Sunday, October 30, 2011

from the BRG archives: first books and relationships

I was looking for the exact quote but I think it's long gone. A few years back (I think!) I'd read in PW about Mark Brown's first book memory. He said his editor sent a limo and Champagne to his door on the book's release date. I was SHOCKED when I read this. Was publishing THAT much better back then? When a book of mine gets released, it gets zero fanfare. I've grown accustomed to this fact. But boy would a little fanfare be nice! Picture books have also changed a lot since then. They've gotten bolder... edgier. Is this a good thing? A bad thing? When I was little there weren't any books like the ones I create so I must wonder what *I* would have thought of them. Hopefully I would have liked them.

A friend of mine just gave me Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom. It's clear from reading the letters that Nordstrom really valued her author/editor relationships. So here's another random question-editors and authors out there: what are your relationships like with the people you work with? Do you think having a close, friendly relationship helps? I've talked to so many authors who've told me they've never met their editors! Wow. I don't know how I would operate if that were the case. I like the face-to-face contact. I like to know who's on the other end of the computer/phone. Do you think face-to-face contact matters? Does it make a book better?

Well, those are my rambling thoughts for now.


Originally published Septemeber 28th, 2006


Libby Koponen said...

I don't think face-to-face contact matters that much; what amazes me about DEAR GENIUS is the understanding and encouragement the authors received, before they'd written anything! Sometimes the books were written with Ursula's encouragement and even at her instigation...sometimes the author started the book and she coaxed it into greatness -- do you remember her letters to the Francis author? the HARRIET THE SPY author? and so many others.

Meghan McCarthy said...

I wrote that in 2006! That was 5 years ago. Wow. Anyway, I still feel the same way - that face to face contact helps. I think I've been able to make things work better and form better relationships that I wouldn't otherwise. For example: design is really important to me. I get to go into the office and talk about the design and look at different options. I think if I did everything over the phone and computer I'd never get to that point -- but maybe that's just me.

Cathy Ballou Mealey said...

Everything old is new again? I just read "Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom" this fall and loved the peek into the way publishing once was - at least for Ursula. Few people write letters that frequently anymore - a real treasure trove!