|Justin Chanda (photo by Kim Baker)|
Justin started his talk by breaking down what the different departments and people at a publishing house really do. It pays to know who does what, but ultimately, everything should go through your editor. He or she is an author or illustrator's in-house champion and coordinates the efforts of everyone involved. Ground rules? Behave like a professional, and be nice!
He shared some of the super-secret behind-the-scenes nitty-gritty details about the children's book market and how he decides where to spend a limited marketing budget and which books to spend it on. (Hint: Your book has to make money to get money.)
Finally, he gave tips for how authors and illustrators can promote their books effectively. Top recommendations included using social media well, hiring a freelance publicist, doing school visits, and reaching out to our own personal networks.
One nugget resulted in both gasps of surprise and face palms from the audience: "Tell your editor EVERYTHING you are doing to promote your book. Send your complete schedule of events for the month ahead." This includes trips you are taking, storytimes you are leading, appearances you're doing, school visits, etc. "They can't help you if they don't know what you're doing."
Justin exudes both positivity and passion for our industry, and he generously shared his wealth of knowledge with attendees.