PUBLISHER SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW: KIM MUNGCAL, JET BLACK PUBLISHING
Welcome Kim Mungcal, Publisher Jet Black Publishing in Australia, focusing on children’s picture and story books with a moral lesson.
“Jet Black Publishing is a publishing house dedicated to delivering inspirational and inventive stories to children and young adults. We are driven to create stories that will give children a sense of purpose, a moral lesson and overall enjoyment. We wish to inspire a thirst for adventure and to help unlock children’s potential through their imaginations. ‘Family’ and ‘community’ are integral to our creative processes and underpin the products we deliver. We strongly believe that children are shaped by their communities. Together we can help guide children down paths less taken and on journeys of discovery to a greater future.”
Kim, what prompted you to get into publishing and why children’s book publishing in particular?
I always enjoyed drawing and writing. I’ve liked picture books as I’m a visual person. I set up my own publishing company initially to publish my own books, but found that helping others storytellers get their books produced as even more enjoyable.
Please tell us about your campaign and program to bring a monetary percent of each book sale to the ALNF?
Aligning with a charity/foundation meant that Jet Black books would not only help kids enjoy reading, but would help give underprivileged kids access to books. (The sale price of each eBook is divided in the following way: A shared 30% goes to the author and illustrator of the book, 60% goes to Jet Black Publishing and 10% goes to the Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation.)
What was one of the most surprising things you learned your first year as a publisher?
As a publisher I learnt that it’s better to create a community of creative storytellers who all have passion. I was surprised just how generous people were with their time and efforts.
Do you hear from fans and readers of the published books much (perhaps via your authors or illustrators) ?
We’ve had great positive feedback from our community. People have really enjoyed the books and appreciate the effort that’s gone into creating them.
In your mind what are the top three components that make a great children’s book?
A great story, an inspiring moral lesson and beautiful art.
How do you divide your time between the books you have in development / the marketing and PR for the ones newly released / and what lessons have you learned to make this process make sense and run day to day more smoothly?
I run Jet Black as a part-time job. I’ve set certain days for emails, book production and miscellaneous tasks. We’re now moving into a phase where we’ll focus more on social media to help support our existing catalogue of books.
What has been the toughest or most challenging aspect of being a publisher? What has been the most successful and rewarding aspect of being a publisher
Toughest part has been all the legalities and setting up the business. Most successful and rewarding are all the great people I get to work and interact with.
How do you market your books and how much of this role revolves around yourself as the publisher and how much is a combo of author / illustrator participating in marketing? What avenues of marketing have you found to work BEST for your genre?
We’ve been mainly focused on social media marketing, however, we need to do more to get Jet Black out there. I’ve been going out to local schools and libraries (although there’s quite a lot of red tape to get through there). We’re looking to approach childcare centres and mothers groups. We’re working on other strategies and since we’re an unorthodox company, a lot of our strategies can be very experimental.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers & illustrators who seek to work with Jet Black Publishing on future book endeavors?
To authors I would advise having a manuscript that’s 99-100% complete. A manuscript that requires only a little editing will get published a lot faster! Also make sure your stories inspire kids to become great people.
To illustrators I would advise having an organised portfolio and perhaps an idea of their schedule. It’s good to know when you can and can’t work.
What significant objectives are you currently working on and what goals are you setting for Jet Black Publishing in the next 5 years?
We’re currently working towards getting our existing catalogue to Print-on-demand. This will broaden our reach on a global scale and give our customers the opportunity to purchase printed copies. In 5 years I would like to see Jet Black as the hub for creative storytelling and children’s books.
Where can readers and fans find out more about Jet Black Publishing and pick up an ebook?
FROM THE EDITOR
“When I was very young, my mother used to read to me bed time stories before I’d fall asleep. She had a thick book called ‘366 Bedtime Stories: A Story for Every Day of the Year’ and would read one each night; two if I could persuade her. The stories took me on great adventures and left me dreaming of far away places. It formed the wild imagination I have today and is a source of inspiration and courage I use for day to day. With all my heart I can honestly say that they were the fondest memories I have as a child with a loving mother that only hoped for the best in me.”