I tweeted Waterstones this morning chiding them for the preponderance of ‘media-people’ in their lists of those up for prizes in their Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.
Yes, it’s true that there is so much out there that we need people to put us on to the good things. The books on the lists: some look great.
But a trend I want us to be hard on is celebrity book deals,
especially children’s books. Why? Publishing agents have always been a little lazy but in our age with so much inequality they’re relying on the media to do their publicity work. It’s Pareto’s law: the 20 per cent will have 80 per cent of the wealth, fame, publicity etc.
So it is sad that something as democratic and joyful as books for children should become a bit of a closed shop open only to people who already enjoy some degree of publicity.
There’s an awful lot of talent out there. Let’s support it and support it broadly.