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57 Days to Printer
116 Days to Book Launch – March 19, 2016
Creating a book for a middle school reader has one major interesting complication that adult books don’t have. That is that although kids will be reading the book in most cases they will not be buying the book. Parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians are the biggest book buyers for middle school children.
So the book must be edited, designed and packaged to satisfy both the child who will read the book and the actual buyer. If it doesn’t mass the Mom Test it will not be going home to pass the Kid Test.
Things like excess violence, profanity, poor grammar and misspelled words are all triggers that will stop a parent from purchasing the book. Other things are also important such as the theme of the book. Does it offer something of value to build character, does it teach or explain something new that is appropriate to the age level?
While entertainment is a must it also must have at least some semblance of empowering young readers to gain value from the book. If it undermines parental authority, makes a child feel that anyone in authority is a bad person it is going to be a hard sell to mom and dad.
The cover should be exciting and fun but don’t add things like guns, exploding bombs and taking dope if you want to sell more than a few books. Make sure the back cover copy is as professionally written and edited as it would be for an adult. Dropping a hint or two of what the child will gain from reading the book is also a good move. It may not impress little Johnny that there is a study guide at the back of the book but it could be a selling point for a teacher or librarian.