So, really, this is something empowering from the Society of Authors website. It's a report called Publishing from the Inside reporting on a talk chaired by general secretary Mark Le Fanu with speakers A P Watt agent Sheila Crowley, Paul Richardson, director of Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies at Oxford Brookes University, and Alison Samuel, publishing director of Chatto & Windus. The whole report makes sobering but very educational reading for writers, published or not. The Q&A in particular ranged over a wide variety of topics from why books begin as hardbacks to how an author can find out about budgeting decisions.
Here is the bit most relevant to children's writers and illustrators:
Is the children's market harder or easier than the adult market?
The little, one-off children's book is probably the hardest thing to get published at the moment. The production costs are the same for both but the children's market is of less value to publishers: 21% of new titles are adult, 14% are children's. Children's publishers tend to go for characters, work that will generate a series – things that have merchandising potential. There is also a preference for making children's books more suitable for the relevant age group and more sexy – turning away from dumbing down.
Read the whole report here.