Thursday, August 25, 2005

bestsellers in children's fiction

I'm doing analyses of market trends in the publishing industry. Trying to see what is selling, see if I can stay on top on trends. I've been reading Publisher's Weekly. If I am going to get serious about Pious Ladies Literary Agency then I'm not going to query into the blue on behalf of my authors. Fascinating stuff when you look at children's fiction. Here are this week's bestsellers:

1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Rowling, J. K.
FANTASY
No surprise there, although oddly enough none of the larger retail franchises made a killing with HP and the smaller retail bookstores either broke even or got stuck with a lot of excess copies that they cannot return for three months, causing cash shortages. While the book was an outstanding media event for bookselling, and sold phenomenally, it was so heavily discounted as well as being sold directly via Scholastic and amazon.com that booksellers across the country overstocked on it.

2 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl, Roald
FANTASY.
What a boost to sales of a backlisted book a hit movie can make.

3 Eragon. Christopher Paolini
FANTASY
Christopher Paolini began Eragon when he was just 15, and the book shows the influence of Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffrey, and perhaps even Wagner in its traditional quest structure and the generally agreed-upon nature of dwarves, elves, dragons, and heroic warfare with magic swords. That's from the Publisher's description. Paolini is a hot author at the moment, one of many very young hot authors. That's a definite trend I can see in sales - authors in their teens are being snapped up and publicized.

4 Ready or Not. Cabot, Meg
By the author of the Princess Diaries books. Not a fantasy or genre book except maybe junior chick lit.

5 Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception. Colfer, Eoin
FANTASY.

6 Inkheart. Cornelia Funke
FANTASY. Meggie’s father, Mo, has an wonderful and sometimes terrible ability. When he reads aloud from books, he brings the characters to life--literally.

7 Hoot. Hiaasen, Carl
First children's book from popular adult author. MYSTERY.

8 Because of Winn-Dixie. Dicamillo, Kate
REALISTIC.

9 Chasing Vermeer. Blue Balliett
MYSTERY. Being heralded as The DaVinci Code for kids. About a missing Vermeer painting.

10 ttyl. Lauren Myracle
Had to happen sooner or later. Internet instant messaging shorthand for "talk to you later" forms the title of an epistolary novel entirely out of IM transcripts between three high-school girls. I wrote a story myself 13 years ago that was epistolary in nature but via PLATO p-notes.

11 Speak. Anderson, Laurie Halse
" A stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast" . Shiver, but not because it's a mystery or horror.

12 Dragon Rider. Cornelia Funke
FANTASY

13 A Great and Terrible Beauty. Libba Bray
A VICTORIAN GOTHIC

14 The People of Sparks. DuPrau, Jeanne.
Cautionary SF Tale set in an apocalyptic future. Sequel to #15, The City of Ember.

15 The City of Ember. DuPrau, Jeanne.
Cautionary SF Tale set in an apocalyptic future.

See the pattern? Out of the 15 best-sellers, 10 are genre fiction (primarily fantasy).

I've GOT to pitch Kyle's comic fantasy Heroes Elected as a young adult book, not adult.

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