Associate Publisher, Five Mile Press
How did you enter the world of children's publishing and can you elaborate on your subsequent rise to the position of Associate Publisher at Five Mile?
I did a modern languages degree and as I couldn't find a job I did a secretarial course which led to a job as assistant to the Marketing Director in an Australian publishing company in London. From here I became Rights Manager and basically learnt on the job. We moved to Australia and I tried to get into publishing in Melbourne - becoming assistant to the Marketing Director yet again! I stayed with the same company for 10 years and did a variety of jobs from product management, publicity, trade marketing and subsequently publishing - learning as I went along. After this, I left and did two purely sales jobs selling books into Asia Pacific and finally I joined The Five Mile Press as Associate Publisher.
In 2006, The Five Mile Press acquired Brimax Publications. How has this strengthened your lists and what prompted this acquisition?
Brimax was already part of the Bonnier Publishing Group, to which Five Mile belonged. We simply transferred the workload from the UK to Australia as we felt that with our mass market background we would be the most appropriate company in the group to drive the sales forward.
On average, how many children's books does Five Mile produce per year and who do you regard as your closest competitor?
We product around 200 a year. Our closest competitor is Hinkler Books in our local market
Do you look for illustrators able to provide digital images?
Not specifically, no.
Do you work with many illustrators/authors from outside Australia?
No we don't.
Five Mile Press recently attended the Bologna Children's Book Fair. How important is this event to you and why?
This is one of the most important shows for us. Our export business is extremely strong and we print co-editions of our material in anything up to 27 languages.
Within the last couple of years, which children's book has been the most successful for Five Mile Press and why?
We tend to produce series of books and over the last couple of years we have had two series which have been very successful for us: The Enchanted Doll's House series and the 'When I'm Feeling ...' series of picture books.
Of the titles you have been personally responsible for, which one are you most proud of and why?
I feel quite strongly that all our books are a team effort so this is a hard question. I'm more proud of the fact that our team can produce so many good quality books.
What (if anything) would make you not want to work with a particular illustrator?
I suppose the most difficult thing is if the illustrator does not understand or follow the brief required.
What can we expect from Five Mile Press in 2008?
More ambitious paper engineered books in the gift area, more activity books, a little more fiction.
What is your all-time favourite children's book and why?
Treasure Island because it was the very first book which really gave me the sense of being totally engulfed in a book and made me want to have that feeling again.