Jim Benton is the author and illustrator of more than twenty books. He has generated more than a half billion dollars at retail with “It’s Happy Bunny.” He has a chapter book series called “Franny K Stein,” printed in six languages. I bought some of his books at Barnes & Noble as soon as I got back from the convention. Franny K Stein is really funny! My neice could not get her eyes or hands off the books. I couldn't either! His other series, “Dear Dumb Diary” has had three New York Times bestselling titles and is printed in 15 languages! This book is currently in film development. His presentation was extremely entertaining, fun and informative. He is a genius with his art, licensing, marketing and business.
Notes on his presentation are provided below.
1. The secret of writing is rewriting.
2. You are not your work. This also means that if someone likes your work, it doesn’t mean they like you.
3. Don’t be paralyzed by your stupid idea. LOL!
4. Licensing industry is tight knit and small so you don’t want to get people angry.
5. Properties can become books but books don’t become properties to be licensed.
6. Your editors will make you better writers, if you let them make you better.
7. Draw everyday for fun. If you’re a writer, write everyday for fun.
8. What his editors want to tell writers and illustrators:
A. Editors are always rooting for you.
B. Books don’t platform well into licensing.
C. Normally a book gets made into media (film, TV, etc.) then becomes a product/merchandise.
D. If you are going to get into entertainment, you have to know that you have to collaborate with others (producers, creators, writers, etc.). You have to let your ego go to make the project happen.
9. Jim thinks being an illustrator is better than working a 9-5 job. (I totally agree!!!)