Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011 Conference Series- Faculty Q & A with Lionel Bender

Tuesday already!?! This week can't go fast enough! I can't wait until this weekend's 20th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Children Conference! We have just a few more Faculty ! & A's to share! Here's one with Lionel Bender. Lionel is on our Editorial and Art Director Faculty. You can read his Conference Bio here.

What is the best and worst advice you were given when you started in children's literature?
BEST: "Take every opportunity to learn as much as you can about all aspects of publishing. Ask questions and try your hand at design, picture research, production, sales, and marketing. Understand where authors, illustrators, and editors fit in the grand scheme of publishing".

WORST: "At school, you were average grade at English. At high school and university you did "hard" sciences. I don't think book publishing is the career for you".

What advice would you now give someone starting out in children's literature?
The world of children's publishing has changed rapidly these past few years and is set to change even more. Explore all avenues and get to learn what publishers are looking for, how they market books, and about self-promotion and self-publishing. Don't think only of "book" publishing—there are many new media, and many new ways of reaching readers.

What was your favorite book as a child? And now?
AS A CHILD: The TIM stories by author and illustrator Edward Ardizonne [not sure if published in the US]
NOW: Some of the new graphic novels

As you know, those who are in children's literature tend to have lengthy discussions on the important topic of snacks (usually it's a baked good). What's your favorite snack?
Beigel, cream cheese, and lox

What are you most looking forward to about being part of the 2011 SCBWI WWA faculty?
Sharing experiences and perspectives on children's publishing. As a book packager, it is interesting to hear publishers', editors', authors' and illustrators' perspectives on how the industry is developing and changing.

Attendees are often nervous to meet faculty at a conference. What, if anything, makes you nervous about being part of the faculty?
Speaking a different language (the Queen's English) and telling things as they are.

What do you like most about your job? What do you like least?
THE MOST: Having to come up with a different way of presenting a familiar subject or topic. As many have said, "There is nothing new in publishing." The challenge is to present a familiar subject in a novel, unique, or different way, whether it be by the illustrations or photographs used, or the voice of the text, or a mixture of all of these.

LEAST: Having to deal with individuals or companies that do not understand how the publishing industry works.

What do you most want our attendees to know about you?
I have spent my publishing career working in market-driven, illustrated non-fiction publishing. Here there is little room for, "Wouldn't it be nice to do this, or "We'll try this and see how it sells". And I have worked for many of the pioneering book packaging companies, editing and writing alongside designers, illustrators, photographers, picture researchers, production people, and sales and marketing people. For 20 years, I and my partners have run our own book packaging company. So, for me, book publishing is about "teamwork." I believe this has given me a fairly unique experience of the business of publishing and how authors and illustrators can succeed in it. Hence my focus is more on how to make a career in the world of children's publishing than it is on the art and craft of writing.

Wonderful answers from Lionel! Make sure you visit the event website to get your name on the waiting list (since registration is full).

No comments: