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Friday, June 6, 2014

Post BEA Wrap Up: Bloomsbury Meeting (Children's)



This year I went as ABA VIP to BEA (that's a lot of abbreviations).  Basically I went as a bookseller (specifically the Street Team of my local indie Booktrader of Hamilton) and as part of the ABA perks this year, a new session was included.  ABA managers and their associates could go on "editor meetings" in small groups to all sorts of publishers.

It was randomly selected who you would end up with and I ended up with Bloomsbury, which couldn't have made me happier honestly.  My sister Tegan and our friend Jenn made away over to Hotel ABA (the Grand Hyatt) to meet up with our groups.  We stopped for breakfast at Pershing Square Cafe first, then off we went with our groups!

Team Leader for my group was Emily and there was about 6 of us (a couple joined us later on). We had bookstore owners from out west, from NJ, from Brooklyn...I was kind of out numbered honestly.  But that's okay! I knew books and that's what mattered.

We met with four editors--George Gibson (Publishing Director of the US office), Mary Kate Casellani (senior editor of children's books), Nancy Miller (the editorial director) and Cindy Loh (publishing director of children's books).

Below are my notes from the children's half of the meeting.

Mary Kate -
Presented to us the book The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer Blakemore.

Spy Catchers is a middle grade quasi-mystery set during the Cold War.  Mary Kate believes this would be good for fans of Harriet the Spy - the main character, Hazel is an imaginative young girl growing up in a small town.  Her family owns the local cemetery and like any child she likes to believe there is more to the world then there is. 

Mary Kate said that "reading [the book] was treating myself" and with its historical fiction leanings would be good for common core activities.  The core theme being understanding the choices that you make and how those consequences affect others.

Megan's next book is a contemporary dealing with middle school.

Cindy -
Cindy presented Nick Lake's new YA thriller There Will Be Lies while also presenting his other two books -- Hostage Three and In Darkness -- to us.

She says that each book are very different things despite having connecting similarities.  While you can read them individually she feels its important to read all three for the full effect of Nick's writing.  In Darkness is very "in your head" and intellectual so it can be hard to read at times.  Hostage Three has a more commercial feel to it and Nick does a good job humanizing bad things/people who do bad things.

There Will Be Lies (which has an awesome prototype cover) tagline is "There will be 2 lies and the truth".  Its a good mind screw with an unreliable narrator and the mystery of what exactly is happening.

Someone asked about the covers - citing that a lot of authors tend to be disappointed by their covers and how Bloomsbury handles that.  The covers are a "collaborative experience" with practically every division weighing in at some point or other.  George mentioned that art directors can not be "thin skinned" because their vision may not be the ultimate goal so they have to go back to square one sometimes and destroy their "baby".

Cindy also mentioned that for Lake's covers they wanted something different.  With There Will Be Lies they are going more for the type-set cover and are tweaking the final draft.  Cindy mentioned that limited number of ARCs will be available at ALA Annual this month however.

Stay tuned for the adult half tomorrow!