Thursday, April 4, 2013

Interview With Carol Chu

I found a fantastic resource through a LinkedIn contact, which anyone hoping to work in children's books or publishing should take advantage of. has a whole stockpile of interviews with art directors, publishers, and editors available to view on their website. Unfortunately the interviews are not dated, so I can't say how old these interviews are or if the people interviewed are even in that same position still, but this can be a helpful resource to get a general picture about how to approach an art director or publisher.

The very first interview I read, and connected with, was with Carol Chu as the art director of the children's trade division at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:

*Interview with Carol Chu*

Some highlights that I found especially useful:

On keeping your focus and going after your goals: "At every fork in the road, I took the path which eventually led me here."

What she looks for when viewing illustrator submissions: "The portfolios which get passed around have a distinct voice/vision and we send them around to everyone in the design department. I would rather see a portfolio with a strong point of view which might not be right for a lot of books than a middle-of-the-road functionally competent portfolio which can be forgettable and generic."

On whether she prefers working with established pros or new talent: "I care about meeting deadlines and clear communication between me and the illustrator... I prefer working with someone whose QUALITY is consistent."

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