KBC warmly welcomes publicist Jennifer Kean with this insight into the world of Hardie Grant Egmont. We hope you enjoy this peek into the world of the people who make the books.
What kind of books do you publish? At Hardie Grant Egmont (HGE) we publish a variety books – beautiful picture books, popular series to engage reluctant readers, fabulous middle-grade and YA fiction – all aimed at capturing the readers imagination.
We publish best-selling and recognised series that include Zac Power, Go Girl and Billie B. Brown. And our YA list is just as strong, with The Phoenix Files series by Chris Morphew and the Gone series by Michael Grant, continuing to grow their fan base of students and teachers alike with each subsequent release.
Through our Little Hare imprint, we also publish a mix of literary and award-winning picture books by some of Australia’s most respected and loved talents. As well as this, we market, sell and distribute the iconic Egmont UK list which features best-loved authors such as Enid Blyton, A.A. Milne and Michael Morpurgo as well as well-known brands like Thomas & Friends, Miffy and Bob the Builder.
What do you love most about your work? I love that there is variety in my role, particularly because of the way our company is structured. I am working across a variety of titles that are both local and UK originated releases, so the publicity requirements for these books and their authors and illustrators differ greatly. I get to work with a variety of media – newspapers, magazines, teacher and librarian journals, industry publications, as well as TV/radio and bloggers – to get review coverage, media coverage and interviews.
I have also been fortunate to make contacts at many bookstores, schools and libraries as well as a number of writing festival committees and publishing industry groups to organise book launches, book signing events and author/illustrator appearances.
I also love the accompanying authors on tour or to instore events where I also get to meet our audience first hand. It’s so great to see the fans reaction (regardless of their age) when they get to meet their favourite author in person. I can relate because I still get that same buzz when I meet a favourite author even as an adult.
What is the hardest thing about promoting books? I guess one of the most frustrating things, especially when promoting children’s picture books, is that they can often be hard to secure review coverage for. Newspapers, for example, don’t always have a designated children’s review section or if they do it is tiny, so terrific avenues such as Kids Book Capers are a godsend.
2012 is The National Year of Reading. Why do you think reading is important for both children and adults? Introducing children to reading at a young age is only going to help them when they are adults. There are practical reasons why reading is important. For example, learning to read as a child will help with tasks such as reading a footy fixture or computer game instructions. Such practical uses also apply when you’re an adult, reading a recipe or flight and travel information. We don’t realise how much we do read every day, and not just books.
Then there is the fun side of reading actual stories. A child who reads develops imagination and I believe this a wonderful thing that stays with you into adulthood. Reading as an adult also provides a wonderful escapism from our busy world. And an adult parent reading to their child is something that both should be able to enjoy together.
Where do you see the children’s book market in five years’ time? Firstly, I think there will always be books, particularly for children. I don’t think they will ever be completely replaced, perhaps only enhanced with technology. I hope kids in five years will still want to collect and display books on their bookcases in their bedrooms, but that they will also be able to appreciate being able to take their entire bookcase with them on an iPad on long road trips.
What is your current submissions process for authors and illustrators? We have submission guidelines on our website www.hardiegrantegmont.com.au
What were some of your favourite HGE book titles from 2011? It’s hard for me to go passed Cat Patrick’s debut YA novel, Forgotten. The whole office fell in love with this manuscript when we read it two years earlier, so when we won the Australian and New Zealand rights to publish it, we couldn’t wait! So, it was a long time coming, but the publicity for this book was fun to do and the book sold really well for us.
The July 2011 release of Bronwyn Bancroft’s Kangaroo and Crocodile was another highlight for me. The main reason being that so much work went into organising the launch with Her Excellency, The Governor General’s office that I was so pleased when it all went off without a hitch!
And of course, Billie B Brown was another big series for us in 2011 with each new release becoming my new favourite (I want her wardrobe!). So much so, I’ve heard whispers that Sally is naming a character Jennifer in one of her upcoming titles.
There are so many more titles to mention, Shift by Em Bailey and Look, a Book! by Libby Gleeson were probably the other two main stand outs for 2011 for me. Shift is Em’s first YA novel and it received great coverage and reviews. And it was such a pleasure to work with Libby Gleeson, Freya Blackwood and Maurice Saxby who officially launched Look, a Book! in the magnificent museum of Sydney University.
What titles do you have coming up that you’re really excited about? In April 2012 we’re releasing Cat Patrick’s next YA novel, Revived, so I’m looking forward to publicising this and making lots of YA bloggers really happy. She developing a growing fan base in Australia which is great to watch.
June release Of Poseidon by Anna Banks is creating internet buzz already – mermaids are the new vampires! Here’s hoping…
Then of course in July we’re releasing Silhouette, the debut YA novel from Thalia Kalkipsakis one of our favourite Go Girl authors. We’re all so proud of this book!
Later in the year there are some gorgeous picture books for KBC followers to enjoy – Tree by Danny Parker and illustrated by Matt Ottley and A Hare, a Hound and Shy Mousey Brown illustrated by Jonathan Bentley is just adorable.
And I couldn’t go past the world-wide October release of Lemony Snicket’s new series All the Wrong Questions – now that’s going to be like nothing I’ve ever experienced publicising before!
Learn more about Hardie Grant’s books at their website.