These days, picking up a newspaper or turning on your TV is an exercise in courage. Lord only knows what terrible piece of financial news will arise next. And it’s not just some abstract issue that impacts "the big boys". The current economic situation hits each of us, and makes each day its own unique challenge. Set against this backdrop, it’s no wonder that so many writers are pessimistic about the future of publishing, and by extension, their own future as writers. We get it. Really, we do. But enough, already. There are myriad reasons to believe that the sky is not, in fact falling, and that your chances of finding continuing success as a children’s writer remain undiminished. In fact, there’s good reason to believe that those tough enough to hang around and perfect their craft during these times will ultimately be in better shape than they could have possibly imagined. This optimism is not based on hopes, or wishes or fantasy. We have real reasons to tell you not to waver and to have a positive outlook moving ahead. Here they are:
Children’s Books are Still Selling Strongly. According to Publishers Weekly, children’s books "proved to be one of the most recession resistant segments of the book business" throughout the 2008 holiday season. Sales were strong across age groups. Many stores reported increased sales numbers over 2007. It may be lost amidst the gloom and doom on your business page, but children’s books are still selling well.
Children’s Books are Outselling Adult Books. As we write this, the top five overall best-sellers in America, according to USA Today, are children’s/YA books. The Last Straw, the latest installment of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, is number one. The Twilight series claims slots two through five. When children’s books sell, they really sell.
The YA Market is Growing. Twilight isn’t the only YA series selling. Young adult books are hot, and are finding readers far beyond the teen demographic. We’ve heard from a number of publishing sources that the chances of a first time YA author getting published are better now than ever before.
There’s a Reason Lit Agencies are Hiring Agents. Every week we get a press release or an email about another new literary agency, or an agency taking on new reps. If publishers weren’t buying, agents would be out of commissions, and out of a job. The truth: publishers plan their lists two, three or even four years out. The last thing a publisher wants is to be caught short when the economy picks up, and that’s why they’re still actively acquiring books. Agents know that. Now you do, too.
Publishers are Actively Seeking Fresh Voices. If there’s one thing that keeps owners of publishing companies awake at night, it’s not the recession. It’s that they’ll fall behind in reaching a new generation of children and teens, who are growing more and more resistant to "traditional" children’s books. That’s why publishers are so heavily invested in e-publishing, Internet tie-ins, social media and, yes, new authors who bring a more modern, cutting edge approach to their work. There’s never been a better time to take an unconventional tack and present publishers with new and unique manuscripts.
So that’s why we’re optimistic. And that’s why you should be, too. But we’re doing more than just talking about it. There’s no coincidence that The CBI Clubhouse made its debut in the midst of all this economic turmoil. We decided, from day one, that the Clubhouse would serve as a positive force, providing equal parts inspiration and education to authors who see past the ups and downs of the stock market. There’s a reason we call ourselves the Fightin’ Bookworms. It’s because fighting is just what we’ll do, with a smile on our face and hope in our hearts. We’re going to succeed. Together, we will overcome the obstacles that face us and find our way to our goals. Stay positive, and stay connected. It’s all gonna be OK.