Saturday, February 7, 2015

Justin Chanda: Editors' Panel

Justin Chanda is vice president, publisher of three flagship children's imprints and Simon & Schuster: S&S Books for Young Readers, McElderry Books and Atheneum. Justin publishes 350 a year and edits about 20 of them.

"The children's book industry is doing very, very well."

Justin lets us know it's been a very profitable year. Good news! He says, we can know it's going well when the children's division is the most profitable division or the only profitable division.

The media might have you believe that the contemporary YA was just invented by John Green. Justin mentions that perhaps Harper Lee decided to write a new contemporary YA to prove that John Green didn't create contemporary YA. YA continues to be strong, but mostly for a handful of lead titles.

Picture books were long declared dead in 2008 (by Justin himself), but they are very much on the upswing. There's also been a nice upswing in middle grade.

We have to remember that this business is cyclical. "We write and publish good books and we let everyone else, especially the media, take care of themselves."

On the need for social media:
"I don't care about your social media right now. I care about your story." Justin would much rather you have no social media rather than a bad social media presence (it's out there), and that you are writing and not spending all of your time on social media.

On encouraging diversity in the book:
There is a media problem with this. It was reported that there are no books that are diverse, and that is not true. This is more than a publishing problem. "This is an everyone problem. We need writers to write these books, agents to represent these books, publishers to publish these books, and we need accounts to shelve these books."

We Need Diverse Books: a great campaign.

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