Children's publishers are serving up a fall season of titles by major authors, with big print runs and extensive marketing campaigns. Here is a listing of some of the more prominent titles that booksellers are likely to be selling, in the runup to Christmas.
James Patterson is best-known for his megaselling adult thrillers, but come November 1, children will also learn his name, when Little, Brown Books for Young Readers releases santaKid, Patterson's first picture book. Little, Brown is printing 500,000 copies of the book and is putting a whopping $1 million marketing campaign behind it. National television and print advertising is in place, a 12-copy floor display is available and a kit for retailers includes a countdown to Christmas calendar, hats, posters, invitation postcards, and coloring and activity sheets.
The book will also get a publicity boost on December 11, which has been designated by the publisher as santaKid Day. Booksellers can enter to win an appearance by Santa on that day by answering questions about how they would promote the event at www.santa-kid.com. Other publicity efforts include an author tour and a TV satellite tour. As an added bonus, this holiday season the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City will be based on santaKid.
Peter and the Starcatchers by
Dave Barry and
Ridley Pearson may well be Hyperion's biggest book of the season, both literally, in that it is 464 pages long, as well as in the fact that the publisher is putting a $300,000 marketing campaign behind this prequel to Peter Pan and printing 500,000 copies.
The authors, who normally write separately for adult readers, decided to try a children's book collaboration after Pearson's daughter asked how Peter met Captain Hook during a nighttime reading of Peter Pan. Barry agreed to co-write the book with his Rock Bottom Remainders band mate because they both wanted something that they could share with their young children.
As for the marketing push, the publisher has launched a dedicated Web site for the book, www.peterandthestarcatchers.com; a 12-copy floor display is available; and national advertising will be included in the New York Times Book Review, USA Today and People, among other outlets. Barry and Pearson will be making an appearance on the Today show September 14 to promote the book, and began a 12-city tour last week, which includes Miami; New York City; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and Denver.
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis began her career as a children's book author in 1993 with the publication of When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth, illustrated by Laura Cornell (HarperCollins/ Cotler), which sold 800,000 copies. Curtis currently has five other picture books under her belt and has just published a seventh, It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel, which hit bookstores on September 7 with a 750,000-copy first printing.
It's Hard to Be Five began receiving attention when the publisher distributed bright orange T-shirts at the children's breakfast at BEA, where Curtis was one of the event's three speakers. Posters with classroom activities printed on the back were also given out during the show.
HarperCollins has also prepared an assortment of floor and counter displays, shelf talkers and a retail event kit. The book will be promoted online at jamieleecurtisbooks.com, lauracornellbooks.com and harperchildrens.com, where there will be a sweepstakes. Foxmoviechannel.com will also be featuring a sweepstakes for the book; the winner will receive books, posters and T-shirts. Last week Curtis also embarked on a five-city author tour, with stops in New York City; Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago; San Jose, Calif.; and Los Angeles.
Actress Marlo Thomas is no stranger to book publishing; she has a bestselling children's book under her belt (Free to Be You and Me, 1974) and an adult book first released in 2002 and now out in paperback (The Right Words at the Right Time, Atria). Her latest title, Thanks & Giving All Year Long (S&S), will be published on November 2 with a 200,000-copy first printing, to coincide with the national initiative, Thanks & Giving Day, which takes place on November 26.
Thomas will make stops in New York and Los Angeles to promote the book, with an appearance on the Today show on November 16 to kick off the tour. A $150,000 marketing campaign is also behind the book, with national media, consumer advertising, cross-promotions with partners for Thanks & Giving Day and extra co-op available. All royalties from the sale of the book will be given to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which her father, Danny Thomas, founded in 1962.
Cornelia Funke, the German author whose breakout hit The Thief Lord made her a U.S. household name in 2002, followed up her success last year with the release of Inkheart. The Thief Lord has a combined (hardcover and paperback) in-print number of 1.4 million, and Inkheart boasts 320,000 hardcover copies in print. The author returns this month with a third fantasy novel, Dragon Rider (Scholastic/Chicken House). First published in Germany in 1997, Dragon Rider has been Funke's most successful book overseas. The first printing here, of 150,000 copies, has already been increased, as Scholastic has gone back to press for another 25,000.
