. Most importantly, she brings a completely different life experience to her job than Belle did. Bruder, who is Asian American, said she has lived as an “other” in the largely homogenous world of trade book publishing and knows how tiring that can be. “I have seen firsthand how difficult it can be to work in that environment,” she added.

Bruder has no doubt that the types of books that are published reflect the sensibilities of the editors who acquire them, making it imperative that publishers, including Amazon, hire people from diverse backgrounds. Her goal, she said, is to release titles that reflect the makeup of American society.

Bruder also hopes to be a role model other people of color can follow as they enter the publishing industry. She sees herself as being a problem solver, and as the leader of Amazon Publishing, she said she will encourage more debate about the best steps forward to make the company and the industry more inclusive. She knows that making some of the necessary changes won’t be easy, but it must be done. “We need to do it together—people need to be willing to be uncomfortable in facing some of these issues,” she said.

Noting that publishing is a business of words, Bruder said the industry has a responsibility to develop a more inclusive vocabulary when discussing diversity issues. “This needs to be an industry-wide conversation,” she added.

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Amazon Publishing has had its share of commercial hits, and Bruder said she is prepared to make some bets on new books. Mark Sullivan, author of one of Amazon’s bestsellers, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, has just published The Last Green Valley through the Lake Union imprint. In July, the Thomas & Mercer imprint will publish Choose Me by Tess Gerritsen, writing with Gary Braver. On the nonfiction list is Mothertrucker, a true story from college professor and writer Amy Butcher about the connection she forged with Joy “Mothertrucker” Wiebe, an Instagram celebrity and the nation’s only female ice road trucker, over their shared history of spousal abuse. It will be published in November by Little A.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly