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Monday, October 18, 2010

Inside an Editorial Meeting at Black Dog Books

Black Dog Books

Today is Day One of my internship with Black Dog Books, who are a fabulous Melbourne based childrens and YA publisher and I'm learning loads.

My first task was to read an international manuscript that there has been lots of buzz about all over the interwebz, and write a reader report because Black Dog are considering purchasing the Australian rights.

It hasn't even come out in America yet so I'm definitely on the INSIDE now, people. Are you massively jealous of me? I know you are. And think about it, the publishers and editors here get to read fantabulous new books before they come out, for a LIVING.

A Black Dog Book

Anyway - the editorial meeting.

There was discussion of the pros and cons of publishing the third book in a series. And there is a lot to be considered. There are added costs with a third book because the first and second would need to be reprinted. But if those didn't sell amazingly? The staff here love their writers and spend countless hours helping them craft their work. They're invested. But sometimes that personal investment isn't enough. There are so many other elements involved, like what size to make the book, and the sizing effects how many copies booksellers think they will be able to sell. So if BDB plan to produce something in C format and booksellers don't think they can sell it, but they could sell it at B+ (which would make the book cheaper for consumers), it will all effect sales and whether you can find books in stores. It has nothing to do with the content, or the author, it's just how much room it takes up on a shelf that can affect whether you can find it or not.

They decided to buy the rights to this international title with masses and masses of buzz, but are going to create their own front cover for it which is exciting, and I'm sure this book will do fabulously for them.

Another Black Dog Book

They discussed their line up for next year, and had some gaps in their list to fill so rearranged a couple of books, for instance they pushed one back two months because then it could be their lead title for that month, when it may have been lost or competing with another title on their list where it was. They moved a couple forward and negotiated the costings and what the move would do to their expected sales. For instance June is not a good month, sales wise, as booksellers are doing stock take and returning books. July is not amazing, but it's better because booksellers are needing to refill their shelves!

There were illustrations handed around for two picture books - one was a picture book that they had asked for some illustrations to be re-drawn to better reflect the story, and others were design ideas for updating some old stories with new illustrations.

Concept art for the protagonist in what looked to be a new chapter book series was looked at and everyone (there were five staff members plus me) could have some input and weigh in on the decisions.

They needed to pick a cover designer for a book coming out next year, and we had a look at some different designers, and also concept art for what the feel of the cover and the book should be like.

A brand-spanking NEW Black Dog Book

Although here at Black Dog each employee has their own job and responsibilities, it is most definitely a collaborative, team effort to produce the best books they possibly can.

I'm looking forward to Day Two!



  1. Yesss my spy Sairz, I repeat my spy Sairz has infiltrated the big bdb house... Secret Sairz please confirm you location... whoops, did I type that out loud? Sorry bdb I am not stalking you ;)

    fantastic blog entry, sounds like you've learned heaps and had fun in the process. Your passion is evident, I like it chicka

  2. Why yes, I am jealous, how did you guess? Sounds amazing! I learned a lot from this, the insides of publishing companies are mysterious. Thanks!


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