Allyn Johnston, Marla Freeze Presentation at Iowa Spring SCBWI Conference.
Posted May 1, 2010on:
Allyn Johnston, VP and Publisher(former Harcourt Editor), at Simon & Schuster’s new Imprint Beach Lane Books says that Beach Lane Books is all about picture books. She’s worked with authors such as Mem Fox and Lois Elhert. Her primary focus is on lyrical, emotionally engaging, highly visual picture books for young children. She says each time she sits down the submission pile she is hopeful that the next great picture book will be in the pile. She wants to publish softer picture books that speak to her heart. Allyn shared that she considers the picture book as a form of fine art.
Allyn talked about her initial contact with the book that she thinks has something special. The second step for her is putting on the shelf for a while to see if it still attracts her the next time she picks it up. If it does still appeal, she might share it with Andrea Welch, the other editor in the office. They then talk about the book and its prospects. If they both like it, they talk about what the next step is.
By this time, Allyn has some idea of the illustrator(s) she wants to approach to illustrate the book. Even longtime publishers don’t always get the illustrator that they want due to “scheduling conflicts” according to Allyn.
Together Allyn and Marla showed the illustration changes that took place as the process continued. They talked pacing and how they each had their own vision of what was to take place. For me as a writer, gave me a real insight to how perfect text and illustration make a great picture book.
Talented Marla Freeze (in green) and me at the Iowa Spring SCBWI conference after her joint presentation with the wonderful Allyn Johnston, VP/Publisher of Beach Lane Book. Marla’s illustrator credits include: All the World with author Liz Garton Scalon and Santa Claus-The World’s Number One Toy Expert.
Marla Freeze sharing her vision about illustrating was fascinating to me. My heart’s desire has always been to be an illustrator for one of my own books but alas I am not that talented.
Personally, I can see why Allyn and Marla work well together. They push each other to be the very best they can be.