SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2
Kidlit Genres / Re: Having trouble describing the genre of my book
« Last post by dewsanddamps on August 02, 2021, 07:44 PM »
Hi, Robert! mrh has good advice here.

I wrote the book of my heart a few years ago (MG). It has a child MC and two young adult sidekicks. The kid is proactive, saves the day, drives the plot, etc.--but it was a hard no.  (My agent told me this and a Big Five editor confirmed.) Having an adult sidekick is an automatic dealbreaker right now; that could change in a few years of course, but if the MC themself isn't a kid you should probably reassess.
3
Thank you.  I love the W. Somerset Maugham quote,  sounds like great advice!
4
Picture Books (PB) / Re: A Rhyme Primer
« Last post by etaine-raphael on August 02, 2021, 12:59 PM »
Rhyme Zone helped me immensely! I am an Indie author/illustrator, but I didn't work with a professional editor until my second children's picture book. The difference (and the quality of writing) is very clear between the two books. She helped me understand that it is not just syllable count, for example, that is so important for each line. Rather, the stressed/unstressed syllables being executed perfectly is what matters. 
5
I was under the impression that there were strict guidelines defining picture books- 700 words or under and 32 pages, counting the end pages- I’m sure there are exceptions though, especially for nonfiction or educational. 

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” ― W. Somerset Maugham
This probably applies to PBs too. A thought--you can break any convention if your story is brilliant.

Elisabeth, as others have noted, PBs and CBs are different animals. And there's another category in-between: the EZ. Just like it sounds. Here, the vocabulary is more controlled and the illustrations are there to help with the reading itself. So often, we think we're writing a PB when it's more suitable as a magazine story or an outline of a novel. I also have some luscious PBs that are longer illustrated stories but almost all of them are older publications. Good luck as you figure out your baby, imagine where it would be shelved in the library, and then check out those sections to see who's publishing them.
6
They are such different beasts, picture books and early reader chapter books. I recommend reading lots of each to develop your taste for what each entails. Plus free webinars on each pop up now and then, often via scbwi, which you could keep your eye out for.
7
For print books, the page count must be divisible by four. This is because of how the paper is printed and cut. These lines are blurrier for e-books. But you'll still find 64-page picture books. (These are unlikely to be by first time authors, unless they are nonfiction made as part o an existing series, as they cost more to produce and illustrate.)

Word counts have varied greatly over time, but today publishers prefer books under 500 words. Non-fiction has more leeway as it's sometimes written for older readers. The age group for fiction PBs ends at 8, but for nonfiction, it sometimes goes to twelve or older. And there are picture books for adults, but that's a specialized market.
8
I am interested in starting a chapter book group for transitional readers (5-8). Please email me. Abbyreads@me.com
9
I was under the impression that there were strict guidelines defining picture books- 700 words or under and 32 pages, counting the end pages- I’m sure there are exceptions though, especially for nonfiction or educational. 
10
Kidlit Genres / Re: Having trouble describing the genre of my book
« Last post by mrh on August 01, 2021, 11:21 AM »
Could your story be low concept?
I would definitely not pitch it that way, as it may come across as "not exciting" -- or, indeed, hard to explain, which can equal hard to pitch or shelve, which can equal No.

I don't think this is as hard to explain as it might appear. It's a middle-grade ghost story. When you write your query and present character, problem/goal, action, complication, and stakes, this will *show* that it is a ghost-hunting story rather than, say, one where the characters find out that the place they're in is haunted. You don't have to try to explain that it's a ghost hunting story in exactly those words. 

What concerns me is that you may not have a child front and center. I could be wrong, but I pictured your ghost hunter as an adult. If you can't make the ghost hunter a child, maybe give him/her a child "sidekick" who is actually the MC.

I second the advice to talk to a librarian AND bookseller to get the best of both opinions and find your comp titles. According to recent experience and industry talk, comps and how you choose them are becoming more and more make-it-or-break-it to your query or pitch.
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10