It’s been three years since freelance editor and former literary agent Mary Kole published WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT, to help author’s improve their writing skills. I added it to my library of writing books when it came out. Mary has agreed to give one lucky winner a copy of her book.
All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.
Captivate the hearts and minds of young adult readers!
Writing for young adult (YA) and middle grade (MG) audiences isn’t just “kid’s stuff” anymore–it’s kidlit! The YA and MG book markets are healthier and more robust than ever, and that means the competition is fiercer, too. In Writing Irresistible Kidlit, literary agent Mary Kole shares her expertise on writing novels for young adult and middle grade readers and teaches you how to:
- Recognize the differences between middle grade and young adult audiences and how it impacts your writing.
- Tailor your manuscript’s tone, length, and content to your readership.
- Avoid common mistakes and cliches that are prevalent in YA and MG fiction, in respect to characters, story ideas, plot structure and more.
- Develop themes and ideas in your novel that will strike emotional chords.
Mary Kole’s candid commentary and insightful observations, as well as a collection of book excerpts and personal insights from bestselling authors and editors who specialize in the children’s book market, are invaluable tools for your kidlit career.
If you want the skills, techniques, and know-how you need to craft memorable stories for teens and tweens, Writing Irresistible Kidlit can give them to you.
Like many people drawn to the publishing business, I’ve always been a reader and a writer. I worked on the literary magazine in high school, majored in English in college, and got my MFA in creative writing. In addition to consuming story, I became very curious about how story was made. Reading became an endurance sport. It wasn’t just, “Oh, I liked that book,” it was, “How did that book work? What made me react a certain way to the characters and plot?” When I became a literary agent and started working with writers on their craft, doing editorial work on manuscripts was always my favorite part. I loved pitching and negotiating with publishers, of course, but my happy place was always one-on-one with a client, providing feedback and analyzing the craft. In such a competitive market, this sort of guided revision was crucial to showcasing a manuscript’s best self when it came time to submit to publishers.
Meanwhile, I was fielding a lot of questions from writers via email and at conferences. I decided to start Kidlit.com as a way to answer common queries and share the craft ideas that I was encountering in my editorial work. People really responded to the voice and instruction on the blog. It was named one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers each year since its inception, so I started doing more conference talks and webinar presentations with the same tone. After about three years, these talks crystalized into the outline of the book I ended up selling to F+W, the parent company of Writer’s Digest, in 2012. I called it WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT, after one of my favorite Ursula Nordstrom quotes. One of the big inspirations for the book was Donald Maass’ WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL. He used examples from popular fiction to illustrate his teaching points, and I thought this was brilliant. I did the same, using some of my favorite middle grade and young adult novels.
I’d have to say that the three or four months I spent working on the book after it sold stand out as one of the best times of my life. I got to roll up my sleeves and get into the muck of fiction, pull things together, make connections…express myself. I read about 40 novels that I wanted to cite, so it was like assembling a huge book report. I also reached out to my peers at various publishers and some of my favorite authors for quotes and opinions on craft issues. Then I wove it into a manuscript. When an idea really comes together, I find that the writing itself is easy. The whole process was a blur, really. I don’t remember the exact timeline, but the book hit shelves in October, 2013. I was in Los Angeles at a Writer’s Digest conference when I saw it on a table at the event bookstore for the first time. I got to hold it in my arms. What a rush!
It’s been three years since KIDLIT was published, and still people email me constantly to say how helpful the book has been. I can think of no greater compliment. I am so grateful, and so happy that this book has connected to so many readers. My dream is that WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT will endure. Sure, the cited novels aren’t exactly contemporary anymore, but I’ve tried to reference them in a way that’s relevant and self-explanatory. As for me, I’m now working full-time as a freelance editor. So it has all come full circle, I’m once again doing that one-on-one craft work that drew me to the industry in the first place. As for my writing, I have a few projects in mind. A novel might be next. And I have another idea for a craft book, on a more specific topic, this time. All I want in life is to nurture my own writing spark, and to help other writers do the same. That, to me, is the good life.
ABOUT MARY and KIDLIT.COM
Kidlit.com is an ongoing project for the passionate community of people who read and write children’s literature. My name is Mary Kole. I was a literary agent for six years with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and Movable Type Management. My book on writing children’s book is WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT. I now offer freelance editing and consulting services to writers of all levels!
Mary, thank you for participating in our Holiday Book Giveaway Extravaganza and sharing your books journey with us.