To get the word out about the new title, the publisher distributed thousands of advance reading copies and created a poster, die-cut dragon bookmarks and easelback displays for 1,300 Book Sense accounts. On the publicity front, Funke will be hosting a live Web chat on October 4 at 1 p.m. at http://www.scholastic.com/titles/authors/Cornelia_funke.htm. She'll also be touring the country, making stops in New York City, Boston (where she's a speaker at the NEBA trade show), Detroit (where she's a speaker at GLBA), Chicago and Los Angeles.
Guess How Much I Love You by
Sam McBratney and
Anita Jeram has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide since its original hardcover release in 1995. The story has subsequently appeared as a board book, a big book, a clothbound sweetheart edition, a padded baby book and a board book with plush. It has been printed in 37 languages and eight dual-language editions. Now, nine years later, the duo has collaborated again, on a new picture book due out next month. You'reAll My Favorites tells of a mother and father bear, who reassure their three little bears that each one is their favorite.
To promote the new title, Candlewick has created a set of three mini plush bears to be sold separately and has designed a 10-copy floor/counter display and a 12-copy mixed book and mini—plush bear display. An ad will appear in the New York Times Book Review and extensive account-specific promotions are planned. Candlewick had set a first printing of 100,000 copies, but has gone back to press for an additional 35,000. Publicity will continue into the spring of 2005, when a 10th-anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You will be published.
Newbery Medalist Christopher Paul Curtis is spreading his wings a bit with his new book, Bucking the Sarge (Random House/Lamb), due out September 14 with a 100,000-copy first printing. Curtis is well-known for his middle grade historical novels The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 and Bud, Not Buddy, but his latest venture is a young adult novel set in contemporary times.
A large marketing plan is in place, which began with the distribution of 3,500 galleys and an autographing appearance by Curtis at BEA. Future plans include advertising in USA Today and the New York Times, a postcard insert in Weekly Reader and a new author Web site (www.christopherpaulcurtis.com). Two displays are also being offered: a 12-copy floor and a mixed display that includes Bud, Not Buddy, which is new this season in a mass market paperback.
Curtis will head out on a 12-city national tour with stops in Boston; New York City; Cleveland, Ohio; Nashville; Houston; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Salt Lake City; San Francisco; Seattle; Washington, D.C. (where he'll attend the National Book Festival); Phoenix, Ariz.; and Indianapolis, Ind. (for NCTE).
Madonna returns this November with her fourth picture book, The Adventures of Abdi. The worldwide on-sale date is set for November 8, and 250,000 copies are being printed. The story follows a boy named Abdi, who must deliver a precious necklace to the queen.
While Madonna won't be touring for the book, there will be floor displays, posters and window banners to mark the publication. A slipcase edition of her first three books will also be available.
Madonna's first two titles debuted at number one on the New York Times children's picture book list as well as PW's list, and her third title debuted in the top 10 on both lists. In total, the three titles have more than 2.5 million copies in print worldwide.
Robert Sabuda, the pop-up impresario, has previously breathed new life into the classic titles Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Night Before Christmas and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. His works have sold more than two million copies combined and have topped the New York Times and PW bestseller lists.
In his new book, America the Beautiful (S&S/Little Simon), Sabuda focuses on the American landscape, featuring spreads depicting everything from the Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Rushmore to the Statue of Liberty. S&S has set a laydown date of October 19 and a first printing of 225,000 copies.
Sample spreads from the book were distributed at BEA; a $200,000 marketing campaign includes floor displays with removable risers and extra co-op. National publicity begins on September 19, when Sabuda makes his fourth appearance on the Today show.
