There is a lot of doom and gloom amongst British children's authors at the moment - and with good cause. But an interesting bestsellers list in (of all places) the Daily Mail offers some solace. It lists the fifty best-selling authors. Number one is JK Rowling (no surprise there); then come Jamie Oliver, James Patterson, Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Wilson. So four of the top five are UK writers, and half are children's writers (I'm putting Pratchett in both camps).
I know - there are a few bestselling authors and the rest of us struggle to get contracts with deteriorating terms, and there's no space in the dwindling number of bookshops for our titles. The cheering message is that the public is still spending a lot of money on children's books. We might have to struggle to get our share of the pie, but at least the pie is still there. Given that a person reads children's books for perhaps 13 years of their life, and lives 6 or 7 times that long, having 30% of book sales go on children's books is a pretty good-sized pie.
The children's writers in the list are: JK Rowling, (Terry Pratchett), Jacqueline Wilson, Richard Parsons, Julia Donaldson, [Stephanie Meyer], JRR Tolkien, Roald Dahl, Francesca Simon, Philip Pullman, Enid Blyton, Roger Hargreaves, Daisy Meadows, Anthony Horowitz, (Katie Price), Michael Murporgo.