I attended an excellent webinar put on by CANSCAIP (Canadian Society for Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) last night. It was moderated by author Natasha Deen, who had wonderful questions for Katie Hearn, Editorial Director at Annick Press, and Gayna Theophilus, Rights and Sales Director for Annick. They had excellent, in-depth and thoughtful answers, and I know all 178 attendees from across the country, like me, were wishing they could work with these people on a book! I honestly came away from the meeting thinking this is a publisher with so much integrity, and the people there really want to help the world through their young readers.
What is Annick Looking for?
They spoke a lot about Annick’s new author mentorship program for historically underrepresented groups, but I’m going to summarize my quick notes on what Annick looks for in a manuscript. In point form:
- issue books, stories that encourage deeper thought
- nothing didactic; don’t talk down to kids (who are very sophisticated these days)
- pacing that flows
- what is the author’s approach?
- is the voice (impossible to describe, but we all know it when we read it) authentic? Is there a spark?
- show, don’t tell
- is the story nuanced?
- keep your adult voice out of a young person’s story.
What does the Art Director look for?
Katie shared some notes she had from Art Director Paul Cavello including:
- does the art show confidence?
- is it fun, appealing, expressive, unique?
- does the artist have various styles?
- would the artist likely have multiple and original ideas to suit a particular project?
- does their work demonstrate dynamic possibilities?
- could the artist collaborate well and be flexible?
Both editors said they look for illustrators on Instagram, so if you’re an artist, use #Canadianillustrators (or something like that), when posting art.
In the past year, I’ve submitted two projects to Annick, and I haven’t had a response, so I’m wondering if they’re a “no response means no thanks” publisher these days. They do produce beautiful books, and I’ll continue trying… Hope you’ve found this useful!
Happy I Read Canadian Day (February 17th)
And Happy I Read Canadian Day (February 17th) – I’ll be “visiting” students at Humber Park Elementary, and proudly wearing my IRC t-shirt:) Apparently, 2,000 schools participated last year, and it will be 4,000 this year – not bad for a volunteer-driven program!