These past few days I had the pleasure of meeting the Louisiana SCBWI when they had the Boss and me come down and speak at their annual conference. Maggie Lehrman from Abrams Books and Helen Lester of Tacky the Penguin fame rounded out the speakers. Unfortunately, I can't tell you what any of them spoke about since I spent their presentations in a different room doing manuscript and portfolio critiques. I hear they were all fabulous and insightful, but I don't even know what topics they covered. However, I can tell you all about my presentation.
I must first preface this with a little background information on how I ended up going to this conference. Originally when they contacted Boss, they wanted her and the art director to speak. Our art director had a family event last weekend, so she couldn't attend. The conference eventually decided that I, a mere editorial director, could come in her place but only if I spoke about something that would be pertinent to illustrators.
I racked my brains trying to figure out what to do. Fortunately, almost all of my critiques were standard editorial fare although they skewed more towards picture books than I normally receive. So that was fine. But I still had to write a speech that was pertinent to the illustrators, interesting for the authors, and within my realm of expertise since I'm not an art director. I started and stopped a dozen presentations. I asked other people what they thought I should talk about. I just could not figure out what my speech should be.
Finally, I realized that I know all about the art side of books after all -- don't I hire illustrators and design the interiors and covers of some of our books? Didn't I completely build the current Blooming Tree website from scratch? I know all sorts of stuff that's pertinent to illustrators. And so my presentation was born -- Book Production from a Graphic Perspective.