Bringing Colour and Creativity to the World of Children’s Books & the Resilience of the Publishing Industry — Vicki Willden-Lebrecht talks to The Telegraph

“Words give you the facts, but images add the emotion” — The Bright Group founder explains what it takes for illustrators and authors to achieve success and commends the resilience of the publishing industry.

The Daily Telegraph has published an interview with Bright MD and Founder, Vicki Willden-Lebrecht in today’s Business section feature, focusing on the agency’s work with it’s thriving illustrators and authors, the resilience of today’s publishing industry and perfectly describing the ethos of the company. It’s a positive, colourful article that gives an insight into the ethos behind creating children’s books, hopefully encouraging more parents to invest in reading with their children.

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You can read the article online here, and below are some excerpts from the article, written by Matthew Caines.

 “This sector is so resilient. It never gave up or chased the quick buck; it focused on good content and the right messaging, which really paid off. The books have just got better and better. It’s a golden era for children’s publishing. It has never been so good.” Vicki Willden-Lebrecht

Vicki describes how The Bright agency has created a platform and a stability from which talented artists can thrive in their career, what she looks for in a picture book, how impactful imagery can be, and about Bright’s in-house technology which has allowed the company to remain boutique, but with a global reach:

The focus on visuals came from the founder’s very early reading habits. ‘I’m very dyslexic, so pictures have always helped me to better understand.’

The firm works closely with its talent, giving them lots of feedback and helping to develop their strongest skills. Bright team members are motivators and mentors.
‘The idea has always been that an artist would have a happier and more successful life represented by us. We work with our artists, we nurture them, so that we can maximise their potential.

Creatives do their best work when they’re in a safe place, listened to, and actively collaborating.’ The goal, she explains, is when an artist feels confident and able to produce his or her best work, while taking on board what a publisher wants. ‘It’s about creative minds working together and having fun — that’s when brilliant books are made.’

The key to a successful children’s picture book

The agency’s approach to books that it gets behind comes down to ‘having an awareness of family trends — but it’s the child (the reader) who must be the first and final thought. Children don’t suffer a bad story — and you can’t bluff it with bells and whistles.’

The book has to succeed on the merit of the tale, where in some respects, authors and illustrators have a license to be creative. ‘The wonderful thing about (readers) under five is that everything can exist. Older than six and they start to question things, but at three, we can go to the jungle or the moon.’

It’s a story’s message and sentiment where things must be more nuanced. The founder gives the example of today’s increasingly diverse society. ‘What I’m not looking for is a book about refugees — those literal stories. But what I am looking for is a book about acceptance. Books can’t be too preachy, but their impact also shouldn’t be underestimated. I’m not saying these books will create world peace, but they do equip children with the tools to deal with future issues better than our generation.’

On technology

The agency’s approach to technology is also worth shouting about. ‘When we launched our website in 2003, it was actually very advanced’, says the founder, who describes a time when people were still biking physical portfolios across the capital. ‘We’ve never stopped advancing with technology.’

For example, the company created it’s own software, called Sparklebox which manages each of the company’s projects and deals, plus its royalties, rights, commissions and artwork. ‘It powers the whole business — people are quite surprised to see 24 people in our UK office, because of the scale of what we do, but it’s because tech has enabled us to automate and streamline so much.’

The resilience of the publishing industry

Outside of the business however, technology has been a threat. ‘[The sector] was genuinely frightened when the tablet came along; we all thought that we would never print a word ever again’

‘This sector is so resilient. It never gave up or chased the quick buck; it focused on good content and the right messaging, which really paid off.’

‘The books have just got better and better. It’s a golden era for children’s publishing. It has never been so good.’

For more information please contact: The Bright Group’s Marketing and communications:
Lucy Mayer
General office: +44 (0) 207 326 9140