Here are some of my favourite YA predictions from Twitter:
@morethanbookish: The protagonist will let out the breath they didn’t know they were holding.
@adamseltzer: Writers will try to write the sort of books bloggers say we need more of, publishers will find them unmarketable.
@elvenjaneite: An author will respond rudely to a review. A reviewer will respond rudely to a book/author. There will be 900 blog posts.
@kjerstanavige: There will be Strong Female Leads. They will be vague in the personality department, but will be Strong, Female, Leads.
But what predictions – serious or otherwise – can we make for children’s books?
Here are a few of our predictions:
The UK market for print children’s books will continue to be remarkably resilient, and publishers will focus on making books that celebrate the physical bookiness of the book.
There will be a growing appetite for retro, and a return to traditional illustration styles (even if artists are using digital to create a traditional look). Some illustrators will go back to traditional illustration techniques.
There won’t, this year, be a bestselling children’s book that started as a self-published ebook sales phenomenon. For an oblique take on why, see the first paragraph of this.
Publishers will look to web (particularly YouTube) and app properties for hot licences.
David Walliams books will be everywhere like a rash, but still won’t sell in America.
Lots of publishers will get caught out publishing books that they acquired on the basis of 2012 and 2013 trends, having overpaid in an overheated market.
We’ll see more illustrated fiction.
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Scarecrow’s Wedding will be the bestselling UK hardback picture book of 2014.
Publishers will say that they should probably publish fewer titles better, but they won’t.
China and Brazil will continue to grow in importance as rights markets.
Nosy Crow’s market share will continue to grow.
Predicting anything to do with books and the market for books will turn out to be a mug’s game.
Sort of related to this, I thought it was worth drawing attention to this more general (you’ll see, if you work your way through the comments that I asked what they expected would happen for children’s books) US- and digital-focused Digital Book World piece.
Maybe we are just predicting what we want to see – what fits with our view. In fact, this is altogether a difficult blog post to write, even tongue-in-cheek. Of course we are aware of the market: we spend as much time as we can in bookshops, we speak to book retailers and other publishers; we go to – hell, we speak at and we run – conferences; we read book-trade press… but, honestly, we’re not spending a lot of time on haruspication using bits of available past data about trends and markets. We make our book publishing decisions on a book-by-book basis. We publish what we really, really like, what we think children will enjoy and what we think parents will buy.
But what are your predictions for children’s books in 2014? We’d be really interested to know, so do please tell us here or on Twitter.