Monday, 8 June 2015

PP USA MEGATRIP! Week Two: Manhattan

Wow, what a week! BEA may have been jam packed with fabulous client meetings but week two of my trip has been even more so! This week I have been shooting around Manhattan to visit all of our NYC based clients both old and new and with between 4 and 5 meetings a day it’s been an extremely exciting week!

After fantastic Bologna and London Books fairs and such an incredible reception to our illustrators’ work at BEA this year I was keen to see how our NY based clients would respond to both our beautiful artist folios and some of the amazing concepts and project ideas that we have worked on with our author/illustrators. I am extremely proud of all of the work they have done on concept material and I was extremely confident that all of it was going to be a hit with our NY clients.

I wasn’t disappointed! They were blown away by the incredible array of talent that we represent and the Plum Pudding team are already busy following up on the extensive leads and vast request for samples. I’m delighted to say that we already have several projects in the pipeline and that many of our author/illustrators were extremely well received. It’s always a pleasure to learn what commissioning editors are looking for and I’m so delighted that wonderful concepts from Kate Pankhurst, Paula Bowles and Graham Howells were some of the most talked about of the week! Check out just a taste of some of our wonderful author/illustrator concept material below:

It was clear to me that young character driven concepts, particularly characters that have series potential, is what the vast majority are looking for and I cannot wait to work more on some of the ideas we discussed with the NY editors and designers I have met when I am back in the office.

It was also a joy of course to see the finished copies of the many books and projects that our illustrators have been working so hard on with our NY clients to date. Here are just a few of them:

Graham Howell's incredible work on Scholastic's Dragon Masters series.

Paula Franco's delightful covers for Simon and Schuster's series The Kicks.

Alison Brown's cover for Bloomsbury's I Love You Night And Day which reached number 4 in the New York Times Bestseller list!

An incredible 3D game piece from Marta Costa’s wonderful Ten Tiny Turtles with Scholastic. Marta had to illustrate all the characters from all angles so Scholastic’s team could produce these wonderful little models.

Most exciting for me is the reception that PP is receiving in the USA as a creative hub for publishers’ illustration needs. Without fail, all of the editors and designers I met with told me that they were extremely excited by our illustrators and delighted with the talent that we represent, with many of them explaining that Plum Pudding is often one of their very first stops when searching for an illustrator. This thank you from Sara Corbett, the Associate Art Director at Penguin Random House says it all:

Hi Hannah,

Thank you so much for coming in and filling my day with delight and inspiration! I love so many of the artists you showed and I can’t wait to work with you in the future! I hope you have a lovely stay in New York (and I’ll see you in Bologna!!)

Thanks so much again!!

I am so thrilled that this was the reception I had all round and I know that PP's continued expansion into the US is being swiftly viewed by American publishers as the perfect place to go for some of the most wonderful illustration talent around! Well done to all of our extremely talented illustrators and author/illustrators. I am exceptionally proud of you all! More to come next week so stay tuned!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

PP US Megatrip! Week One: Book Expo America!

Hello all from NYC! I cannot believe that I have been here for over a week already - time has gone so fast! I arrived on Monday the 25th May, shattered from a 4am start, feeling a little worse for wear with the arrival of a bad cold, a long flight and the lengthly process it takes to get through US airport security! I was ready for bed but of course it was only 3 o’clock in the afternoon in NY. The sun was shining, the temperature was sizzling and as I saw the Manhattan skyline rise up on the horizon in my taxi journey from JFK, I felt immediately at home again and ready to explore! I had a day of getting everything organised for BEA and then on the Wednesday nose dived straight into it!

Manhattan Skyline.

Javits Centre ready and looming for BEA.

Each of my days at Book Expo America were jam packed with meetings so it’s been an exhausting week! As normal, the fair was buzzing everyday, brimming with publishers, authors and illustrators from across the globe, all there to share the very thing we love best: books! The atmosphere was intense and exciting and it was a real pleasure to see what our US clients have been up to this past year! Even more so to see the works of our wonderful illustrators and author/illustrators shining on some of the stands!

Capstone's Santa Shimmy with artwork from our lovely Emma Randall.

More lovely work from Emma Randall with Goodnight Octopus on Cottage Door Press's stand.

Petra Brown's gorgeous illustrations for some fantastic titles at the Sleeping Bear booth.

Most thrilling for me was seeing the exceptional display that Sterling Books had made for our very own Brendan Kearney and his work on fabulous picture book Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast. There were even Team Lady Pancake and Team Sir French Toast tote bags, as well as shiny magnets! I promptly picked my team and wore my SFT tote all round the fair collecting books, momentos and client catalogues on my way.


I met with many of the publishers from around the USA that we already have well established and fantastic relationships with but BEA especially was a real opportunity to meet with US publishers that we don’t yet work with and to forge new relationships and I’m thrilled to say that was definitely the case. It’s rare for all of the meetings at a book fair to be exceptional but these really were and I cannot thank our wonderful US clients both old and new enough for a truly fantastic week. I am so excited to work with all of you on upcoming projects! A special thanks to Sleeping Bear Press, Source Books, Capstone and Walter Foster for some truly inspirational meetings!

Here's one of my favourite titles that caught my eye at BEA - Abrams Book's In My Heart:

And here is me sporting a beard from one of Capstone's hilarious and inventive Wearable Books!

After a delightful week of books, I had a weekend that was as hectic as the week, walking the length of the island and visiting Central Park for a lounge in the sunshine and an afternoon at the American Museum of Natural History where I indulged in two of my other passions: dinosaurs and our incredible universe.

On Sunday I visited the 9/11 Memorial site where I was surprised to find I spent 4 hours! That was certainly enough time though as I emerged emotionally exhausted and filled with a new found reverence for the strong folks of NYC and a better understanding of that fateful day. 

One World Trade Centre.

With the end of Sunday came a turn in the weather and I seem to be constantly soaked through from the torrential rain! Feels just like London! I've spent my evenings exploring the NY Highline, a magnificent oasis pathway raised above the city and, I confess, checking out as many local bars and gluten-free restaurants as possible.

The second week of my trip has started with a bang and I have been shooting from NY publisher to publisher and developing a truly excellent knowledge of the NY Subway! I’ll write again at the end of the week to fill you in. Night night from the NY skyline!