NNFN: What is it like working on non-fiction books?

Today’s guest post as part of National Non-Fiction November is brought to you by Emma Dods, Senior Commissioning Editor at Egmont Publishing

What is it like working on non-fiction books?

Discovering that in Oaxaca, Mexico they celebrate an annual festival called Night of the Radishes, where the people dress up as this vegetable and also carve intricate sculptures out of large radishes, and that Bacon perfume was invented in Paris in 1920, are just some of the incredible things I’ve learnt about today while working on a new Egmont non-fiction book, Atlas of Oddities. 

AtlasOdditiesCover (002)

The great thing about being a non-fiction children’s book editor is that no day is ever the same; for example, I might be building a Triceratops model for a photo shoot one morning and then liaising with authors, consultants and designers in the afternoon to ensure a sewage treatment plant cross section is accurate! My job involves researching topics, developing new ideas, editing books, writing compelling cover copy, checking titles are running to budget and on schedule, brainstorming new ideas with the creative team, our authors and illustrators, and always being on the look out for interesting news stories that could turn into great book ideas. But one thing is certain, my job is always varied and I always have lots of amazing facts to share at dinner parties!

Supported by Egmont’s research initiatives, such as, Reading Street™, our Consumer Segmentations and through working with schools, we know that reading for pleasure is key. Reading is important for education but it brings so many other wonderful benefits to children as well, including comfort, reassurance and happiness. It feeds imagination and helps children learn empathy. And while it’s fantastic that there is so much great fiction available for children, it is vital that there is a range of different books on offer to inspire all children to read. Some children find their way into reading through magazines or comics, some through fiction or their favourite brand or character; for others it can be by discovering a book packed with information and facts about dinosaurs or space travel. And it feels like children’s non-fiction publishing is really being noticed again. It is so encouraging to see non-fiction gift books, such as Maps and Animalium being talked about and getting more space in shops.

It is also wonderful to see the increase in non-fiction picture books covering a wide variety of subjects, such as Tiny: The Invisible World of Microbes, Over and Under the Snow and Gravity. This narrative approach is a great way to introduce non-fiction to children who love fiction and vice-versa. Egmont’s first narrative non-fiction book is Chris Packham’s Amazing Animal Journeys, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft, (publishing in Feb 2016) and it takes children on an epic adventure around the world to discover some of the most incredible animal migrations.


A huge amount of care and love goes into each of our books and the reader is at the heart of the creative process. Our mission with the Red Shed list is to create incredible books that appeal to all children and which make reading and learning fun. We want to spread the joy of reading and showcase just how incredible non-fiction books can be. In 2016 Egmont has a great range of beautiful, interesting and appealing books that will inspire a love of reading in all children and satisfy their thirst for knowledge.

This guest post was provided by Emma Dods. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.


One response to “NNFN: What is it like working on non-fiction books?”

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