1. Minimal Manuscripts
If you open a children’s book from 30 years ago, the first thing you’ll notice is how text heavy picture books used to be. Perhaps it’s the rise of the author slash illustrator who’s pushing this trend, but I believe this is what real-world parents (such as myself) are asking for. We’re all busier than ever, but better to read a quick bedtime story to skip story time at all (Although my son has got me reading 3 books a night). Not to mention, kid’s attention spans are short and they want to get to the ‘good bit’. My 2 y/o just wants to growl at the ‘growly bit’ in a book, and why not! At the SCBWI conference in Sydney last year, many publishers also mentioned their preference for fewer words.
2. Quirk and Originality
It’s no longer enough to have a well-written manuscript and beautiful imagery. In such a competitive market publishers are looking for a story with cut-through, something truly unique, original, and even charmingly weird! Something that makes you think “oh no, you can’t do that… but wow it works!”, these sort of books market themselves because they’re story-worthy. Du Iz Tak by Carson Ellis is a great example of an original idea that works.
3. Book Series and Spin-offs
Think Aaron Blabey’s Pig the Pug series and Jon Klasen’s hat series. It’s just good marketing to back up a hit with a sequel, sometime’s these can feel forced, but done right it makes a lot of sense. When writing a book it’s worth keeping the door open to a sequel or series.
4. Diverse Books
I would put this down to a cultural awakening rather than a trend – #weneeddiversebook has been a very popular hashtag as of late for good reason. We live in a global world and more than ever we need to understand and appreciate foreign cultures and those culture’s need to feel represented with a voice.
As printing in china continues to get better and more and more illustrators turn to digital (or mixed) mediums, it’s become easier to control the colour output for books and include embellishments for extra ‘shelf stand-out’. The tactile medium of a physical book is more desirable and more ‘gift-worthy’ when thoughtful printing techniques are used to enhance a story.
What do you think, have I missed anything? Please comment below.