In April, I attended a talk at the London Book Fair aimed at booksellers. The idea was that all the major children’s book publishers had five minutes to talk about their new titles for the forthcoming year. Although it was aimed at booksellers, I got SO MUCH from this talk as a writer. This talk basically mapped UK children’s book publishing in the next year. Keeping up on publishing trends is essential stuff for writers. Map the market and show publishers that your book stands up against the competition.
As I am so nice (although very late with posting!) – here is a summary of what I learnt from the talk.
Picture Books – Publishers joked that they all seemed to have Nicholas Allan books and yes, many of them did! He is hot stuff right now. Royal baby books were also in contention. Digital aspects and interactivity seemed key, and there was a focus on ‘real’ story lines and detailed illustrations across the board.
Middle Grade – All about humour! The success of Diary of a Wimpy Kid was clearly a massive influence in acquisitions this year. Diary-based books with black and white illustrations, funny titles and a main protagonist. Books also had a theme of WW2 and there was a focus on fiction aimed at boys – combining computer games with words. Like it! There were also a few darker, Neil Gaimen-esque 9-11 books – all of which are on my list of books to read…
Faber are expanding and acquiring, and they want in on picture books. If you’re a picture book writer – this is a great time to try Faber!
One of my favourite publishers, Nosy Crow, did a great presentation on the QR codes they’re putting on picture books, linking to free ‘read aloud’ plays with music and sound.
Templar, who are publishing 100 books this year (!), launched a new imprint called Big Picture Press – focusing on well-designed books by a talented team.
I should add that there are some AMAZING books coming out this year – debuts and series. The fact that Zombie books are hitting the lists (I KNEW THEY WOULD!), love stories are staying and debuts are a go, is great news for me and my book (still editing that – long!) Remember to keep your ear to the ground – look at new acquisitions and try to map trends. Especially look at films coming out over the next few years. Children’s book trends follow film trends very closely – why my predictions for zombie books are coming into their own now. I wrote ‘Before I am Buried’ with this in mind. I also wrote it as part of a series after doing some research and speaking to my lovely friend at RHCP.
Hope all this helps! 🙂