Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SCBWI 2010 Summer Conference: Notes and Quotes – Publishers Panel

The panel (Francisco Sedita, Jennifer Hunt, Stephanie Owens Lurie and Justin Chanda) discussed the state of the publishing business and how well different genres are doing.

A few years ago hard cover fiction was thought to be on the way out. It’s totally different now. They’re selling in numbers not seen in 30 years. Big books are bigger than ever.

The theory is that no child left behind killed picture books. The teachers have to devote all their time to the curriculum. They’re all teaching to the test. Fifty percent of teachers use their own money to buy books. Barnes and Noble only puts up picture books they like, or not at all. They don’t take every title.

Publishers are still interested in picture books. But they need to be smart, and focused.

Jennifer Hunt

  • Great story telling has been around forever, and will continue. Cave paintings were our first picture books.
  • Authors and illustrators need to spend 50% of their time writing, and 50% promoting.

Francisco Sedita

  • If everyone just writes to the trends, the vampires will win. Write what you think is cool. Entertain yourself.

Justin Chanda

  • The last two years have been tough for everyone, but we’re seeing an upswing.
  • Picture books are still down.
  • Midgrade sales are stable.
  • Teen books are all anyone talks about.
  • Ebooks are great, and anyone who doesn’t think so is wrong….in my opinion.


  1. If I am not mistaken it was Mr. Chanda who made the remark about how if we all write to trends the vampires win. A great panel!

  2. Katy -- Oops! Some of my handwritten notes got a bit rough. I should add a disclaimer -- thanks for the heads up.