Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dream Books – Why I Publish what I Publish? Part Four

This is the final part of the 'Dream Books - Why I Publish what I Publish?' from the panel who were at the SCBWI Winchester conference last year. I hope you have found it helpful for targeting your publishers.

Emma Lidbury – Walker

Walker picture books and co-editions sell well abroad. Emma likes humour and books that are simple with emotion. She is looking for a warm engaging world that is going to inspire an illustrator waiting in the wings. Their books from a very early age get children into the idea of books and reading. They are looking for interactive, simple memorable language with a rhythm. The child has to turn the page and needs a reason every time.

There are no rules in picture books as can be seen by Emma Lidbury’s list of dream books:

Penguin by Polly Dunbar
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
Where's Wally? by Martin Handford
The Runaway Dinner by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman
The Boy on the Bus by Penny Dale
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
The Curious Cat by Nicola Bayley

Non-fiction picture books:
Poo: A Natural History by Nicola Davies and Neal Layton
Oscar and the Frog: A Book about Growing by Geoff Waring

Young Fiction – Looking for things that work in the classroom.

  • Walker Stories – 5-7 years to include three linked stories 600x3. Looking for ethnic diversity.
  • Racing Reads – 7-9 years, 2000x4

Emma Lidbury likes re-tellings of traditional tales.

Daisy Dawson (Racing Reads) by Steve Voake and Jessica Meserve

Series Fiction – This includes fairies, ponies, unicorns, mermaids, gothic horror, detectives or a mix of these, such as mermaid detectives. They pile them high and sell them fast.
Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald
Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz
One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davis and Jane Chapman

Older Fiction – 9yrs. Looking for amnesty international type stories set abroad, about human rights.
The Savage by David Almond and Dave McKean

As I'm sure you all know, I am off to the SCBWI Bologna conference on Friday and will be taking copious notes to report back.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Procrastination or Working?

Today I do not feel like I have acheived a lot.

After the initial mad morning rush, I decided not go to the gym this morning, as I was concerned I would not have enough time. It was my youngest son's Easter assembly at 11am and he would be wearing his Easter bonnet, which the whole family had helped to make last night. I did not want to miss it.

Before I went, I checked my email from all three of my email addreses. Played a couple of games of spider solitaire. Posted out two author interviews and danced around my study to my Dirty Dancing CD because I had all this extra energy that was preventing me from staying sat in my seat.

When I got back, I made myself a rather large bowl of sugarpuffs, as all I had for breakfast was a mug of coffee. Then I checked my mail again and answered a few people, or acknowledged their mails. Then I updated my friend Lynne Hackles' website. Played a few more games of Spider solitaire. Looked at my blog and compared my early photos with the one I took last week just to see how much weight I'd lost over the two years I've been blogging. Had a guilt-free lunch. My friend lisa arrived and after talking a bit about writing projects we are working on, we walked to the local church to watch our sons in their Easter performance at 2pm. My middle boy was a member of the crowd and had a few lines. All very sweet.

Then I popped into town to pick up my daughter's Euros for her school French trip . They are going to Normandy for a week. It should be very exciting. I went straight from town to pick up the boys from school. Came home defrosted the chicken pieces for dinner and wrote this blog.

So is it procrastination or have I been working? I am unsure. Hopefully, I will get some real work done after dinner.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Katherine Halligan

Katherine Halligan is currently Editorial Director for Picture Books and Novelty at Scholastic UK. She joined Scholastic in September 2006, and since then has been responsible for re-launching their picture book list. She has worked with authors such as Angela McAllister and Malachy Doyle, and illustrators such as Gary Blythe, Charles Fuge, Caroline Jayne Church and Ross Collins. I interviewed her in November 2007, as one of the publisher panel speakers at the Bologna Biennal Conference 2008, which takes place on the 29th-30th March.

“At the risk of sounding obvious, a childhood passion for books and a love of words and pictures made it a clear choice for me [to go into children’s book publishing] – I can’t imagine doing anything else. I began my publishing career in foreign rights, as I had studied languages, but quickly realized I needed to be part of the creative process. My job now is a perfect outlet for my overactive imagination!”
Katherine Halligan (Scholastic, UK)

All interviews are immediately available to registered SCBWI Bologna Biennial Conference attendees. Full interviews will be available to the general public at in the near future.

To register for the conference, please go to: and click on SCBWI@Bologna.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dream Books – Why I Publish what I Publish? Part Three

Lara Hancock - Egmont

Egmont publishes fiction, picture books and 2Heads series books. They want to find and nurture the talent of the future.

