Middle Grade Tight Rope Walk / Marketing Your Middle Grade Novel

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I’m a writer, not an artist! No laughing at my stick figure art!

Getting together with fellow authors at a local restaurant is both a blessing and a curse.

“You wrote a middle-grade novel?” said one of my author friends, sucking in a breath through pursed lips and sounding horrified.

“To be fair,” I protested. “The protagonist turns thirteen in the novel … so technically it’s both a middle grade and young adult novel. The future books in the series will all be YA.”

“What were you thinking? Don’t you know how tough those books are to market?” asked another friend. “Well…now you’re going to do the middle school tight rope walk.”

I rolled my eyes and sighed. Yes, yes, for the umpteenth time, people, yes, and I still deliberately chose to write for younger readers!

“Congratulations,” said my third cheerleader. “You’ve got to get through the gatekeepers before you can get the book into the hands of your target audience.”

“Yes, I know.” I sighed again and forced a smile. Smiling was the polite thing to do.

There are parents, teachers, friends, and librarians (gatekeepers) that absolutely must be considered before I can place the book, “Rafe Ryder and the Well of Wisdom,” into the hands of children.

I fully realize that I have two customers: the child and the gatekeeper. I need the adult to trust me, and the child to be transported to a new world when they read what I wrote.

Adults read what they want without needing anyone else’s approval for their book purchases or guidelines for their book borrowing. Children, however, are subject to some form of adult censorship, and well they should be! I supervised what my children read, and I’m of the opinion, all parents should. (Roadblock number one.)

The children for whom I write are not likely to be active on twitter, Facebook and blogs looking for their next read. They are out having adventures with their friends, and again, well they should be! (Roadblock number two.)

Children don’t hold the purse strings when they walk into a bookstore with their parents. (Roadblock number three.)

Still, I’m not as worried about marketing as my fellow authors think that I should be. Children, more than anyone else, need good books, and I wrote one. Childhood is a time to let their imagination and creativity run wild. Limits will be placed on them soon enough.

I adored walking into a room and seeing my own children poring over a great chapter book for days and days on end, captivated by a spellbinding story. Then watching their little minds work out the deeper meaning of the words written on the page.

So what if I have to go to a few more libraries, schools, and book clubs than most authors do. I’ll gladly stomp any and all pavements to see the light in a child’s eyes after they read a good book…even if it’s not mine.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Middle Grade Tight Rope Walk / Marketing Your Middle Grade Novel

  1. As a sixth grade reading teacher, I love middle grade novels. I love that they are becoming a “thing” even though they’ve always been out there. My students are in between. They’re beyond the little kid books, but not always ready for YA–which they want to desperately read. Good middle grade books are not only at their interest level, but they don’t seem babyish. I can get them into my kids’ hands a lot easier this way. Thank you for being a middle grade writer. 🙂 We appreciate you.

    • I cannot tell you how much your comment meant to me. Every bit of encouragement is like a salve to my soul. Perhaps that’s a tad dramatic, but entirely true. Thank you!

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