As it happens, when I met Kristin Norell at the Frankfurt Book Fair, she said to me, “You’ve caught me just literally 30 days into the job.” So first things first: we can congratulate this gal for landing her dream job!
Speaking to an Int’l Sales Director at a publishing firm means getting to sit down with someone who understands the book market from a very different perspective than anyone else in this business.
Chronicle Books (based in San Francisco) publishes about 100 storybooks per year and works with about 70 illustrators on various projects, including adult novels, novelty items and games.
Since she just started with Chronicle Books, I asked Kristin Norell what she thought of jumping right into the thick of things, attending the Frankfurt Buchmesse within her first month. “This is the premier event in the international world,” she explained, adding that it’s really just expected of her.
All of the Chronicle Books distributors and representatives come to Frankfurt, so “…it’s great to put faces together,” after so many emails. “Thirty minutes face-to-face you can get so much more done,” says Norell.
I know that some of her coworkers must envy her visit, because each year when the Buchmesse is running, Chronicle Books employees who couldn’t come have Frankfurter Days back in San Francisco. They eat hotdogs.
The Buchmesse isn’t just about business. “Personal connection means a lot,” say Norell. “It’s great to connect with people and then ask about their families.” I hear this from almost everyone at the book fair. It’s about making long-term relationships, not just signing contracts.
Once a book is published by Chronicle for US distribution, it’s Norell’s responsibility to make it as globally accessible as possible. So she understands the international trends. She shared with me some interesting observations.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of growth in the children’s market – especially the Asian market.”
“Brazil was strong in the past but there’s a recent drop because of the Zika Virus.”
YA & Ebooks at Chronicle Books???
“Some titles are available in e-form, like YA novels,” Norell mentioned. This surprised me, and if you’re familiar with Chronicle’s Back List, you must be too.
YA is something new that Chronicle is trying. “We have a few YA novels on the market.” But the publisher is very picky about the genre and theme of their books.
Chronicle’s focus is still the high-quality printed book and novelty item, what has been their trademark from the beginning and distinguishes their catalogue from other publishers.
“This is my dream job,” says Norell. I totally believe her. She moved to San Francisco from Chicago to accept her new position, and doing so even brings her closer to family based in Washington State. Norell’s previous job was with World Book as VP of International Sales.
Once a book is published by Chronicle for US distribution, it’s Norell’s responsibility to make it as globally accessible as possible.
What happens before that?
Submitting to Chronicle Books
What Norell said in closing is, “Chronicle is collaborative and creative. We love our writers, we love our readers.”
Chronicle Books does still accept submissions directly from artists and writers. For their complete Submissions Guidelines go HERE. The publisher is always looking for adult fiction and nonfiction, fantastic artist portfolios and kids books. Now, they’re also interested in YA novels.
If you’re submitting an illustrated storybook, that particular department only accepts snail mail submissions. Currently, Chronicle is sent 12,000 storybook manuscripts per year.
Chronicle Books, Children’s
680 Second Street
San Francisco, California 94107
Keep creating, no matter what.