SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

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Hi, Debbie. Thanks for offering your insight.

That's what I've gathered from my research as well, and I agree with everything you've said. I'm just trying to figure (based upon people's experience or insight) as to whether chapter books are much harder to get agents to bite with (and if so, are they a lot harder, like picture books). I've exhausted my agent list with picture books, so I'm looking to move onto a chapter book or an mg and then present my picture books once I sign with an agent based upon the manuscript I queried with. But I would hate to write a chapter book and then discover it's just as tough a sell as picture books. While writing a chapter book would be an enjoyable experience (that I'm up to), I also want to make sure I'm not setting myself up for an uphill battle with picture books and chapter books (versus a mg to accompany my pbs).


I already spoke with my mentor and teacher, and both agree my concept has strong series potential. I would keep this between 6,000 - 10,000 words. And it would be geared toward kids 6-8 yo. As for the theme, it's "less sophisticated" than my mg, like chapter books tend to be (Captain Underpants comes to mind). But it's very fun and does have a subtle, non-didactic message.

No need for an apology. I appreciate the response and your willingness to help.

Enjoy your weekend.

Best,

Justin
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Getting an agent is a struggle no matter what you're trying to sell. Chapter books are almost always sold as a series. That's something to have in mind. Chapter books also have the same audience as picture books age wise, ages 4-8. But they are for kids who are reading on their own. The themes and topics are therefore less sophisticated than those for middle grade novels. They're also shorter, topping out at about 10,000 words and starting as short as 5,000. The popular ones are very popular and kids are loyal to them. It's best to have one written fully and another two outlined in full with ideas for more. These series go deep.

Anything that is a harder sell to publishers will be a harder sell to agents because the agents still have to sell it too.

That's all I know about chapter books. Sorry ican't get further into the agent aspect.
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Chapter Books & Easy Readers / Chapter Book Demand? Vs MG?
« Last post by justin-colon on Today at 04:57 PM »
Hello.

I have several picture book manuscripts that are fully polished, thanks to my mentorship (as a result of the Picture Book with the Stars Contest) and my picture book course course with Anastasia Suen. However, even with my strongest manuscript (which has repeatedly been revised, critiqued and edited by both my mentor and teacher, and run past beta readers) , as I'm sure many know, querying with picture books has been pretty brutal.

Something both my mentor and my teacher wisely suggested is that I consider turning my latest picture book (which I've been told is highly marketable and has tons of series potential) into a chapter book due to my voice and humor, and the plot (I originally had a lot of plot that had to be cut, which is another reason why they said I could turn this into a chapter book).

I've done my research; however, I'm not finding enough information about chapter books out there. I see on #MSWL that many agents want mg and ya. But I found maybe three at most (after filtering the results) who requested chapter books. And only 10 agents listed on the #MSWL website are listed as repping chapter books (and only six of those agents are currently open to queries). Are chapter books as equally desirable (or even close) as mg? Or will I find myself struggling just as hard querying with a chapter book as I would with a pb? My mentor said chapter books are a harder sell to publishers, but what about when querying agents?
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The Craft of Writing / Re: Favorite books about writing?
« Last post by JulieM on Today at 03:57 PM »
Ann Whitford Paul's Writing Picture Books is concise, interesting (with examples) and relevant. https://www.amazon.com/Writing-Picture-Books-Hands-Publication/dp/1582975566/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
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The Craft of Writing / Re: Favorite books about writing?
« Last post by jodyjl on Today at 03:55 PM »
Story Genius is AWESOME. It is particularly good if you are a pantser who finds that outlining kills your story. (Pantsers do have some inner planning, it's just that we come at it from a different angle.)

YES! So true.

I'm developing an new novel right now, and all I've written so far is back story. I still have no idea what will happen to these three characters, but I'm developing a common incident that shaped all their lives before the story even begins.

Story Genius is incredible!

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The Craft of Writing / Re: Favorite books about writing?
« Last post by olmue on Today at 03:44 PM »
Story Genius is AWESOME. It is particularly good if you are a pantser who finds that outlining kills your story. (Pantsers do have some inner planning, it's just that we come at it from a different angle.)
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Computer, Web & Tech Discussions / Re: Chromebook pro and con
« Last post by annemleone on Today at 03:34 PM »
My school is getting Chromebooks for the kids next year, so the teachers all got Chromebooks in advance this past week. So I have absolutely no experience to share with you, but curious on the responses! I think it has a USB port, but I'll double check on Monday. I did have a moment where I realized that if someone sent me a Word doc or pdf, I wasn't sure if it would open. I mean, presumably I could open it in Google Docs, but I'm not sure how good it is at converting various files. So its basic-ness does scare me a bit, but so far the keyboard is nice for typing and the set-up seems pretty slick... I'll report more next week!
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The Craft of Writing / Re: Favorite books about writing?
« Last post by jodyjl on Today at 03:07 PM »
My favorite books on writing are both by Lisa Cron (Wired for Story and Story Genius). I learned about the ever-important third-rail of stories, that inner journey. It's the journey we, as readers, relate to more than the external one. We actually root for the character to fulfill his/her inner need more than the outer need.

In Story Genius, Cron writes about finding the main characters mis-belief. Then she encourages you to dig deep into their past. Find their secrets. Find what they really want. Find what they believe is standing in their way.

I wish I had found Cron years ago. I truly believe, without any doubt, that her advice is what allowed me to finally revise my novel so that it resulted in a sale.

Having said that, I also love Bird by Bird (Lamott),  Writing the Breakout Novel (Maass), and The Fire in Fiction (Maass).

Jody
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The Craft of Writing / Re: Favorite books about writing?
« Last post by andracill on Today at 02:52 PM »
My favorite is Orson Scott Card's Characters and Viewpoint (but characterization is definitely one of my personal challenges).
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Computer, Web & Tech Discussions / Re: Chromebook pro and con
« Last post by andracill on Today at 02:39 PM »
My daughter's middle school provides Chromebooks for all the students, so I know you can load software (or at least connect with sources?). They use their cbs for homework, taking notes, and taking tests. I haven't examined it closely enough to know if there are USB ports. My FIL used to use a Chromebook for all his computer needs at home, and he said it covered everything he needed (which was basically email and checking FB).
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