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Beginner to Chapter book has questions

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I sent a PB story to a publisher who said it was too mature for a PB and suggested I rewrite it as either a story book for ages 8-10 or a a mg chapter book for 10-12.  So I need to do a lot of research on what makes a good story book and chapter book.  How many chapters/words are typical?  Which option is most marketable?  Where would you guys suggest I start to do my homework?  (Besides reading a bunch of nonfiction samples of each.)  Who writes the best nonfiction in these areas that I could study?

Switching genres is a lot of work, but I am excited. 

Thanks for any suggestions.
#1 - February 23, 2015, 06:41 AM

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Many of the adult magazines have publishing sections. Nat Geo, Time for Kids, and Smithsonian all do. You can look for their books in libraries and book stores. This will give you a good feel for non fiction and fiction for any age group. Tell the pros what you are working on and ask what they think you should read.

SCBWI's The Book can give you the word count info you need, although those can vary greatly. Focus on what the story needs first.

Most importantly, have fun with it.
#2 - February 23, 2015, 08:59 AM

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Interesting. I wrote a picture book a few years ago. The critique I received at an SCBWI conference was that the story was bigger than a picture book. That it was a story that needed to be told more fully than a picture book would allow.  I had intended to write only picture books so it was daunting to consider writing a novel. I signed up for a novel writing bootcamp offered online by the New York Writers Workshop. Jenny Milchman (author of Cover of Snow and its succeeding novels) and Les Edgerton (author of Hooked, Finding Your Voice and several novels) were the teachers.  Best decision I ever made for my writing. It was a steep learning curve, but the challenge of it was so motivating.  That SCBWI conference critique I had received was dead on. I finished my first novel last December and am many pages into my second.  Hope that helps. Good luck.
#3 - February 23, 2015, 10:44 AM
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Yes, thanks.  I like to write nonfiction and hope to keep this project nonfiction.  If they want narrative nonfiction, I may be in a world of hurt as my fictions skills are not as strong.  I just took Susannah Hill's PB class and I have a rejected adult novel that I have completed, but I am more comfortable with the structure nonfiction provides. 

I have sent them a couple of questions that will hopefully clarify their preferences. Since I can go either way they suggested, I would really like an opinion on which is the most marketable. Might as well work on what is more likely to sell.

Thanks for your thoughts.
#4 - February 24, 2015, 04:43 AM

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