Children's Publishing Houses

Publishing houses for children

Children's publishing lessons, learnt We' ve asked the children's publishing houses to tell us things they learnt about publishing back in their career - advices they still think about today. I couldn't have been more upset when I started working as an editing secretary in publishing. Hesitating how welcome the sector would be - I was under the illusion for some apparent reasons that The Devil Wears Prada also applies to children's publishing - and had previously had one or two bosses who did not suit me well.

I was working for David Gale, an editorial journalist who had published some of my favourite textbooks, of which I had been cautioned to. And this is not least because the whole period I worked under David, almost every e-mail I received included a "please", "thank you" or some other kindness, sympathy or esteem.

I' ve learnt that there is no need not to be nice and that we are all those of us in the fellowship working really hard to make the kind of book we like to have. While I was an associate author, I asked my then editor-in-chief Brenda Bowen, then editor-in-chief at Henry Holt, when in an editor's professional life she would surely know where her next book would come from.

I' ve learnt to embrace insecurity as the norm and even enjoyed the improvisatory, imaginative way to buy a book and make a book-listing. By drafting one of the more challenging refusals I had ever had to type in my professional life, I was half way through to an author-illustrator I had been publishing for years.

That got caught up with me because it was a fun analogue, and now it's something I think about when I'm thinking about buying a manuscript: Do I want to be in a permanent connection to this script, or is it just a swarm? When I was young and disheartened by the prospect of becoming an writer or film maker or astronaut, Donald A. Wollheim, the groundbreaking sci-fi journalist and creator of DAW Books.

His experiences on the editing side have been the most satisfactory part of his professional life so far. I found him inspiring me to research the editors' trade and consider what it would be like to help the writers and their histories do their best. I was admonished to pursue high goals in my own publishing-careers.

Encouraging him was a great deal for an accidental child who, I am sure, did not at all look like the average journalist in his circle at the age. I got a job at Bantam Books as an intern/editor for 30 working nights because of an irrational coincidence of things. They had no children's or YA section.

So I was interested in publishing and took every drafting position I could get. I' ve been involved in all kinds of business meeting, such as drafting interviews at acquisitions conferences, and I have also been able to participate in large business plan sessions as an apprentice at the back of the room. That was in the years when Bantam created astonishing, unprecedented advertising and sold a large number of paperbacks that turned best-sellers into reality and changed the world.

I' ve heard as an advertising/marketing and editing company - no digitals stormed the campaign together and created more concepts than were necessary or even feasible. I know how often it surprises folks to listen, but I learnt how to make them. Martha Rago not only shared her priceless understanding of how to help an artiste tell a tale in the best possible visual way, she also showed me the importance of cooperation between editing and ingenuity.

Whenever I work on a storybook, I use some of the knowledge and abilities she taught me. I was a journalist at the university when I listened to two wisdoms that still accompany me today. She said that we can work really well and that our work can be done, but in the end our work is a work and it is our duty as people to make sure that we keep growing outside the wall of our publishing houses and taking care of our families and people.

Brenda Bowen's second wise point, which I often think of, is: "Your name is not your name. Name is your name. Juniors can often concentrate on getting the next advancement and feel more "legitimate" with an older qualification, so it can be difficult to see the wood through the saplings.

It is more important to take charge of your work, with your feedbacks to the writers who support you, to be as big as possible, even if it is something commonplace, like page scan or package delivery, than flying up the front page as fast as possible.

Folks are remembering you, not your name, so be professional, polite and proud of your work. After my studies, my first Desigjob was as an assistent with my former schoolteacher Yolanda Cuomo in Chelsea. She' s an astonishing beech woodworker who recently created Pete Souza's Obama album.

When I was a college graduate, I learnt a lot about designing books and then more about how to be a pro while working in her gym. So I was hired to go to a colleague's office to do something on a large colour press; they were difficult to find in smaller offices back then - in the early 2000s!

It was a thick photobook with several hundred photofiles, and Yolanda asked me if I knew what to do. I' m thinking about it all the while:) It' also made me appreciate my iPhone card, because I'm still losing myself all the while!

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