Cycles are what life seems to be all about. If you live long enough, and stay connected to a business or interest (or person!) long enough, you’ll see the ups and downs…and often the round and rounds of styles, procedures, concerns, and policies. When I started in the children’s publishing business in 1990, I was told by the agent I worked for, that the ‘best of publishing’ had passed. (WHAT?) I have seen many ‘best’ years come and go since then. Also at that time it was suddenly (again?) all about ‘diversity’. If a story was written by a Nez Perce American Indian then the editor was looking for a Nez Perce Indian as an illustrator! We wanted to find good African American, Asian, and Hispanic artists. Didn’t matter that a white artist was fabulous at painting black children, they didn’t get the job often! That is just as messed up. It should be about what’s best for the book or project. But more diverse books were published, and that was good for the industry and good for the readers.
That was over 20 years ago! Yet in PW end of Sept I read again about “overwhelming white” and “lack of diversity” as being a “bit eye-opening!” Have they been shut all this time? I’m shocked that this is again a huge thing; big topic at conferences and conventions, and book fairs. 60% of the responding survey publishers thought it was ‘a big issue’. Why isn’t it less so today after almost 20 years of being ‘an issue?’ New crop of editors and AD’s and writers and illustrators just tuning in?
Another ‘issue’ is the still under payment of WOMEN in publishing! also something I’ve been tracking for over 20 years. Working for myself as an agent, I’m less effected by that as a woman. ( I am by the under payment of ARTISTS, but that’s another long story!) According to the same PW piece, women are 74% of the publishing industry, and yet women averaged a salary of $60,750 in 2013 to the men’s average of $85,000. For some jobs the difference is in the tens of thousands. (female AD’s make more generally it says! ) Talk about an ‘issue’ that shouldn’t still be an issue! I have a daughter and two daughter-in-laws and each of them works full-time (two have 3 kids and a full-time working husband too!) Why on earth would they be paid LESS for their labors and hours in any industry?
So we’ve two issues cropping up ‘suddenly’ that really have always been here and are still here. When will the talking stop and the fixing begin? I feel like painting up a sign and taking to the streets! cycles….Up and Down….Round and Round!
diverse female friends by Priscilla Burris
One of the small pleasures I treat myself to is visiting the book stores of every town I visit in my travels if possible. I figure I’m ‘working’, right? I was able to visit two on the Outer Banks NC last weekend while visiting and saying goodbye to summer.
One is the sweetest tiny bookstore in Buxton NC…lower part of Outer Banks, very near the Hatteras Light House Point we love so much… good fishing normally and the best beaches! (skunked this year….)
and the second I revisited was the Corolla Light Bookstore in the northern part of the Outer Banks. (Do visit the Sanderling Resort and Spa if ever near there!)
They are so adorably old fashioned..and yet very modern and up to date too. Just a pleasure all around and remind me how LUCKY I am to love reading as I do and have children’s books be my livelihood ! Work, Work, Work, …..
Just learned of the HUGE Book Fair in Princeton this Sat. So if you can get there, and like book fairs, (who doesn’t) this one is a must!….lots of BIG names…including our very own Melissa Iwai and Anne Rockwell with their TRUCK STOP (from Viking). stop and say hello!
CONGRATULATIONS NICOLE TADGELL illustrator, and author Susanne Slade, and Charlesbridge for a wonderful addition to youth non fiction!
I’ve been noticing….. month after month we read in PW and other reports about publishing still being down or at least margins down. BUT KIDS (to YA) is always UP! Last 6 months of 2014 has been very good generally. While adult publishing is a minus or single digit, Pic bks, kids fiction and non fiction and brd bks are up double digits compared to last year at this time!
There was a quote in the PW Sept 1 2014 issue from Devin Wenig president of eBay Marketplaces I liked: ” I think the last two years…have been extraordinary in the sense that technology has deconstructed…retail.” This sticks with me as basic truth. He continues: ” we’re past the tipping point.” It’s a fact, and it’s being dealt with now. It’s all about ALL the ways to find and buy whatever (BOOKS) phone, desktop, store or library. The pub. industry is trying hard to catch up…using technology to keep connected and offer service. Just as it should be.
from Priscilla Burris…the bottom line….
We at CAT agency are so happy to help Launch the wonderfully friendly new series about the Hamster Humphrey and his Tiny Tales from Penguin Putnam! See his first two books here, and a little video about how he is created by our artist PRISCILLA BURRIS https://vimeo.com/104481200