Last month we celebrated Yellow Kite’s 3rd birthday, which was a great achievement. Over the past three years, the list has gone from strength to strength as we established ourselves within the market. Last year was a busy year, and already 2017 is shaping up to be just as busy – we currently have the No.1 spot on the Sunday Times ‘Manuals’ chart with Ella Mills’ fourth book, Deliciously Ella With Friends, which is wonderful – and we have a host of exciting books coming this spring – leading with a book that encourages us all to have the courage to chuck stuff out.
In The Art of Discarding Nagisa Tatsumi argues that only by getting rid of stuff that we don’t need or don’t use can we be truly free and able to live a full life. Her book was a multi-million copy bestseller when it was published in Japan and inspired tidying guru Marie Kondo. For me, it taps into the current mood – that amidst all the chaos and uncertainty we’re currently experiencing in the world, one of the things we can control is the way we choose to live our lives as individuals, and that through a small act such as removing the clutter around us, we can find freedom and satisfaction on a personal level.
I am often asked about trends and what I think will be hot this year in the lifestyle area. It can be hard to predict, of course, but I would say there is a definite feeling in the air that ties in with my thoughts about The Art of Discarding – that in this busy, frantic world where every day the news headlines report some shocking new injustice or alarming statistic, while we may feel worried and anxious and inspired to march or sign a petition or write a blog – all of which is great – we are all also looking for a chance to escape and switch off from it all at times, and for a chance to take positive action that can enhance our lives – even if it’s just via small steps, such as having a good clear out.
We’ve seen a huge increase in the wellness blogging space, in magazines that promote an active healthy lifestyle and in companies and brands that promote healthy living; for example, I’ve been reading about journalists going on silent retreats, about whole families packing up and travelling the world together while they can, about ‘normal people’ taking on extreme sporting challenges, about different ways of connecting with nature and about schools where enlightened teachers offer pupils mindfulness classes instead of detentions. We have more information than ever before about how our minds and bodies interact, about how we can continue to learn and develop our brains even as we get older, and about how the food we eat and the meditation we do can help us live longer. This is potentially life-changing! We are exploring different ways to relax, to find meaning, to learn and discover, to reconnect with ourselves and our families and find meaning and our own path in life.
All this gives me encouragement that there will always be a space for books that help people ‘live a good life’ and that we, as a focused and close-knit team, are publishing the books that meet those needs, as we uncover new writing talent from a variety of sources, and produce books that people need and want. I am reminded of a quote by thought leader Brene Brown, who wrote about swimming (a pursuit that I myself am rather fond of, so I like the analogy). She said ‘I swim for many reasons, but none more important than the constant reminder to “stay in my own lane”. I am grateful for what’s happening here.’ And so on Yellow Kite’s third birthday, I urge you to go home, clear out your kitchen cupboards, think about how that’s made you feel, and perhaps write down a few goals for 2017, but most of all to stay focused and optimistic and ‘in your own lane’. Life is an exciting adventure, and we at Yellow Kite are happy to be publishing books to help you on that journey.