Report – Bagging a Book Deal

Posted on: Wednesday 04 July 2018 3:08pm by Joseph Channon

Do you have a brand or license that you believe is perfect for a children’s book? Find out what publishers are really looking for from our expert panel.


• Whilst an IP can be attractive to publishers due to the promise of a built-in audience, the key thing that appeals is a passionate pitch and a strong polished idea.
• A style guide will be essential in showing how your IP can translate into a book.
• Approximately 15% of published material in a year will be a licensed product.


John Lomas-Bullivant (Kickback Media) introduced a panel from both the publishing and IP owner sides of the licensed publishing business.

Throughout the session there was a recurring theme at the heart of what publishers are looking for – passion. As Karen Ball (Speckled Pen) noted, passion is not something that a pitcher can fake, and it can carry an IP for years. A half-hearted pitch about a project for an existing TV show or video game is not enough. Your IP needs a champion.

Ingrid Selberg (Ingrid Selberg Consulting) emphasized that there needs to be an emotional connection available for the audience to latch onto, especially since other aspects of TV media, such as slapstick comedy, don’t necessarily translate well onto the page.

Angus Killick (Macmillan Children’s Publishing) noted that a common pitfall is to see highly detailed ideas of what the main character will be like, only to then see less than stellar development notes on side characters.

Meanwhile, for Emma Cairns-Smith (Egmont Publishing) a concern with children’s TV IP is the reuse of the same creative teams over and over. She likes to know when there are new and unique voices involved in a project as this tends to lead to innovative content.

Finally, Joshua Davidson (The Night Zookeeper) provided an alternate take on the pitching process by sharing his experience with his project “The Night Zookeeper” and how he was able to build this passion project from being a valued educational tool to licensed book series.

CMC 2018 Blog Event Reports books IP licensing publishing

Joseph Channon

About the author

Joseph Channon

The Walt Disney Company, Programme Planner

Joseph has been working in Children’s TV for over ten years and is currently a Programme Planner in the Disney XD team. He's had the privilege of attending CMC twice before now and will be blogging for it for the first time this year. Read more