“Pre-testing will improve your book in ways you never imagined!”
Why did you become a book publisher? I grew up in the publishing and printing business as a child, and it was a natural leap for me to find myself publishing when I grew up. I saw a need for books on creative art for children, and began a series meeting that need in 1985 with my first book, Scribble Art.
What do you like best about publishing? Being independent, sharing a passion that makes a difference in children’s lives, creative design and writing.
What do you publish? Books on creative art for children, for teachers parents, daycare, homeschool, kids, anyone who works with children. I’m best known for children’s art that is a creative process, not a finished product.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? My distributors, my workshops and presentations around the country, and most recently blog interviews.
How do you define a successful title? I have books that are still selling after 25 years, so those are definitely successful. But I most define success by the numbers of children who have been reached by all my titles combined, which very well may be millions. Unfathomable!
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. In 2009 I took the leap and published a four-color book, Great American Artists for Kids: Hands-On Art Experiences in the Styles of Great American Masters. The greatest challenge was securing permissions for the artworks. My favorite part was working with children to create their unique artworks to include in the book. Whenever I hold the book and open its pages, I get a warm fuzzy feeling. I love that book! Best of all is the wide acceptance that children can learn about the masters, and knowing they can see and appreciate the full color images of art of great American masters right at their fingertips.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? At times the pressure to produce hinders the desire to create. It’s important for me to be passionately committed to the books I write, and not just bring something out because it’s time for a new book. I’m very pleased with the success of my books and my publishing life. 2013 will be 28 years of bringing art to children!
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Pre-test your book in your market by whatever means you can. For example, if you write for children, read to classroom after classroom, do readings at library story times, ask teachers what they think, get opinions from bookstore owners and librarians. Pre-testing will improve your book in ways you never imagined!
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? I plan to add a new series of creative learning books, so in five years I should have a nice little shelf full to show off. I “may” consider retiring, but that remains a mystery. I am now a literary agent for authors seeking publishing in the education genre.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? Living the Pacific Northwest spells o-u-t-d-o-o-r-s. I snow-ski, kayak, play Frisbee with my pup, drink lattes with friends, and walk in amazingly lovely places. My husband and I love to try new restaurants and find new beaches to explore. Both my daughters are in theatre, so I make it to Chicago and New York to see their work whenever I can.
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