Sarah McIntyre (jabberworks) wrote,
Sarah McIntyre

how can publishers best support writers and illustrators?

I'm speaking at a Booktrust seminar at the London Book Fair on Tues, 16 April, with PR guru Justin Somper, agent Stephanie Thwaites and Bookbrunch founding editor Liz Thomson. Here's a very professional-looking poster I made for it:

But I need your help. The seminar's called The New Demands On and Support For Writers, and if you're a writer or illustrator, I want to know: what is it that you need from your publisher that you're not already getting? Or what is it that your publisher is doing well, that other publishers might not have done for you?

Here's the seminar description:
Recent industry changes have seen a new wave of support for writers, with a proliferation of courses popping up, agents taking more of a proactive role and new competitions hunting for the best writing talent. However, at the same time, the demand for children’s writers to be singing and dancing all-rounders has never been so great, from blogging and social media to planning and performing ever more exciting and engaging events. What can we do to nurture our children’s writers and ensure that there’s enough space and support in the market for budding talent to shine through?

The singing and dancing thing's true; no one told me in art college that I was going to become a stage performer, and I never would have guessed how much I'd be expected to sell my own books. Fortunately, mixing with the comics/self-publishing crowd has helped a lot with this, because I've had some experience taking a book through all the stages between getting the idea to packaging to promoting a piece of merchandise at a book fair.

But... it's a real struggle. I sometimes feel that even if I work every waking hour, I still can't do all the things I'm supposed to be doing. It's not in my publisher's best interest for me to go off the rails, if they want to nurture me in a long-term way.

I suspect lots of you are in the same place as I am with this. How do you think our publishers and publicists can help us do what it takes to make the books sell and maintain a realistic workload? Of course, we'd love it if they did everything short of write/draw the actual book, but realistically, what are the most important things we need them to be doing?

We need a wish list! Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!

PS Of course, if you can replicate like mad, this is not a problem. (See The McIntyre Way™.)


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