The Outerhaven had an opportunity to sit down with Nadine Pirogow of Yen Press. Fans will recognize her as the one who delivers all of the exciting updates at YenPress.com. She also interacts with fans regularly through Yen’s social media channels. Here we go!
Q: How are you liking DC so far?
A: You know what, so far I’m really excited about this. I went to Otakon last year and thought, ‘ok this is different from what I’m used to. It’s not like a NYCC, Sakura-Con and so forth. So my expectations weren’t necessarily very high. So when I came here, this was way better than I expected it to be. The exhibits hall is bigger, it’s a lot more crowded than I remember from Otakon being in Baltimore last year. We’ve had a lot of booth traffic. So my expectations were set low so this has definitely exceeded my expectations and I am looking forward to us to grow with this.
Q: Yen Press hasn’t been to Otakon before. Do you think this was a beneficial trip?
A: Absolutely. Anime NYC is going to be the first local anime convention I will be at. This is my first east coast anime convention. At NYCC, that’s not our core audience. This is our core audience. So for us to be able to connect with east coast fans is really great.
Q: I’m sure you’ve been to many cons. How does Otakon stand out?
A: Standing out, one thing I noticed, this is a convention that’s really more focused on the fans. It’s not like ‘hey this is the new movie, this is this…’ it’s like, ‘hey there’s some fan meetups, here’s some great cosplay things, here’s some really great authors and really great things for you guys to do.’ It’s focused on making the fans happy and I appreciate that the most.
Q:How is it the same?
A: It’s merch merch merch, I’d like to see some more publishers and more diversity in terms of the merchandise because it’s the same. You’re going to get that at every con but I’d like to see a lot more books and manga things at the convention.
Q: What series are you looking forward to this season?
I am looking forward to Silver Spoon. We announced that one at Anime Expo and I’ve been waiting for that since I started working at Yen. I’m really looking forward to the Saga of Tanya Evil as well because we’re doing the light novel and the manga and I really like it when we publish both because I can get both perspectives because there is always something a little different and I appreciate it that once I get into the story. So those two, definitely and I’m really looking forward to your.name Another Side which is the side story and told from the perspective of Tachi and Mitsuha.
Q: What do you think our readers should check out?
A: You know, that depends on what they’re into. We have a bunch of trapped in the gamer world, so if you’re into that we have things like Final Fantasy which is a simulpub. We also have a lot of magical girl stuff which is really fun. We also have a lot of sweet stories, like One Week Friends which will appeal to fans of Fruit’s Basket.
Q: With all of the content Yen has coming out, will they do a panel at Otakon in the future?
A: Yes… the problem with that is that it’s so close to Anime Expo so we wouldn’t put it off the table but it really depends on what we have to present the fans. We don’t want to disappoint the fans.
Q: If you can be any manga character, who would it be and why?
A: If I can be any manga character who would I be? Yotsuba. I love her outlook.She has this pure outlook. I wanna be that innocent and unjaded. I want to appreciate everything about life [chuckle.]
Q: You’ve been at Yen Press now….
A: A little over a year. I started with Yen in June of 2016 but I’ve worked with Yen since their inception. So Yen is 10 this year and I worked with Hachette group and I worked there for over 10 years. So I’m new to Yen Press but I’m not new to manga publishing, I guess. I’m just doing something different now. The whole publicity element and social media aspect is different to me but is something I really enjoy. We have a really robust social media presence and the fans are really, really looking for information and they love talking to us. I get to fangirl out with a bunch of people who are just as excited as I am… genre publishing is interesting because the fans are rabid. They know the publishers, they know the different imprints. They know what’s out there.
Q: Do you feel like you’ve settled into your role after being here for a year?
A: So far I definitely feel more settled. I still think there is a lot I can do. I’m a one person team right now so hopefully we’ll get to expand and I’ll get some more help. Luckily I have a good team to support me at conventions but I think we can do more with our social media presence. I wanna go to more library shows. I wanna go to smaller anime conventions because those fans who can’t get to an Anime NYC or an Otakon or a Sakura-Con deserve to have us represent for them too. So I’m looking forward to expanding now that I know the different conventions. A lot of people come over to the booth and say, “here’s my card, I’m from this convention…” there’s a convention in Atlanta I’d love to go to but I think it conflicts with another one we’re attending. Anime Boston happens to conflict with Sakura-Con. All of these conventions that happen to overlap, we can’t travel every weekend when we only have one person. I take their cards and I really wish we can do something there but how can we do it when we don’t have enough people? I’d really love to do more. We’re technically a small company and we’re still finding our place so I’m hopeful we’ll have a team soon so we can do even more.
Q: Sales are up. The ebook has not killed publishing…
A: Thank goodness for that. It’s funny because I thought everyone loves ebooks and I feel like people are constantly emailing us about books coming out for the ibook store. But there’s more people asking when we’re going to publish stuff in a physical format. A lot of times people want to know when something is in physical form and that gives me hope that the younger generation still wants a physical book.
Next year, Yen Press plans to get a bigger booth with banners and have a larger visual presence at Otakon 2018. I can’t wait to see what they have planned!