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Comment from the book world in September 2011

September 2011

Advice to publishers

26 September 2011

'The next time you parachute a non-editor into a commissioning role, take your best real editor and promote them to - let's call it - Structural Editor and pay them most of what you are going to pay the commissioning editor in lieu of the kudos (and the rest of the salary); let them work hand in hand with the commissioning editor and take care of the editorial work that the commissioning editor isn't really qualified to do. That is, open up a new way forward for editors who aren't going to be able to commission and don't want to manage. If you're going to reward someone for not bringing editorial skills to the commissioning role, at least try to find some way of recognising those who do have these skills. God knows, many commissioning editors, whatever their provenance, will be grateful for a more legitimate way of sharing the heavy editorial work that they barely have the time to do between meetings.'

Stephen Guise, former editor at Mitchell Beazley, Cassell and at Little, Brown.

'An amazingly golden time'

19 September 2011

'One child in Edinburgh asked me who my main competitors were. If Julia Donaldson didn't exist and her books didn't exist, then I wouldn't have the readers. If I didn't exist then Anthony Horowitz and Jo Rowling wouldn't have their readers. Children need lots of different books. Adult writers are a lot more competitive, but with children you need this vast amount...

It is such an amazingly golden time because there are so many good people writing. Now lots of adult writers are trying to write for children. People used to ask me. 'Don't you mind that Jo Rowling is taking all the attention?' And I'd say, 'What attention?' No one had the slightest interest in children's authors. There was no attention. She's created this whole renewed interest in children's books. Children's authors should be very indebted to her.'

Francesca Simon, author of the Horrid Henry books, in the Independent on Sunday

'Creative organisations'

5 September 2011

'The big debate for anyone at the moment is where does publishing provide value? What is our role? In my view what we do is we select, we nurture, we position, we promote, we leverage - but author care, editorial expertise, design excellence - those things are absolutely critical. We are creative organisations, and we must never lose sight of that. Amazon has never made a bestseller - you first have to have a great book, and then you need marketing and publicity teams to create the consumer demand.'

Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin UK in the Bookseller