News and views from our publisher Roger Priddy

An interview with Roger Priddy

Have you ever wondered what a publisher does? Roger was interviewed by Lisa Trollip at Forts and Fairies and we thought we’d share a taster of that interview with you. 

What’s your favorite thing about creating children’s books that children the world over are enjoying and learning from?

My favorite thing about creating a children’s book is seeing it in their hands, using it and learning something from it. That makes it all worthwhile.

What part of the book creation process do you enjoy the most? Text, illustrations, or concept development etc.

We have a very seamless creative process at Priddy Books. From concept development to text to design to production to sales, they are all as important as the other and I think that is one of the reasons for our success.

Talking to the sales team, booksellers and parents before we even start usually means that we are making something that we know people want. The rest is the easy bit, coming up with the ideas and concept is a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle – you just have to fit the right pieces together.

Then as we shape the project, budgets and time scales have impacts on what you produce so you have to be clever with the manufacturing process to get as much as you can into the book whilst making sure that it is still a price low enough for all to enjoy.

The new “What’s in my…” series looks absolutely amazing. How excited are you to get these new books into kiddies’ hands? I know my children are going to love exploring them.

The “What’s in my…” series has been a lot of fun to work on and I think that comes across in the finished books. They are tough books with great novelties so I think that they will stand up to some wear and tear too. These are based on the type of books that I loved as a kid, simple novelties, simple story, and a bit of hide and seek thrown in. Look out for “Where does pig live?” too.

I love how each Priddy Book includes symbols to show parents what skills the books are encouraging children to develop. What gave you this idea and do you think it sets you apart from other publishers?

The idea was to try to help the parent/carer as much as possible when they are trying to decide what is best for their child. It also makes us think harder about what a child will benefit from, owning one of our books.

You’ve worked in the children’s book industry for many years. What made you want to establish your own publishing house and do you remember your first book?

I wanted to make some money for me rather than other people! I also just wanted to do my own thing. It got very frustrating having to show new ideas to teams of people to get approval when I thought that I knew best (I didn’t but I probably knew a little more than most).

I was very lucky that I learnt from the best. First I learnt about how important the text and explanation of something was from Peter Usborne, and then I learnt how important design was to put all that together in a visual way under Peter Kindersley at DK.

I couldn’t have started it without the other four people who had expertise in other areas that I didn’t have then. We started by working on 27 books almost all at once. There were some very long days and nights back then.

Did you have any idea when you founded Priddy Books in 2000 that you would one day go on to sell over 100 million books around the world in over 35 languages?

Yes of course! There is no point in starting it if you don’t have the confidence that your ideas and designs are better than what is out there… but between you and me, I do have to pinch myself that we have sold that many books whilst having a lot of fun along the way. As my brother says, “It’s not really a proper job, is it”?

You can read the full interview with Roger Priddy on Lisa’s blog, Forts and Fairies.

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