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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! As I am heading into the genre I love most (Middle Grade Fantasy), I'd love to know what you've learned that maybe doesn't apply to other genres? Here's the kind of stuff I'd love to know!

- How often do you publish a book?
- What is your word count?
- Series length?
- Are many of your readers are adults?
- What Ad path have you taken? (Instagram, FB, etc.)
- Do you find readers are NOT okay with certain things?

I am sure there's stuff I can't even think of, so definitely include that if you want :)
 

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I too am interested to see answers. I have a time-travel adventure series, with characters who are about 14 and 16 (brother and sister), but I gear it toward middle grade readers, as I think that's the most apt market for the books.

My books aren't too long, in the 42-51,000 range, and there are currently four books. I know adults have read the books, and enjoyed them, so that's always a good thing. The only negative feedback I had was about the fact that, in the first book or two, my teen characters spoke very mildly the way teens actually speak. I have since softened that to placate the naysayers.

The first book is permafree in ebook form, and it does get a number of downloads each day. However, all books are also available in paperback, and of course the paperback version is not free. 8)

I have an AMS ad for book one which specifically mentions the paperback version, and I think it's been somewhat successful. I haven't advertised the series anywhere else recently because A) I'm unwilling to spend a significant amount of of $$ at this point, B) many advertising places have requirements that my book can't currently fill, either word length or reviews, etc., and C) my books aren't typical MG fantasy books: characters are older, and aside from the time travel, there is no fantasy or magic or dragons involved, which many MG readers seem to expect, and thus, many promotion places seem to prefer.
 

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I write contemporary humourous middle grade fiction.

- How often do you publish a book?
Not often enough. My last release was 2015. :/  I would recommend at least once a year, but twice a year would be better.

- What is your word count?
40-50K words. For print 40K is more profitable.

- Series length?
Six books (working on #3).

- Are many of your readers are adults?
My books are good readalouds, so a lot of parents and grandparents read them aloud to their kids.

- What Ad path have you taken? (Instagram, FB, etc.)
Tried FB and wasted a lot of money. AMS seems to work okay. Never tried Instagram,

- Do you find readers are NOT okay with certain things?
No complaints for my books, but absolutely there are things to avoid in middle grade. Swearing, sex, gratuitous violence, drug use, etc. Read other recently published middle grade books to get a sense of what goes and what doesn't.

Hope that helps! :)
 

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I've learned that just because you give away thousands of Book One, and the reviews are solid, doesn't mean anyone will buy Books Two and Three. Grrrr.
 

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Like katc said, you have to love middle grade books to write in this genre. It's not an instant money maker, but there are some people who, after some time, do really well. (I'm still working on it. ;))

- How often do you publish a book?
When I first started, it was one book a year, but more recently, I've been publishing two a year.
- What is your word count?
40,000 - 45,000
- Series length?
I don't have any series yet, but I have some trilogies planned.
- Are many of your readers are adults?
It's some and some.
- What Ad path have you taken? (Instagram, FB, etc.)
I use AMS. Bookbub is said to be great, but I haven't gotten accepted yet. I'm trying to build an email list, but it's slow going. I have a website with a little bit of traffic. It's a good place for readers to get in touch. I've gotten some emails from kids through my website.
- Do you find readers are NOT okay with certain things?
I haven't had any problems. I keep the content clean and wholesome.

Some other notes: Most of my sales are paperback, and I think that's the situation for a lot of authors of middle grade fiction, so make sure you get the paperback version set up right away. Another thing to keep in mind is that when you're advertising online, your target audience isn't the kids. It's the teachers, parents and grandparents, because that's who's buying the books.
I've never done this, but I know some middle grade authors will visit in a school and do a reading.

I hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
katc said:
I LOVE, read, write middle grade fantasy. My series consists of 7 books.

- How often do you publish a book?

I don't publish as much as I probably should. It has been 1 per year. 2015 was the only exception. I published books 2 and 3 together.

- What is your word count?

My word count is between 50,000 & 70,000.

- Series length?

7 books, but that's only for this series. I have a trilogy waiting in the wings.

