Tag Archives: publishing

Belated BEA Busyness

Well, it’s been another one of those times where my blog has hit a bit of a lag!  My life these days is crazy busy, personally and professionally, so I really can’t complain.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for writing about my experiences or keeping up with my social media presence.  So now that I’m comfy on the recliner on vacation in Bemidji, it’s time to play a little Walking In Public catch-up…

First off, if you haven’t headed over to my new gig as a columnist on the blog, Publishing Trendsetter, you want to go to there!  The site is full of great advice and insight from young professionals on those either in their first few years, or looking to get into the industry.  As for me, I’ll be bringing the visual inspiration with the column, Design Candy.

A few weeks ago, I kicked it off on Trendsetter with my favorite design finds, head-to-head, from the publishing extravaganza of the year, BEA.  But I had a lot of favorite moments that didn’t make it onto that post.  For some reason, most of the Big 6 publishers disappoint – their large space isn’t utilized with books, but posters/video screens that don’t make an impact.  It’s the indie publishers (plus the usual suspects in Chronicle, Candlewick and Abrams) that make up the best exhibits.

Missed BEA the first time around?  Check out my highlights now:

Chronicle Books: Is designer heaven – no one even comes close to these guys in my book.

Abrams: They always pull out all the stops, this time with a giant snowglobe.

International: Saudi Arabia is by far the friendliest, but I love looking through all the foreign-language books.

Candlewick Press: No pics of the display, but note the presence of actual kids’ books.

Workman: Fun exhibit full of books, and I got a Sophie Blackall Missed Connections poster – my favorite swag of the day!

Enchanted Lion Books: Nice use of the full jacket proofs on the background.

Mo’s Nose: These self-publishers pulled out all the stops with cool display and marketing.  Plus, I think the idea of an app based on a scratch-and-sniff book is hilarious.

Hyperion: Okay, I have to be honest, this is not on my favorite list.  I just have to ask… what is with the harvest cornucopia?!  I can’t help but laugh at this one.

And, of course… here’s Penguin:

A Mockingjay Potluck Celebration

Amazing Capitol dishes: Katniss’ favorite stew with plums, almonds and watercress, over wild rice and peas; a really beautiful broccoli, lentil and red pepper soup.

Because this week there is – literally – nothing else more important than Mockingjay, I also attended a Hunger Games-themed potluck and book discussion last night, courtesy of my fellow publishing co-workers!

It was a total blast bringing themed district food to the steps of the Highline Park and watching passerby go gaga over our delicious spread.  We even displayed our blue hardcover copies once we realized we were drawing major attention.  A highlight of the night – watching a very excited group of hip college kids slowly figure out that we were, in fact, not just having dinner (wait, this is all about one book?!).

Yes, we were nerding out this Thursday night, and I am damn proud.

Also, I am not going to review Mockingjay at all so I can stay spoiler-free (plus, this one-word summary says it all)… except to say that if you haven’t read the Hunger Games, OMGSERIOUSLYITWILLCHANGEYOURLIFE-JUSTDOYOURSELFAFAVORANDREADALLTHREETHISWEEKEND!  Please.

Check out more photos of food and folks below!


A bunch of children’s publishing kids who all agree that this is the best thing to happen to them since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Check out their Hunger Games read-along blog here.

The limit of my culinary skills – District 11 fruit juice.

Lots and lots of “Peeta” bread (TEAM PEETA), Prim’s goat cheese, and possibly-poisonous berries.  Not pictured: cupcakes frosted by Peeta himself!

Editor Girls

I never thought that there would be a movie that would make me mock publishing and Alec Baldwin, two of my very favorite things.  I spent almost the entire movie – literally – mouthing “WHAAAAAT” at the free Netflix on my Mac screen.

Oh, but it can’t be so bad if it includes Alec Baldwin playing a publishing mogul, and it’s set in unrealistic New York of Hollywood producers . . . right?  Still, despite all of the obvious literary references, Blackberry proposals, and “Someone Like You“-ripped, American-typewriter transitions, it was kind of fun to watch all of that uncomfortable, semi-inappropriate chemistry.

Maybe I should finally get around to reading A Girl’s Guide To Hunting And Fishing?  I would probably like the book better.

For Book Designers, Type Matters

Obsessed with typefaces?  Then go watch the cutest set of videos made about Penguin’s book designers at Type Matters. It’s entertaining for graphic designers, but relatable for those just starting out (I want to share it with all my family members who ask me the question, “So, what is graphic design, exactly?”).

I especially love the first video, where you can see my walk to work!  They even critique the type on the side of my favorite food vendor at 345 Hudson (run by this little hilarious Russian couple).  And I thought it was adorable that they gave lower-case g’s a bit of personality.  Makes me proud to be a Penguin book designer.

Best of all, designers give a smart take on their opinions of favorite and least-favorite typefaces.  I was pleased that they didn’t state the obvious (yes, everyone hates Comic Sans and Papyrus… it need not be said), and you can always tell something about a person from the typefaces towards which they gravitate.

My personal typeface?  Archer by Hoefler and Frere-Jones, designed for Martha Stewart Magazine in 2001.  This 20th-century European look gives the slab-serif a bit of sweetness, quirkiness and charm, while still keepin’ it classy and professional (and isn’t that just so… me!?).  Now, I use it for everything – business cards, resumes… it even was the perfect choice for That’s Like Me!

Last spring, I was freaking out about finding “my typeface”, and it took me many a false try before I found Archer for my own branding.  It was as though if I couldn’t identify myself with a font, I had no right to have a personality as a designer.  While now I see how ridiculous that is, if you’re feeling the same way, you can take Pentagram’s What Type Are You? (the most amazingly-designed online quiz I’ve EVER seen).

