The World of Children's Book Publishing

Date: Saturday, November 14th, 2009 Time: 10:20 AM - 5:00 PM

Speaker: Alvina Ling

10:20 SCBWI Tokyo Opening Remarks

10:30-11:15 My Path to Publishing; Your Path to Publication
Alvina Ling will share the story of how she became an editor, from childhood influences to a methodical plan, and will offer advice to writers on their paths to publication. She 'll provide an inside view of an editor's office, and will share mistakes to avoid in the quest to be published, tips for getting out of the slush pile, and her take on the importance of diversity in both the books that are published and the people who make them.

11:30-12:15 Thinking Like Your Editor
Learn what goes on inside a publishing house through the eyes of a children's editor with ten years' experience. Ling will share a behind-the-scenes view of the publishing process and the challenges and editor has to deal with on a day-to-day basis. She will discuss tips on how to work with an editor through the editorial, production, and marketing stages. Lunch

Break Lunch will not be served. Please bring lunch or join other writers at one of the many nearby Motomachi cafes.

1:45-2:45 The Realities of Children's Book Publishing in the U.S.
In this talk Ling will explain what children's book publishing in the all about. Included will be insider's information about publishing mechanics that writers might not normally hear about. Ling will cover auctions, profit and loss worksheets, how books are judged after they are published, some negatives of the business, where she thinks publishing is heading, and more—the good, bad, and the ugly of how the business works.

3:00-3:45 Matchmaking: Finding the Perfect Style and Illustrator for a Text
Alvina Ling with Alison Impey, Senior Designer, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
How do publishers match illustrators with text? Ling and Impey will discuss the matchmaking process for picture books, novel covers, and black and white interior illustrations. They'll go over the general procedures at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, and will offer advice on what illustrators can and should do to increase chances of being chosen for a certain project and what role authors play in this process.

4:00-5:00 Final Questions and Answers and SCBWI Tokyo Closing Remarks
Written questions from attendees will be collected prior to this wrap-up Q and A session with Alvina Ling and Alison Impey.

Alvina Ling is a Senior Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she has worked for over ten years. She has also been a bookseller for Barnes and Noble, and interned at the Horn Book and in the children's room of the New York Public Library. She edits children's books for all ages, from picture books to young adult novels, plus some nonfiction. Books she has edited include Eggs by Jerry Spinelli; The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin; Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein, illustrated by Caldecott Award winner Ed Young; Sergio Makes a Splash by Edel Rodriguez, The Curious Garden by Peter Brown; Firegirl by Tony Abbott; North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley, Sound of Colors by Jimmy Liao; Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! The Beatles, Beatlemania, and the Music That Changed the World by Bob Spitz; and The Devouring by Simon Holt. Alvina lives in New York City and contributes to the children's book blog Blue Rose Girls (

Organization: The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Japan (SCBWI)

Cost: SCBWI Members: 5,000 yen
Non-members: 8,000 yen

Venue: Yokohama International School, Middle Building Cafeteria

Location: Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan


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Contact SCBWI


Holly Thompson, SCBWI Tokyo Co-Regional Advisor
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Phone (work): 0467-31-6908