SCBWI NY: What’s Selling, What’s Not

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On Sunday, the final day of the SCBWI 2010 Winter Conference, Susan Raab, founder of Raab Associates, gave an informative talk on today’s children’s literature market. She’d done an impressive the amount of research on the topic.

Here’s a recap of what she shared.

What’s Selling

  • Mystery and ghost stories are growing
  • Girls books continue to sell, but are fickle; series flip a lot
  • Fantasy is softening
  • Picture books that have nostalgic feel or show potential for longevity are selling
  • Inspirations/hopeful stories are growing
  • Interesting, story-based non-fiction is lacking in the market

Where Authors Should Promote

  • Scholastic book clubs, particularly books for reluctant readers
  • School libraries, with attention to seasonal themes and school calendars/curriculum
  • Book fairs, with the understanding that children often select their own books at fairs
  • Bookstores, who are responding more to “buy local” initiatives

Advice for Authors

  • Maintain good relationships with vendors
  • One-to-one relationships are critical
  • Consider getting involved in local events, school events, etc.
  • Remember people will invest in personal attachment to an author
  • Actively market at your website
  • When you plan an event at a bookstore, actively generate traffic for the store; don’t expect them to do it for you
  • Get involved in community events, blogs, bookstores
  • Be your own best advocate
  • Reach out to your audience
  • Play up your strengths and use tools to generate interest
  • Focus on a particular aspect of the market; fine tune your website to be the “be all, end all” on your subject
  • Don’t get spooked if things take time to get noticed, just keep going
  • Research which categories and topics  haven’t been done
  • Watch the outside world to understand what is underserved and guess the next trend
  • Keep pushing forward
  • Write a timeless book

2 thoughts on “SCBWI NY: What’s Selling, What’s Not

    Lisa Nowak said:
    February 11, 2010 at 10:25 am

    The book I’m trying to sell now is inspirational/hopeful, and I’d been told it wasn’t edgy enough, so I’m glad to see that person was wrong. 🙂 I’m also brainstorming a ghost story, so it looks like I’m on the right track with that. It’s always nice to see good news.

    Amy K. Nichols said:
    February 11, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    That’s great, Lisa! I agree, it’s nice when you can see a slot opening in the market for your WIP. Hope you get your book sold soon. 😀

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