Who knows… maybe you’ll be emotional, understated, progressive and disciplined… just like me and Archer Hairline!

And… I got my perfect REAL job!!!

UPDATED 2/13/10.  I’ve been so excited about my bourgeoning career that I couldn’t even find time to blog for over a week!

Here is the official news:  I’ve been hired as the “Assistant to the Art Department” at G. P. Putnam’s/Philomel (a part of Penguin Young Readers Group).  I’ll be working with/under the same wonderful folks for whom I interned this summer.  I get my OWN spring intern (ha!).  And I start part-time on Tuesday, with the expectation to go full-time in May.

If you had asked me two weeks ago, this is the best “dream” scenario I could have made up.  I get to work on books that I’ve always loved, with co-workers that I already adore, at one of the best publishing houses in the world.  For a salary.

What does this mean for the blog?  Well, I’m still moving onward and upward, and an entry-level job doesn’t mean that I won’t still be pursuing my dreams.  So – let me just say it now – this is my PERSONAL blog.  Any opinions, thoughts or feelings shared on it do not reflect the views of my employers, work contacts or publishers.  Especially Penguin.  Hows that for a disclaimer?

Anyway, it’s been a lot of hard work and some perfect timing, but I could not be more excited to start, and more grateful to the people in my life who helped me get here.  Please forgive me my periods of gushing!

Cheers!

photo creditphoto credit / photo credit

That’s Like Me! by Jill Lauren, is out!

Book Designed by Annie Beth Ericsson:

That’s Like Me! Stories About Amazing People With Learning Differences.  By Jill Lauren, foreword by Jerry Pinkney.  (Star Bright Books, $7.95)   ISBN: 978-1-59572-208-9  BUY IT ON AMAZON TODAY

That's Like Me!(Jacket)

In addition to the board books, my first full book design project is also on sale now!  That’s Like Me!, by Jill Lauren, is an uplifting series of success stories, told through the eyes of real children and adults, who have overcome learning differences and achieved their goals.  The book is perfect for children and young adults, particularly 8-12 year olds, who are trying to get through obstacles at school.  Jill has really put together a book that is unlike anything else out there!

Personally, this was a really important book for me.  When I worked on That’s Like Me! this summer as a freelancer, I was faced with a task that was larger than anything I had previously accomplished in design.  It was my first time dealing with a non-fiction project for older readers, and I had to incorporate a lot of text, photos and collage elements in a way that would capture the attention of middle-grade kids.  I also learned a ton about working as a team, drawing from the help of Jill Lauren, editor Rena Grossman, and Star Bright Books to communicate everyone’s vision.  I feel confident that, thanks to working on That’s Like Me!, I have a much better understanding of what it takes to execute your point-of-view as a designer.

It feels amazing, after working so hard on a project like this, to finally hold it in my hands!  Plus, isn’t it’s exciting that the legendary children’s book illustrator, Jerry Pinkney (who is dyslexic) and I both have a stake in the same book?

I hope it does fabulously well and that the stories in this book can help many children struggling with LD!

- ABE

What’s Hot… And What’s Not: Current Trends In Children’s Book Publishing

Last night after work, I remembered to head to midtown for the latest panel put on by the Children’s Book Group of the Author’s Guild – and I wasn’t disappointed.  Author and chair Rachel Vail moderated to a packed crowd at the Scandinavia House on 38th St, to discuss “What’s Hot And What’s Not: Current Trends In Children’s Book Publishing”.  Aka . . . vampires.  

Authors and enthusiasts of all ages came to hear Kim Brown, VP of Merchandise, Barnes and Noble; Lisa Desimini, author/illustrator; David Levithan, author of Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Exec. Editorial Director at Scholastic; and Marcia Wernick, literary agent at Sheldon Fogelman.  With these bigwigs speaking, it’s not surprising that I picked up a LOT of good info.  Here’s what they had to say . . . 

Kim Brown got things rolling with a quick run-down of, literally, what is selling (and she’s buying!).  If it’s pink, purple, and sparkly – it’s selling.  If it’s dark, purple, and is a vampire book – it’s selling.  In a nutshell.

Lisa Desimini gave a refreshing, and to me, the most relatable, perspective.  She encouraged her fellow authors to not simply jump on every trend that is selling at the moment because, by the time you try to ride the wave, it’ll be over.  Instead, follow your heart and your taste, and just be open to new challenges (like her bestseller, Dog The Fire Dog).   But, speaking of vampires, she does the covers for the True Blood series.  

Next, lone male David Levithan took the publisher’s point-of-view, and spoke about where new media is going to take the industry.  Essentially, he was encouraging, because even though we are on the brink of major change (like the music industry, circa 2000), technology is not going to replace books – it’s going to give more options to the way that we read, write and learn.  And picture books aren’t going anywhere.  Phew.  

Marcia Wernick wrapped it up with the agent, aka. the middleman’s, story. She said that, regardless of trends, great content, powerful characters, and that magic “hook” will always start the next wave.  

Opening the floor for questions, the conversation turned to the NEXT wave – after vampires – the distopia.  I’ve heard of the book, Hunger Games, that represents that next fad for YA, and I think I better pick it up.  Because, as YA dominates, it crosses over with the trends of adult literature.  Example – 40 year old stockbrokers reading Twilight on the subway.  

Other tidbits of useful information for aspiring authors/illustrators:

1.  GET AN AGENT.  It’s a bunny-eat-bunny world out there.

2.  Make sure you know what rights you are giving away, because the contracts signed today will be the ones in the spotlight when major changes happen in the industry.

3.  Sales figures and awards don’t correlate – so don’t stress about winning Caldecotts any time soon. 

4.  Librarians are Twittering!!   And so is Mo Willem’s pigeon.  And after this talk, so will a lot of little old lady writers.  

5.  Teens rule.  

- ABE