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Publisher Spotlight: Ripple Grove Press

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Each season, when the in-house and field sales reps sit down for our bi-annual sales conference (a bookish marathon if there ever was one), a highlight is always getting to see what gorgeous illustrations and beautiful stories Ripple Grove Press has in store for us. That’s why, after last week’s sales conference, we decided to sit down with Ripple Grove Press President, Rob Broder, to talk about how far they’ve come in the five short years since they first opened their doors.

IPG: How did Ripple Grove Press get its start?

Rob Broder, President, Ripple Grove Press: We started Ripple Grove Press in 2013 because we have a passion for well-told and beautifully illustrated picture books. Though we had no previous experience in publishing, we came to this process wanting to meet talented authors and illustrators and make books. We did as much research as we could reading books, websites, and blogs like IBPA, subscribing to PW, joining SCBWI, and talking with people in the industry. Then we took the plunge and opened submissions. We signed our first story, The Gentleman Bat, almost immediately and then the ball was rolling from there to started our press.

IPG: What differentiates Ripple Grove Press from other publishing companies?

Rob: We are an independent family-owned children’s picture book press.  It is just my wife, Amanda, and I running the entire press. We work closely with our authors and illustrators to create a very collaborative environment for the process of making a book. We read every submission that comes in and we delight in finding first time authors or illustrators that have passion and have been waiting for their opportunity to work on a book.

Four out of our five titles in 2018 are from first time authors and illustrators, and the other is by Jami Gigot, whose first book we published in 2015.

IPG: Your illustrations are absolutely stunning. What is your process for matching your stories with the right illustrator?

Rob: Once we find a story we’re excited about, we immediately start talking about what style can we see for the book; be it sketchy or cartoony or intricately detailed; watercolor and ink or collage or digital. Then we go through the hundreds of portfolios and postcards we have received over the years to see if a specific artist’s style resonates with us.

We like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators artist portfolios; we’ve found a few illustrators there. We also talk with the author about the style they see for their work, coming back to the collaborative process we offer.

IPG: What do our readers need to know about your books?

Rob: Our mission has stayed the same since day one. We try to create books that have a timeless feel.  We know and understand that a good picture book will be read countless times, so we want our books to stand the test of time and be good enough to read every day, hoping the child is left engaged, wondering, and smiling.

IPG: In your opinion, how has the publishing industry at large changed over the years?

Rob: We feel there is a lot more support for small publishers between publisher groups and organizations. Booksellers are realizing that great works can come from smaller presses. And we are getting more submissions from published authors and illustrators looking to work with us.

IPG: What do you think are the benefits of independent publishing? The drawbacks?

Rob: The benefits are that we get to work closely with amazing writers and artists to create books that might not be found by the bigger presses.

The drawbacks are trying to reach booksellers and customers in a market flooded with big names and flashy covers. We are always having to go above and beyond to get our press, books, and authors and illustrators noticed.

IPG: Where do you see Ripple Grove Press in five years?

Rob: We see Ripple Grove Press continuing our mission to create beautiful and timeless picture books.  We hope to increase the number of books we release each season to reach as many stores, libraries, and families as possible.

 

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