by Victoria Bennion
Well, there’s never been a better time to get in to writing children’s books. According to the Bookseller children’s books account for 30% of the UK publishing market.
The first Harry Potter book was published in 1997 and the popularity of children’s books hasn’t waned in the subsequent twenty years. Many of the children’s sections in bookshops have been enlarged in recent times to accommodate the plethora of fabulous children’s books now available. (You can often spot this by the tell tale change in carpet half way through the section in some stores.)
Another sign of the rise of children’s books: The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge, won the overall Costa Book of the Year. It’s just the second children’s books ever to have done so.
The almighty Philip Pullman was the first in 2001. (Tell that to anyone who asks you when you’re going to write a serious book – and trust me someone will at some point.)
Children aren’t the only readers of children’s books. Although Young Adult books are aimed at teenagers many adults read them too.
According to research carried out by Publishers Weekly 55% of YA books are bought by over 18s (mostly for themselves.)
I was 31 when I bought Twilight by Stephenie Meyer to read during a trip to Mauritius. We were there for a friend’s wedding but every spare minute I had my head in that book.
It seemed like fate when I found sequels New Moon and Breaking Dawn in the hotel gift shop and put my suitcase over the limit to lug the tomes home!
However, despite all the success children’s books have experienced in recent years, did you know they get poor coverage in newspapers? Coverage that is not representative of the amount of book sales?
Children’s author S F Said carried out a campaign #Coverkidsbooks to encourage more book reviews and coverage by the media to help readers (and their parents) navigate the treasure trove of children’s books.
Another great thing about children’s books is that you can find them, and write them, in every genre imaginable from fantasy to historical fiction. Former Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman, breaks them down here
Writing children’s books is brilliant fun! And the children’s publishing industry is full of the loveliest people who all share a love of children’s books.
So, what are you waiting for?
There are some great groups where you’ll find plenty of support. I belong to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) which is the international professional organisation for writers and illustrators of children’s literature. It didn’t cost a lot to join and they put on lots of workshops and events for members which are free of charge.
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