Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 20, 2020

Webinar: The Essential Guide to Writing Marketable Chapter Books and Middle Grade Novels

Wondering If You Could ever write a Middle Grade Novel or Chapter Book? Well the Children’s Book Academy is having one of their wonderful FREE Webinars, and if you’ve ever taken one of their webinars or courses, you know it will be good.

It’s The Essential Guide to Writing Marketable Chapter Books and Middle Grade Novels –  HAPPENING LIVE Saturday June 6th at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern, and Sun 8AM Australia!

With Dr. Mira Reisberg, award-winning, multi-Published author Hillary Homzie and a SPECIAL GUEST EDITOR TBA!


The Essential FREE Guide to Writing Memorable Marketable Chapter Books and Middle Grade Novels Webinar is broken down into three sections:

How to Create Unforgettable Chapter Book and Middle Grade Voice

Writing Characters that CB and MG Kids Love and Love to Hate,

and Plots and Structures That Keep Kids Turning Pages​.

If you want to sign up right now, before you hear another word, just click here.

There is a mantra among agents, editors and publishing folks. And I bet you’ve heard it before. If you’ve been to a conference or read some blogs, I bet it will sound familiar. A moderator or interviewer will ask, “What are you looking for?” And the editor or agent will reply, “a fresh voice.” And then invariably, the next question will be, “What does that look like?” And the publishing pro will shrug and say, “I’ll know it when I see it.”

This is why How to Create Unforgettable Chapter Books and Middle Grade Novels Voices is so important!

​A strong narrative voice will be distinct and arresting. When you hear it, you’ll want to listen. You’ll be intrigued and want to know more about the characters and what will happen to them. If you were to read aloud from several middle grade books right now, you’d be able to tell which voice really grabs you by the proverbial collar and after this webinar, you’ll know why.

What are the central elements that contribute to this distinction? Diction choices. Is the vocabulary sophisticated? Simple? Formal? Informal? Is there a regional dialect? Emotion. Strong fiction conjures up strong feeling. There’s always an underlying emotion that’s being conveyed. Is the voice terse, unapologetic, angry, sad, baffled, ecstatic?

How do you feel about characterization? Do complex characters pop into your mind fully-formed or do you gradually get to know your characters as you write? Or does your mind first hitch onto an idea or concept, and then find characters to fit the bill? Writing Characters that Middle Grade Kids Love and Love to Hate is another topic for Chapter Books and Middle Grade novels that we’ll be covering in this webinar.

Characterization is vital. Why? Well, when kids meet a character on page of a book that they  love, the book stays with them. Likely, they’ll re-read it and tell others about it. When characterization is truly vivid, the people that populate a novel feel real. So real, in fact, if a beloved character (say Harry Potter) were walking down the street, you would know him right away. You might even wave and say hi and ask about his family. You can see him, smell him, and even taste him (well, that is, if you were a vampire or werewolf).

But the question is how to achieve this? How to create a character that readers want to know, cheer for, or even hate. And how to get someone emotionally engaged because the character feels extremely real? Of course, there are exceptions to writing believable characters. If you are writing broad comedy then you’re working in the world of archetypes and stereotypes and lampooning. But still, even when you’re writing broadly, that satire must resonate. You must have the ability to capture something of the person you’re satirizing that we recognize on the page.

People are busy these days. And that includes kids. They’re overscheduled and by third or fourth grade have an entire folder of homework to complete each week. And in terms of entertainment options, there are more than ever.  When very busy kids pull a pleasure book (like an adventure or comedy) off the shelf, it better sweep them away on the very first page and make them hungry to turn the pages. In other words, the book needs to open well and be expertly and tightly plotted, which is why this webinar will also delve into Plots and Structures That Keep Kids Turning Pages.

A compelling opening hook and effective plot are also as imperative to slice-of-life stories, nonfiction, and literary fiction as they are to adventure and mystery novels. It’s necessary to hook your readers right away. That’s high pressure, for sure.

This free webinar will be co-taught by Dr. Mira Reisberg, Hillary Homzie and a special guest editor. In addition to steering the helm of the Children’s Book Academy, Mira is an acquiring Editor and Art Director at Clear Fork Publishing’s children’s book imprint Spork and a multi-published award-winning children’s book illustrator and author whose books have sold over 600,000 copies.

She is also a former children’s literary agent, and a former university professor teaching kid lit writing and illustrating courses as well as teacher ed. Mira earned a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies with a focus on children’s literature and has helped MANY writers and illustrators get published.

Visit Mira at or  @ChildrensBookAc or on her Facebook community here:

Hillary’s career is zooming! She is the author of the middle grade novels, Queen of Likes (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin M!X), PUMPKIN SPICE SECRETS (Sky Pony/Swirl), Things Are Gonna Get Ugly (Simon & Schuster/M!X), a Justice Book-of-the-Month, optioned by Priority Pictures, as well as The Hot List (Simon & Schuster/M!X). She has a new chapter book series with Charlesbridge, including Ellie May on President’s Day and Ellie May on April Fools Day. Her humorous chapter book series, Alien Clones from Outer Space (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin), was developed into an animated television series and sold to ABC Australia. Besides teaching at the Children’s Book Academy, Hillary is a visiting professor of children’s literature at Hollins University. Visit her on the web at and follow her on twitter @HillaryHomzie. She is excited to be sharing her expertise to help others succeed with their work.

And then there’s the final co-teacher, who currently remains un-named but not for too much longer. Trust us, it will be someone good.

Alternately, if you know in your heart of hearts that you will never be interested in writing chapter books or middle grade novels, take advantage of the Children’s Book Academy’s free instant access 7-day Picture Book Writing and Illustrating Course here:

Grab your seat and join us June 6th right here, and while it will be recorded, live is so much more fun:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: