Thursday 1 November 2007

Oh Richard and Judy!

Do you know, I'm being a very good novelist and working hard every spare minute of the day on the last five (!) chapters of Ugly City! That's why I've been a very, very bad blogger, with little to say and nothing to show ...

But just so you don't consign Notes from the Slush Pile to your must NOT read blogroll, here's a humble but very interesting post excerpting the latest Publishing News - about Richard and Judy's golden touch:

THERE HAS BEEN an instantaneous and dramatic effect on all the books featured by Richard and Judy on their children's books special, which aired last Thursday. “Sales have been going extremely well for all the titles, with a 250% average uplift across the board,” said Waterstone's Jon Howells. “The stand-outs for us have been Andrew Cope's Spy Dog [Puffin], which has seen an 800% increase, week on week, and Claire Freedman and Ben Cort's Aliens Love Underpants [Simon & Schuster] which has had a 370% increase - a four-figure number in sales terms - which is particularly impressive as it has been out for a while and been a consistent seller. It just proves how many new people the show brings in.”

At Borders, Children's Buyer Becky Stradwick was equally enthusiastic about the programme's impact. “It's been very significant so far, particularly for Aliens Love Underpants, which has crashed back into our Top Ten, and for Robert Muchamore's The Recruit [Hodder], Sophie McKenzie's Girl Missing [Simon & Schuster] Betty G Birney's The World According to Humphrey [Faber] and Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant [HarperCollins]. It's proved that last year wasn't a flash in the pan and that Richard & Judy has a very consistent influence.”

While both Waterstone's and Borders have seen a marked upturn in sales, and will be promoting the R&J list right up to Christmas as part of their festive offering, the programme's effect seems to have been more muted in independents. “I think the programme is wonderful and popularises the act of reading,” says Joanna de Guia of Victoria Park Books in Hackney. “But we haven't seen a lot of movement, although Skulduggery Pleasant has definitely been affected positively.” At Tales on Moon Lane in Herne Hill, south London, Georgia Hanratty noted that “a few people did come in on Friday, asking for recommendations from the list, but we haven't seen a hugely noticeable increase in sales”.

Certainly, Simon & Schuster is celebrating. Nielsen figures revealed this week that Aliens Love Underpants is the number one best-selling picture book and the number ten best-selling paperback children's book, outselling the other titles among the R&J children's winners.

Does this mean that we wannabes should quit stalking our traditional targets - editors and agents - and head for Richard and Judy's? Ah the publishing life.

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