Interview with Evgenia Teleyanova

Interview with the director of the children’s literature publishing house “Sova” Evgenia Tekeyanova.

Why did you decide to connect your life with books?”

Maybe because I love to read? In fact, as soon as I learned to read, I read a lot, was enrolled in the library, and visited there regularly with my friends once every two weeks. And the best gift for me was a brand new book. My childhood was spent in the period of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the formation of independent Ukraine, in this difficult period there were almost no books in stores. And I was very lucky that my mother found the publishing house “Three Elephants”, which produced foreign children’s classics. That’s how I got acquainted with my favorite books: ‘Polyanna,’ ‘Little Princess,’ ‘Secret Garden’ and so on.

And I think the books themselves helped me make an important decision – to go to work in a bookstore when I lost my job and was still studying at university.”

How did the idea of ​​creating your own publishing house come about, who helped and supported?”

The simplest answer to this question: just so the circumstances.

First, the publishing house existed before my work in it. I can tell my story and how I started working there.

My personal motto is never stop, constantly develop and improve yourself. During the first year of work, I grew from a saleswoman to an operator, and then to a book sales manager. And once I got a call and was offered a job in a well-known foreign company as a head of book purchasing. I accepted this offer and worked in this position for about 10 years. It was a great experience, but then I was constantly missing something. The last straw was that the company decided to move employees; I was removed from the book direction and transferred to another. At first, I took it as a challenge that after a period of turbulent change, what I lacked would come. But I couldn’t do without books and quit my job.

I understood one thing: that I wanted to work with books, and the management of the Sova publishing house offered me to become the executive director.”

Why children’s literature?”

All our childhood dreams, I feel that it is in the direction of children’s literature that our publishing house can bring the greatest benefit.

And for me personally, there is no greater joy than reading the reviews of mothers, as they are satisfied with the books, manuals and cards of the publishing house ‘Owl.’”

How do your books differ from those already available on the domestic market?”

“ ‘Owl Publishing House’ is a people united by love for books and inspiration that we want to share. Our goal: to create publications that are interesting in idea and modern in form. This is what sets the publishing house apart from others. Our books help children learn about the world, develop speech and learn English, creatively and creatively prepare for the holidays, dream and seek inspiration together.”

Do you plan to publish any of the modern children’s authors (Ukrainian)?”

We have published books from the ‘First Books’ series with the famous modern Ukrainian author Oksana Lushchevska. This is a good series for young children, but personally I conclude that our reader is more inclined to buy books by foreign authors.”

Is there a book that you just dream of publishing?”

I dream of creating a series of psychological books with a well-known practicing psychologist. So far there is only an idea. Such books are popular abroad, and in our country there is no such literature.”

How do you choose authors and illustrators for collaboration?”

We already have authors and illustrators with whom we constantly cooperate, and for new ones – we usually contact them ourselves, or they write or call us to offer their services. We are already meeting with those who are most interested. Also, at various book fairs, many authors and illustrators ask about work in our publishing house on a publication.”

Who do you consider your biggest competitors in the publishing business?”

There are a lot of publishing houses, our “Owl” is still very small, so all publishing houses that work for the audience from 0 to 10 years, are actually our competitors.”

What books do your children read?”

” ‘The Weak Diary’ and DC comics are my son’s favorite books.”

What are the main qualities of your employees?”

Positivity, responsibility, attentiveness, customer orientation.”

What is the uniqueness of your publishing house and products?”

Our main feature is that all the books and textbooks we make are aimed at child development.”

Tell us about the stages of creating a book?”

I will tell you about the example of our series of creative diaries ‘Happy Book.’

Initially, the idea arose to create a creative diary for girls, in which they could draw, write, and perform various creative tasks. The idea arose immediately with the popularity in the market of the book “Destroy this diary”. We wanted to create our own diary, with a Ukrainian author and illustrator, with more creative tasks (“Destroy this diary has a lot of destructive tasks related to destruction”). Our first task: to be better than the competitor: in quality, price, and creative content. To accomplish this task, we have devised the optimal technical characteristics of the diary. We took the best paper, but reduced the number of pages. After that, they found the author and illustrator. We were very lucky because we managed to release the diary on the wave of popularity. In February, we did not have an illustrator, and in April we presented ‘Happy Book’ at the Book Arsenal. This is the fastest project we’ve ever done.”

Where are your books published?”

At printing houses in Kyiv and Kharkiv. Each of them specializes in a specific format or several formats for which it gives the best price.”

And now such a topical question today as the coronavirus pandemic in general has affected the functioning of your publishing house?”

Oh, the period will be quite difficult, because then all bookstores were closed, so we tried to maximize online sales and promote our social networks. Since during this time the children were at home with their parents, they had to be occupied somehow, they tried to conduct live broadcasts on Instagram for children with English lessons. They also held various competitions to keep them interested.”

How did the demand for your products change during the pandemic?”

It hasn’t changed much, maybe it has decreased a bit due to the closure of bookstores, but we still had a website, and we took orders there.”

How did you collaborate with authors and illustrators during COVID-19?”

Of course, we cooperated with authors and illustrators, but on a remote basis, ie through the Internet, we had work on various novelties and New Year’s books. This preparation began with us immediately after the end of the previous New Year’s season.”

Did you have experience working remotely before the pandemic? What are the pros and cons of remote work?”

In general, we cooperate with all authors by mail, so it was not a problem. Even with our editor, we worked remotely before the pandemic and now we do. That is, nothing much has changed for us, the only thing that closed bookstores and it was a big minus.”

Was it difficult to prepare for the release of new products, working from home?”

It was difficult in the sense that before the pandemic we were all in the same office and could actively communicate, and remotely it is very difficult, but we managed!”

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