Handling High-Profile Book Deals: Q&A with Kate Jackson, Senior Vice President, Associate Publisher and Editor-In-Chief, HarperCollins Children’s Books
EXTRA: How did the opportunity occur to sign first lady Laura Bush, and Jenna Bush to write a children’s book?
JACKSON: We have developed a strong relationship with Jenna Bush during the development of her forthcoming title “Ana’s Story,” and so we were delighted when she and Mrs. Bush came to us with the idea for their picture book.
EXTRA: What tips or advice do you have for book publishing executives who aren’t used to working with high-profile authors?
JACKSON: Understand that they have complex schedules and that you will have to be patient and creative while working on the book. But, it is also important to remember that celebrity will only drive a book so far. At the core you need a well-written, well-edited, well-marketed project in order to be as successful as possible.
EXTRA: What challenges arise when there is a bidding war between publishers for high-profile talent?
JACKSON: As with any competitive project, the important thing is to pay what the project is worth to the company and not to get caught up in the thrill of the chase. It needs to be lucrative and sensible for the publisher, and every project has a level of expense that needs to be kept in mind.
EXTRA: What are some of the advantages on the marketing/advertising side of signing someone as prominent as Laura and Jenna Bush to a book deal?
JACKSON: The fact that there will be keen media interest in Mrs. Bush and Jenna Bush will have a dramatic impact on the public’s awareness of their book, which of course is a terrific advantage. There are so many great books published and often the biggest obstacle is simply getting readers to be aware of them.