Saturday, April 30, 2011

Justin Chanda, Simon & Schuster

It was my pleasure to meet Justin Chanda at the SCBWI WWA conference in April. Justin is the VP and publisher for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Athenuem BFYR, and Margaret K. McElderry Books. Justin worked for eight years at HarperCollins Children's Books before joining the editorial staff at Simon & Schuster in 2005.

Even though he has moved up to VP, he still takes the opportunity to edit. His list includes: Jon Scieszka, David Shannon, Loren Long, Kenneth Oppel, and Adam Rex.

And now for some conference details. Justin was involved in the agent/editor panel on the first day. I got some great quotes that delve into his publishing style. When asked about the picture book market, he mentioned that publisher's are looking less for PB. So, "Make sure your picture book has a reason to be written". Is he against picture books? NO! "I love picture books. It's why I got into publishing."

In regard to the current writing climate, "It is a great time to be a debut author". In 2011, he had 13 new authors on his list. But, he does mention that the reality is, "If the book doesn't take off, that's the end of that author with that publisher". But there is hope, he says that children's books have a long tail, they sale year after year. An author needs to "know how to self promote".

Regarding what he is interested in, Justin says, "Good stories". "I do not sign up a book, I am interested in an author. I am interested in an illustrator. Author and illustrator come first."

To learn more about Simon & Schuster children's publishing check out-

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