Mo Willems first made a splash on the children's book scene last year with his Caldecott Honor—winning picture book Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (Hyperion). This spring saw the release of a sequel, The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog; combined in-print numbers for the pigeon books exceed 250,000 copies. Excitement for Willems's September picture book, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, is running high, as is evident by the growing print numbers. Hyperion scheduled a first printing of 75,000, and has gone back to press for another 35,000 and then 50,000 copies more, for a combined pre-pub printing of 160,000.
Knuffle Bunny, about a father who takes his young daughter to the Laundromat and accidentally loses her favorite stuffed animal, is based on a similar event with the author and his daughter. The marketing for the book will center on a "Have You Seen Knuffle Bunny?" campaign that launches in October in several major cities, with posters and buttons. A story-time event kit, which includes a hide-and-seek Knuffle Bunny, will be available for booksellers, and extra co-op will be offered. Willems will be heading out to promote the title on a nine-city tour to New York City; Seattle; San Francisco; Raleigh, N.C.; Chicago; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville; Philadelphia; and Washington, D.C.
Janell Cannon has created beloved characters from usually not-so-cuddly creatures like a bat and a python snake. Stellaluna was a breakout hit for her in 1993; she followed that title up with four more picture books: Verdi, Crickwing, Little Yau and Trupp. Sales of her previous books top 1.7 million copies, with Stellaluna selling over 1.3 million copies in its various editions.
This month, Harcourt is releasing Cannon's latest story, Pinduli, about a hyena in the African savanna, with a first printing of 125,000. Her publisher prepared a marketing plan with a many-pronged approach, to reach the various markets Cannon's work appeals to. For retailers, an eight-copy display, which will ship with a full-color poster, will be available. A teacher/activity kit has been put together for those stores that hold educator events. For librarians and teachers, a classroom kit has been created, which includes the poster, a curriculum guide, activities, an author bio as well as other items.
Topping off the plans are an author tour, with 17 tour stops, including New York City; Memphis; Chicago; Milwaukee, Wis.; the San Francisco Bay Area; and nine Southern California events.
Pop-up books and Stephen King aren't usually mentioned in the same sentence, but come this fall, Little Simon hopes to make it a common occurrence with the release of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon: A Pop-up Book (text adaptation by Peter Abrahams, illustrations by Alan Dingman and paper engineering by Kees Moerbeek). A laydown date of October 12 has been set, with a first printing of 250,000 copies; an additional small printing of limited-edition signed copies will be available. S&S is putting a $250,000 marketing campaign behind the book, with national print ads, two floor displays and extra co-op. King's 1999 YA novel of the same name was a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, a nominee for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement and has sold more than three million copies in the U.S.
Another adult thriller writer making his children's book debut this fall is Philip Kerr, who will be using the name P.B. Kerr when he publishes Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure (Orchard) in October. Kerr's novel, which has a 150,000-copy first printing, is the first in a planned trilogy about twins who find out they are descended from a long line of djinni and have the power to grant wishes.
Buzz for this book has been building for some time; news of Scholastic's acquisition of the trilogy in a seven-figure deal for world English-language rights was released in
November of 2003. The marketing campaign for the book began at BEA, with a breakfast for booksellers and members of the media, and continues with national trade and consumer advertising.
Scholastic's U.S. and U.K. offices have teamed up for a "Three Wishes for the World" essay contest in which the U.S. grand prize winner get a trip to London, and the U.K. grand prize winner gets a trip to New York City. The author will help publicize the book with a two-week tour in the U.S., hitting cities such as New York City, Boston and Portland, Ore., then heading to the U.K. for stops in London, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
Graeme Base may be best known for his alphabet book, Animalia, but for his new book, Jungle Drums, the artist has shifted his focus to one particular animal: the smallest warthog in the African jungle. The second book in a planned jungle-inspired trilogy, Jungle Drums follows 2001's The Water Hole. Base's U.S. publisher Abrams released the book on September 10 with a first printing of 100,000 and has also reprinted some of his previous titles.
