Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Sad End of an Era

Last week I took the train to London and spent a whole day in meetings with various publishers, showing them the stories I have been working on recently

I have worked with quite a few of the larger publishers over the years, although my new book, Swap!, is being published by Gullane, who also published my very first book The Show at Rickety Barn. We've produced 12 books together in as many years, including the first one I also wrote myself: When You're Not Looking!

But I didn't show this latest batch of new stories to them because, at the end of last year, Gullane were put on ice by the company who owns them. The staff were made redundant and many ongoing projects were cancelled (luckily not mine - phew). Gullane won't be commissioning any books for the foreseeable future and my back-list with them is being handled by another publisher.

This is very sad as I have built up some great working relationships with the team at Gullane. Mine does sound like a dream job from the outside but, like all work, it's not always easy. From time to time you do get clashes of personality, break-downs in communication and frustrations that make you grind your teeth. But I can honestly say that the editors, art directors and designers at Gullane have always been an absolute joy to work with. Thanks guys.

Anyway, this is one of the reasons why I've been working so hard to put together my presentations. Not only am I looking for a home for some of the exciting new story ideas John and I have been working on together, but I am also on the lookout for a new publisher to fill Gullane's boots.

It all seemed to go very well at my various meetings last week, though you can never really tell for sure. One thing I've learned about publishing is that you mustn't count your chickens, even when they are hatched and squawking. In the world of children's books, there are still plenty of  things which can go wrong!

I'll let you know if I have any good news, but it's Bologna Children's Book Fair in a few weeks, one of the most important events on the picture book calendar, so everything else will be put on hold until that's out of the way. Luckily it's also World Book Day coming up, so all my school visits will keep me well occupied in the meantime.

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