- Are many of your readers are adults?

Yes. I think I have slightly more adults, than kids.

- What Ad path have you taken? (Instagram, FB, etc.)

Unfortunately, I've never been able to do paid ads and if you take a look at my books, that's probably one of the reasons their ranks are in the millions.

- Do you find readers are NOT okay with certain things?

So far, it's been okay. The feedback & reviews I have gotten has been wonderful. No one has mentioned the length of the books, but there have been a couple that found the series difficult due to all the different characters that the MC interacts with.

What I've learned, mistakes & random thoughts...

When I published book 1, I was over enthusiastic, on cloud 9, you name it. I didn't do any research and I jumped in. There was no plan and there should've been. Middle grade is a super difficult genre to be in. If you love it, don't let the level of difficulty deter you. There have been quite a few success stories.
I have tried quite a few things to get my books sold and or read. Website/mailing list giveaways, lowering the price, free chapters, Instafreebie, etc. Some things worked and others not so much. On my site, I've tried to make it as interactive as I can. I want the reader or visitor to feel like the characters are real, in a sense. There are 3 characters that have their own blogs. The website gets decent traffic, but I haven't figured out how to that into mailing list sign ups and or book sales yet. Even after all this time, I'm still learning.

Going wide vs Select. I can't really say which one works best. I tried Select in the very beginning and it was okay, but I'm more comfortable with wide at the moment.
Editing. I do everything myself. If I had a chance to hire an editor, I would. If you can, that would probably be your best bet.
The cover. Like editing, I do it myself, but if I could hire a cover artist, I would. A really great cover does wonders for your book sales.

I hope my reply helped a little.

You're asking some really good questions & I'm sure you will do great. Wishing you all the luck in the world.
Thank you for wishing me luck! I'm in a position like you, and relying on Grammarly for editing :) I did not do my own covers, but I did illustrate my interior map and website stuff to keep the costs down. Hopefully, I will try to publish at least 3x per year, but I'm slower because I have to go over my work at least 4-5 times to smooth it out until I like it. I WISH I could crank out work, but I did all that before over the course of 4 years and I've gotten no where and always pulled down what I wrote. I'm hoping to maybe do a post when I get everything launched in a couple days and get feedback for my website, book cover, etc.
 

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Are Middle Grade audio-books worth the effort? I've been thinking of creating audio for my Andy McBean series, but curious how well it sells.
 

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I'm glad to see this thread and thanks to everyone who has contributed. I have a MG series coming out in a few months and a second one coming out next year. Based on what I learned from some of the success stories, all my books will be between 70 and 80K words. I'm aiming for kids and adults who want to read clean, fun fiction. I'll be taking notes on those who've responded and if I learn anything in the months ahead I'll be sure to post.

Also right now, I've commissioned 4 Book covers, Title Graphics, and I will be paying for editing. So I have real cost for my first four books, but I'm hoping for the best. I've studied for a while and feel like I missed a great chance last year when Victor Kloss was doing great. So I decided to take the plunge while I finished up my YA series.

I wish everyone the best. Sooner or later we'll discover how to get MG to work.  :D ;D
 

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- How often do you publish a book?
I published three within 3 months.

- What is your word count?
30k words each

- Series length?
3 books

- Are many of your readers are adults?
Most of them!

- What Ad path have you taken? (Instagram, FB, etc.)
None, although I'm currently trying AMS.

- Do you find readers are NOT okay with certain things?
Nobody has complained.


 

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I write middle grade historical fantasy.
So far published three in 8 months.
The length is 90-100k
No bad feedback on length, seems to be read by both kids and parents/teachers reading to them. The only issues I’ve had is that as it is set partly in medieval England some of the words can be difficult for younger readers. And I have had Americans complain about English spelling so I now add a forword explanation and have had no further problems.

As for advertising, since they are all in select, I only use AMS and am building up slowly but steadily.
Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So many good responses so far :) MG is tougher than I thought lol. But what I might do is maybe finish this book I am doing (my magnet is for it) and start the next series that's much longer in the same world but not location. The characters are older (15 at the start of the novels) instead of 12 years old. Maybe then later I go BACK to the MG series, which I want to be a trilogy...