In fiction, Lara is looking for books for 7-9 year olds with an original voice that reaches out and speaks to you and makes the character hit you. Want great characters with instant child appeal and a universal theme. Lara said try and think visually.

They only publish 8-12 picture books a year. Very tough at the moment. Increasingly difficult to get books to backlist. Most of their picture books are 700-900 words but, recommends aim for about 1000 words, as they like to cut. Lara likes to receive a dummy book in submissions.

You're a Bad Man, Mr. Gum! by Andy Stanton
Cat Royale series by Julia Golding
Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks
The Night Pirates by Peter Harris and Deborah Allwright (was conceived as pictures and the words were slowly added)
Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really Big Adventure by Kristina Stephenson

Monday, March 10, 2008

Leonard Marcus

Leonard Marcus is one of the US children's book world's most respected and versatile writers, historians, and critics. He has written many highly acclaimed books about children's literature, and the authors and artists who created them. Leonard’s book reviews have been featured in many US magazines including Parenting magazine, the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, and Publishers Weekly. I interviewed him because he is one of the speakers at the SCBWI Bologna Conference at the end of this month.

In his interview Leonard Marcus said:

“As the youngest of three children, I spent plenty of time being ‘the child of the family’ and thinking about childhood. Although very verbal, I started out as a painfully slow reader. Then the reading specialist who was assigned to help me at school suggested that I try writing poems to read to her. It was then that I began my writing and reading life. Thanks to that teacher, I experienced a feeling of great satisfaction because I found that it was easy to read what I myself had written and that made me want to write more and more.”
Leonard Marcus (Author, critic, historian, US)

All interviews are immediately available to registered SCBWI Bologna Biennial Conference attendees. Full interviews are available to the general public at

To register for the conference, please go to: and click on SCBWI@Bologna.

Friday, March 07, 2008



Yesterday, I went into London to the first of this year's SCBWI Professional Events. It was great meeting up with everyone again. I had a wonderful time. We listened to Jude Evans from Little Tiger Press talk about writing picture books. I will write this up for my blog soon.

Last Thursday I also went into London. See I do get out sometimes. I went to Leila Rasheed's book launch at Waterstones in Piccadilly. Her first book Chips, Beans and Limousines has just been published by Usborne. The main protagonist, Bathsheba Clarice de Trop, also has her own webpage.

Whilst I was there, I met up with my friends Sue Eves and Jackie Marchant. After the book launch had a very lovely Chinese meal in China Town.

I was also very pleased to find other blogs had been linking to the interviews I did of the speakers who will be attending the Bologna SCBWI conference at the end of this month. J. L. BELL, a writer and reader of fantasy literature for children, mentioned the very amusing Emmanuel Guibert interview and Sara Lewis Holmes mentioned how much she enjoyed the Leonard Marcus interview Both now appear on Cynthia Leitich Smith’s blog, Cynsations. You can read Candy Gourlay’s interview there too.

Talk about being plastered on the web. I’m loving it!

Keep smiling everyone.
Love Anita xxx

Monday, March 03, 2008

PLR Petition

Following the announcement that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport plans to reduce Public Lending Right (PLR) funding, John Malam of NibWeb, initiated a 10 Downing Street e-petition to protest at the cuts.

The figures are as follows:
2007/08 (current funding) = £7,682,000
2008/09 = £7,432,000
2009/10 = £7,582,000
2010/11 = £7,682,000

A reduction in PLR funding will adversely affect the earnings of thousands of UK authors and illustrators. Many are self-employed, and in an industry as unpredictable as publishing, the annual PLR payment is a highly valued and reliable contribution to earnings. The Government is urged to retain the current funding level (2007/08) for PLR for each of the next three years. There should be no reduction in funding.

Public Lending Right is the right for authors, illustrators, photographers, translators and editors to receive payment under PLR legislation for the loans of their books by public libraries. More than 23,000 people are entitled to receive payment under this scheme, and for many the annual PLR payment is an important part of their income.

PLR is particularly valuable to those people who receive little or no royalty on book sales — their books are more often borrowed from libraries than bought in shops.

Today the petition has 2,939 signatures, which is at no.60 in the league table of most signed petitions, out of a total of almost 8,000. The closing date to sign is 11 February 2009.

Please spare a minute to sign the petition. Click the following link (or paste it into your browser window) and add your name.