Hey Book Nerds! ^.^ Sorry about the delay of this post, I've been really busy for some reason and too tired to start typing up this post. Bad Tiffa! So, the other week I met up for a coffee with Tina, who works for Chicken House Publishing, and she was lovely enough to answer a few of my questions! :) I had a great time chatting with Tina about her work and about books in general. :3 Anyway, this is going to be a VERY long post, so grab a snack and hopefully you'll enjoy at least some of this interview. Don't forget to let me know your thoughts! :D Lastly, a big thanks to Caroline (@CazLFCGleek) for helping me come up with some of these questions! :)
Questions & Answers
- Q: What is it like to work in Chicken House or just the publishing industry in general?
A: It's fantastic! I get to see every process of the books we print; from the manuscript to print! It's great to see the journey and see it being created step-by-step. Usually, if you were working in a larger publishing company, you wouldn't get to see all the different stages. Also, If there are movie adaptations of the books we publish, it’s great fun to be part of the excitement for the upcoming film, especially knowing we published the original book.
- Q: What is the atmosphere at work like?
A: There's a lot of tea drinking! We ordered a huge bag of teabags, I'm pretty sure there's enough to last us three more years. It's really fun and creative in a way; it's also a lot of hard work! It sometimes feels like you're on a treadmill, running as fast as you can, but not getting anywhere. But it's got a great atmosphere.
- Q: I know Chicken House generally publishes books for younger readers, is there a particular reason for this?
A: Mainly because it's so popular! Now days, lots of authors are just writing YA and children's books because the popularity of them has increased. You seem to see YA and Children's books everywhere you go now days, and it's great to be able to publish some of them!
- Q: I know a lot of adults still read YA novels; do you like to read the ones you publish?
A: Yes! Definitely! The market for YA isn't just for teens anymore. The average age group of people who read YA now days are between the ages of 22-34. Two of my colleagues especially inhale YA books constantly!
- Q: Are you spotting any new trends in book genres lately?
A: Definitely Dystopia. I think Dystopian Fiction’s popularity seems to come in waves. One minute you hear that it’s the next thing big thing. The next minute it’s apparently ‘dead’. But at the moment it’s a pretty popular genre...
- Q: What are your relationships like with the authors?
A: The authors are really close with their editors, but we're really close to them as well! This is mainly because we all care about their book, and want to see it through to the very end. We're also very involved with organising publicity for them, by sending emails and parcels out. I know they appreciate all the work we put into it, we even get acknowledged in their books sometimes!
- Q: What is the most rewarding thing about working in publishing?
A: Hearing what books mean to people is extremely rewarding! It's easy to get caught up in work and forget the reader until the last minute and then we start getting praise and hear how reading affects people. I also love how we have the ability to help turn kids to reading, it's fantastic.
- Q: How many submissions do you receive on average per month from authors?
A: Well, about two years ago we stopped receiving unsolicited work from authors. If you include the competitions we hold for aspiring new authors; probably over 100 submissions each month.
- Q: Are there any genres you desperately want authors to send to you?
A: We're always on the lookout for books from the 7-10 age group. I believe it's a very challenging and tough age group to write about, and authors at the moment tend to follow to the wave of current releases. There's no genre in particular, but I'd love to be able to read more submissions from that category.
- Q: Do you think children are reading more of less than in previous years?
A: Unfortunately I think it's probably gone down recently. There seems to be a lot of annoying talk that 'boys don't read', which I think isn’t true! There's also a lot more competition in todays society, along with school pressure and other general stress. It's such a shame!
- Q: Are there certain things you hate in books?
A: I really don't like clichés. A lot of authors nowadays want to create characters that are different, so they think, 'what's different?', and the come up with a red headed, feisty female protagonist or a boy with a lopsided grin and two different colour eyes. I feel like a lot of the characters I've read about lately are just so alike and usually very gangly - I think we need some different characters with unique personalities.
- Q: And finally, do you have any advice for aspiring new authors/writers?
A: Be a reader, not just a writer! I've often come across authors who write because they want to 'teach' children - I don't think this is a good way to make your mark. If you want to set out to teach people something, do it subtly, and don't shove it in their faces! Just start writing; you're not a writer until you actually write. And finally, write for your inner self and just keep going! :)
Another big thanks to Tina for answering all my questions! Let me know your opinions and thoughts on any of the questions raised in this Q&A. ^.^ Happy Reading! (: