From The Bookseller:
If you thought the children’s books market had reached peak celebrity then look away now for there is a veritable deluge coming in 2017. This includes, though is by no means limited to, David Walliams, David Baddiel, Tom Fletcher, Clare Balding, Adrian Edmondson, Julian Clary, Christian O’Connell, Mo Farah, Greg James, Chris Smith, Dermot O’Leary, Miranda Hart, Danny Baker, Dara O Briain, Fearne Cotton, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Chris Hoy, Isla Fisher, Gemma Cairney, Frank Lampard, Chris O’Dowd, Brooklyn Beckham, various YouTubers and rather curiously, George Galloway.
In a culture where celebrity sells I understand why publishers go down this route. The phenomenal success of David Walliams has put every publisher under pressure to have their own chart-topping version. Celebrity authors are a ready-made PR story, they have existing fan bases, social media followers and famous friends to endorse their books. When celeb books work they can be hugely lucrative which, in theory at least, means profits can be invested in nurturing new talent.
For me the big positive is that celebrities can be such powerful advocates for books and reading. In our publishing bubble it’s all too easy to forget that vast numbers of families don’t own books and never visit bookshops or libraries.
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I’ve read some good celebrity books, I’ve read some terrible ones. Some celebrities can write, have big imaginations and comic timing, many don’t and need a talented editor and ghost writer. However, some of the formats favoured for celebs are starting to look pretty lazy. Illustrated comic middle-grade feels utterly saturated, magical young series fiction somewhat less inspiring than the famous names on the covers.
Link to the rest at The Bookseller