It’s also how it feels lately to be a middle-grade writer. Children’s bestseller lists and Publishers Marketplace are dominated by YA. The Today Show deemed Newbery Award winners of such low interest that they bumped them for Snooki. Libraries and librarians, the best allies of middle-grade writers, face slashed budgets. E-books are shaking up the industry, and the impact on children’s books is one of the murkiest areas.
After the ALA awards, Dystel and Goderich’s John Rudolph wrote an insightful post that stuck with me.
I’ll be curious now to see if Moon starts to take off in the trade, or if it’s regarded as hopelessly institutional—that’s a question prospective MG writers should consider, too, especially as the gap between trade and institutional seem to be widening further.
Thought-provoking, coming from someone who reps, supports, and loves middle-grade. I needed a writing gut check, so this question hit home.
The good news is the Newbery winner, Clare Vanderpool’s Moon Over Manifest, rides high at number four on the NYT list for Children’s Chapter Books.
Snooki’s literary fame – well, let’s say it’s as ephemeral as a spray tan.
I’m aiming for commercial success and trying to write books for young readers that stay with them a little longer. So what if middle-grade writers feel misunderstood, left out, and unappreciated? I’ll channel that right into my characters.
Any middle-grade writers out there? What are your thoughts? Oh, and if you ever wondered what's the difference between middle grade and middle school, here's a great explanation.