Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Editor Panel @ Bologna

Six editors from all over the world explain, "Why I Love This Book and Published It"
Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero written by Anne Cottringer, illustrated by Alex I. Smith
A picture book text does not come to life without a good illustrator. Katherine believes in developing new creative talent. Publishers love to be inspired by people they are working with. With this particular picture book, Scholastic added the surname name to link with Indiana Jones. producing a book is about collaboration between author, illustrator, editor and designer.

Katherine particularly likes this book, because children need heroes who aren’t obvious heroes as they read about this normal child they can believe they can be a hero too. Usually they only offer a new author a one book deal as they tend to err on the side of caution. A two book deal is exciting but, Anne Cottringer was offered a four book deal. Picture books are not given the same publicity as novels. This book has postcards.

It is a contagious book. The author is a documentary film maker by day and writer by night. The author and illustrator to her knowledge have never met. A little bit of bling goes a long way as children are drawn to it. It is standard at Scholastic to offer the author and illustrator 50/50 split on royalties. The normal print run is a few thousand and then they will print more if needed. When they sign a book up they do so with the belief if could be a bestseller.

Yolanda LeRoyCharlesbridge US

Sneeze by Alexandra Siy and Dennis Kunkel

A good editor wants to help develop the career of a writer. Sneeze shows the kinds of things that make you sneeze. It is a non-fiction book and presented a unique challenge. The book profiles nine children on a brink of a sneeze. The illustrations have been colourised for effect. The book showcases different reasons for sneezing.

Finding a cover everyone likes is painful and the cover committee is difficult to please and are often not really sure what they like.

To produce good non-fiction you need an interesting topic that is fascinating to children. Should have great back matter, with accessible text written in a sparkling imaginative way.

Charlesbridge often do simultaneous and paperback copies. Print-runs can be up to 75,000 copies. The children’s non-fiction market is very different in the US to the UK. In the US you would submit a manuscript in the same way as you would a novel. In the UK publishers will issue a brief to authors on their lists.

Pauline MermetBayard, France

La Vie Des Très Bêtes by Marion Montaigne

Contains forty animal stories that challenge what we know about animals. It is a cartoon style book, which is appealing to children and is aimed at 81-12 year olds. Each story is a double page spread. Pauline likes the edgy graphic style of the illustrator. It is particularly appealing because children love animals. Marion is a funny, talented writer. First print run was about 6,000. Pauline believes the style of the book will encourage and attract reluctant readers to reading.

Fiametti GiorgiMondadori, Italy

Le Guerre del Monde Emerzo written by Licia Troisi, illustrations by Paolo Barbieri

This book is about magical, mythical creatures based on a sketch book of 140 illustrations. Mondadari is a tiny publisher specialising in picture books. Fantasy is very popular in Italy at the moment. There is a realistic style. Fiametti likes the way the softness of the skin of the creature contrasts with the landscape.

The artist likes to work with computer sketches and then paints with the computer. It is a very distinctive style different from other illustrators. This illustrator also works in Germany and other European countries which is unusual for an Italian illustrator.

They are working on a video game.

Carmen Diana Dearden, Ediciones Ekaré, Venezuela

Margarita by Ruben Dario, illustrated by Monika Doppert

This book is part of the riddles poetry section. Carmen started the company in 1975 and this book was published in 1976. It is one of Carmen’s favourite all time books. It is a small book purposely designed this way as a treasure to cherish and love. The poet himself died in 1916 but the poem is a part of Carmen’s childhood. The poem is not easy to translate.

The book has black and white illustrations demonstrate something beautiful could be done in black and white. They contain fantastic detail. It is about a girl who goes out to fulfil her dreams. Light is a principle resource of illustrations. This book is dedicated to the heroes that go out to fulfil their dreams.

It is a classic long-term seller. They have sold over 100,000 copies, which makes it their second bestseller after Harry Potter. Margarita is available on Amazon.

Sarah OdedinaBloomsbury UK

Mole and the Baby Bird by Marjorie Newman, illustrated by Patrick Benson

Concept is but giving freedom to thing love the most and have to let go when really would like to keep them at home. Patrick didn’t think his art would be suited to the book but was finally persuaded and has created a modern classic. It is based on a real landscape in Scotland where he lives.

It is a beautiful story and is more a story bought by an adult as a present because the narrative has such a heart-felt message. The author recently died and her memory lives on in this book.
Picture books do not get the same marketing spend as novels so its popularity has been largely through word-of-mouth, booksellers, librarians and reviewers. It was first published in 2002. This book has been fantastically well received and is a firm favourite. By putting animals in picture books it makes them more universal. No Matter What by Debi Glori is referenced in the illustrations.

The editors at Bloomsbury work on what they like and so Sarah has picture books to YA on her list. Another of her favourite books is Witch Child by Celia Rees.

Laura Harris – Penguin, Australia

The Singing Hat by Tohby Riddle

Laura is biased to picture books, because all people can read picture books even if the text is in a different language. Laura loves this book because of the story, artwork and the relationship of working with the creator. She believes this book defines what a picture book should be. The sense of wonder is so uplifting.

Creating a book is not an exact science. A great idea may not be a great book and a great book may not start from a great idea. There is often a blue moment in picture books where all seems lost before see the change that resolves it.

In this story there is no mother. Why there is a nest and why the bird chose Colin is not explained. It is just there. It just is. The illustrations have a good use of colour. It is the most beautiful and most improbable concept and that is why it thrilled Laura. The main character is a man not a child and the child has no name. It won a prestigious award in Australia. Tohby Riddle also wrote Irving the Magician.

Giselle TsaiCommonWealth Magazine Group, Taiwan

This book is about a rabbit who is confused because he has short ears and wants his ears to be like all the other rabbits. It was launched by giving away free ear bread. He struggles to make his ears longer, has big ambitions. It is a very imaginative story with a common theme about how children are worried about their image – a real life problem.

The use of colour is significant as it gets darker as each idea does not work. There is a good use of humour. The first print run was more than 8,000. It is a simple story about self confidence.

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