The marketing campaign for the book is named Bang the Drums!; to go along with the theme of the book, Abrams sent out sets of inflatable bongo drums to various accounts. The publisher also created a color poster featuring the book's jacket, which has five reproducible activities on the back.
Base will be touring the country from September 19 to October 24. He will visit 27 cities, 60 bookstores and four libraries, and will attend two conferences. The tour kicks off in Tucson, Ariz. (The Water Hole won the Arizona Library Association's book award for 2003), and ends in the Bay Area, with appearances at Kepler's, Storyteller, Rakestraw Books, Hicklebee's and Book Passage.
David Shannon's defiant, semi-autobiographical character, David, earned the artist a Caldecott Honor for the 1998 picture book No, David! The youngster went on to star in two follow-ups: David Goes to School and David Gets in Trouble. All three titles earned top spots on PW's children's bestseller list, and their combined sales figure is 956,000. Now, Shannon has turned his eye to his daughter and has written a story based on her antics. Due in October with a 120,000-copy first printing is Alice the Fairy (Scholastic/Blue Sky), about a girl whose magic wand helps her out in all sorts of situations.
Scholastic is giving the title a big marketing push, with national trade and consumer advertising, a poster mailing to Book Sense stores, conventions and parenting events. A counter display is also available. Shannon will be heading out on tour to seven cities this fall, appearing in New York City; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Austin, Tex.; Dallas; Houston; and San Diego, Calif. He will also be participating in the National Book Festival on October 9.
Ursula K. Le Guin, who has earned countless awards for her many books, brings readers her first YA book in 14 years with this month's release of Gifts (Harcourt). Le Guin has written over three dozen books and received a Newbery Honor award for the second volume of her Earthsea Cycle, The Tombs of Atuan. The author has also won the National Book Award, the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement and five Nebula Awards. Gifts has a first printing of 75,000 copies; to coincide with its publication, Harcourt will be releasing a new paperback edition of Le Guin's 1976 classic Very Far Away from Anywhere Else.
The publisher began spreading the word about the book earlier this year with a small run of galleys available at ALA Midwinter. Soon after that, advance readers' copies were available for a wider distribution. Additional marketing efforts include a poster for both the retail and institutional markets and advertising in consumer outlets, regional holiday catalogues, and science fiction and fantasy magazines.
Novelist Nancy Farmer has received three Newbery Honor awards: in 1995 for The Ear, the Eye and the Arm; in 1997 for A Girl Named Disaster; and last year for The House of the Scorpion (which also won the National Book Award). Now Farmer turns her attention to the year 793 and takes readers onto the high seas. The Sea of Trolls (Atheneum/Jackson), published on September 1 with a 100,000-copy first printing, is a Viking adventure tale that centers on Jack and his little sister, Lucy, who are enslaved by Olaf One-Brow and his shipmate Thorgil.
The publisher is putting a $150,000 marketing campaign behind the 480-page book; it includes distribution of advance readers' copies and an e-mail footer campaign, a nine-copy floor display, bookmarks, a Web site devoted to the book (simonsayskids.com/seaoftrolls.com), reading group guides and consumer and institutional advertising. Extra promotional co-op allowance is also available for retailers.
Hyperion has a new fantasy trilogy debuting next month: The Ratastrophe Catastrophe by
David Lee Stone is the first book in the Illmoor Chronicles and is loosely inspired by the classic Pied Piper story.
The young author has been creating the world of Illmoor since he was 10. He threw out his manuscript one day when he was 21, and his mother fished it out of the garbage and sent it to a woman at the Ed Victor Agency in London. Hodder Children's Books went on to publish Stone's book four years later, and it has sold more than 30,000 copies in the U.K. since last June.
Hyperion has an aggressive 100,000 copies planned for its first printing; marketing efforts include participation in the Book Sense white box mailing, advertising in trade publications and a dedicated Web site for the book.
Be on the lookout for more news about fall titles in a few weeks, when we focus on big sequels and companion books.