New children’s book publisher: Richard Carman interview
Fourth Wall is a brand new children’s book publishing company based in the Wirral. They pride themselves on standing out from most other publishers as they’re looking to grow by looking for brand new material through submissions. Here Stephanie Cox interviews Richard Carman, International Rights Manager.
1) Please can you introduce yourself and give a brief overview of your career.
My name is Richard Carman, and I am International Rights Manager at Fourth Wall Publishing. My first managerial role was at Omnibus Press. From there I was UK Sales Manager for Penguin, then South Africa Sales Manager for Dorling Kindersley, which let to five very happy years as Head of Export. Made redundant when DK went bust, I was a freelance for nearly ten years in Africa working for people like Orion, Walker Books, Kingfisher and Kogan Page, and I joined Award Publications in 2010. I joined Fourth Wall in March of this year.
2) Can you tell us a little bit more about Fourth Wall Books? How did it come about?
Fourth Wall Publishing was originally conceived a few years ago, but the owners’ background led them to found a very successful branding and marketing agency first. We work with some very well-known high street brands as well as a lot of the Premier League football clubs. Fourth Wall Publishing was launched at London Book Fair 2015, and the first ten titles published in the autumn of that year. Our pace picked up this spring, and we’ll be publishing around 50 books a year.
3) What is the most challenging part of your role as International Rights Manager?
A lot of the companies I worked with in the past publish different kinds of books to those that we specialise in, so finding new customers and establishing relationships with them from scratch is probably the most challenging element.
4) What do you enjoy most about your role?
I like people, I like being in a busy team and in a creative environment Because the majority of my colleagues are designers, it’s good to be involved in every book from day one of its creation, and to be able to look up from my desk and see books being developed just across the room. And I love book fairs (anyone in publishing who tells you they don’t are liars), and travelling.
5) What trends are you currently seeing in the children’s book market?
YA fiction continues to be a big pull I think, but really good, contemporary, international-feel illustrations seem to be increasing in popularity. There’ll always be the pull of Disney and big-branded products, but underneath that it’s a healthy market too I think.