Jennifer Loakes, the author of a picture book with a very topical story about making friends with someone who comes from a completely different culture and who has been wounded by trauma.
Helene Magisson, an illustrator who really did her industry homework, saw a niche in the market for illustrating classic children's stories, prepared her portfolio accordingly and now has a published picture book and at least 2 more in the pipeline. Her online portfolio at Illustrators Australia sells her abilities (better than her website does), and is a portfolio worth studying.
Georgie Donaghey, the author of a picture book, founder of Creative Kids Tales , the momentum behind the radio show 'The Author's Shelf', and the official CYA Conference Tweeter.
Why did their publishers think their work would sell? It is a commercial decision, and if a publisher can't see a sizable market for the proposed book then there won't be a contract.
For Jennifer's 'Mate and Me' there is an obvious market in primary schools looking for resources to help children think through asylum seeker issues, and the skills needed to welcome any new student who comes to the classroom from a different culture.
For Helene her consistent style, technical quality, compositional ability and lyrical approach were what a publisher was looking for in an illustrator for new editions of 'stood the test of time' children's stories. Classics like 'The Velveteen Rabbit' will always sell, but they will sell magnificently well if the illustrations are just right.
For Georgie her social media reach is so extensive and her personal connections so friendly and helpful that just about any book with her name on it would sell due to our innate human curiosity to find out more about what makes her tick. Having a beautiful cover for 'Lulu' is icing on the cake.
It doesn't take much of a crystal ball to predict that Georgie's book will have the best first year sales figures. Jennifer and Helene's online presences are less than 2 years old. Georgie has 4 years of consistent online presence under her belt, big numbers of media and publishing connections and well over ten times the number of social media connections than the other two.
What can we learn from them?
Perfect your craft be it writing or illustrating. Do your industry research. Start working consistently on your online presences now. An hour or two set aside for social media once a week will pay big dividends when it is your turn to launch a book.
For my conference notes on their journey to publication speeches and an analysis of the effectiveness of their online sites, together with the rest of my conference notes as they progressively get typed up, send me an email address through the Contact page.