Or should I just jump in and finish this first MG trilogy, and then do the YA series? Can't decide which is better... help is very much appreciated on this!!!

The rest of this is just if you want to give me SUPER feedback on nitty-gritty stuff...

Okay, here is my website (http://kdritchie.com/) which does NOT yet have Mailerlite working (do not try and get approval with Wordpress Website in maintenance mode lol) and I'll have my About page done soon, just waiting on pics of me to get finished. The website is just a standard conversion website, like what Mark Dawson has: https://markjdawson.com/

You can see my cover for the magnet on the website, and if you want to add any feedback on it here is a NO MAIL OPT-IN Instafreebie link where it can be seen (the map is in there too): https://claims.instafreebie.com/free/qGcRN61Q (I figured that maybe is the best way to preview/see work like on Amazon but without making anyone see it... of course you have to then be signed up to Instafreebie...? If there is a better way let me know!)
 

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- How often do you publish a book?

As often as possible.

- What is your word count?

my books range in size considerably. 20-30K for the REVENGERS (Solid MG, readers 8+), 50-60K for DEAN CURSE (lower YA geared for 10+), and 80K words for my CAMBRIDGE FILES (YA,but still appropriate for readers 10+)

- Series length?

My REVENGERS is solidly MG and it's going to be 8 books (all written).
My WIP series is also solid MG and it'll be possible to keep writing them forever if readers want them. I have 3 written, and I want 5 ready for release before I start to roll them out.

- Are many of your readers are adults?

None? If they're reading my MG stuff, it's probably b/c they're reading it to their kids. Lots of adults read my other stuff though.

- What Ad path have you taken? (Instagram, FB, etc.)

FB and AMS - though not much. I haven't figured them out yet and so I invest very little in it. I think across all platforms I spend about $10 a day.

- Do you find readers are NOT okay with certain things?

You need to know MG literature. There are topics, issues, attitudes etc that do not work in MG. MG is not the place for certian topics and once you cross that line you go into YA (regardless of the age of your main character). YA is a free for all. Anything can happen. But not so for MG.
 

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I only have two middle grade books published so far and plan a couple more in this series, but could start another series based off one of these stories.

- How often do you publish a book?
Not often enough. About one a year.

- What is your word count?
about 50-60,000

- Series length?
4?

- Are many of your readers are adults?
I don't have data on the readers

- What Ad path have you taken? (Instagram, FB, etc.)
I've done a few discount-day multi-author promos. AMS didn't seem to help.

- Do you find readers are NOT okay with certain things?
My one really negative review was based on the reader mistaking the furry creature on the cover for a snake. I'm not drawing any conclusions from that.

Thanks for starting this thread; the feedback is interesting!

 

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Shane Lochlann Black said:
What have I learned?

1. Kids don't read e-books because Mom doesn't want her Kindle to end up in the swimming pool.

2. Scholastic has more retail outlets than Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Starbucks combined, and it doesn't cost them a cent.

3. Double your ad budget. Then double it again.
On a side note has any one ever challenged scholastic for a share of the market. That said scholastic works very well for their market. It's hard to market books to kids doing it is schools is brilliant and cornering their market.
 

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idontknowyet said:
On a side note has any one ever challenged scholastic for a share of the market. That said scholastic works very well for their market. It's hard to market books to kids doing it is schools is brilliant and cornering their market.
I don't know about anyone else, but I'd give my right arm (well, maybe my left) to get "in" with Scholastic. Same with Disney, and their publishing imprint. Unfortunately neither will even look at a manuscript unless it comes from one of those magical, mythical beings: an agent. :p
 
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KD Ritchie said:
So many good responses so far :) MG is tougher than I thought lol. But what I might do is maybe finish this book I am doing (my magnet is for it) and start the next series that's much longer in the same world but not location. The characters are older (15 at the start of the novels) instead of 12 years old. Maybe then later I go BACK to the MG series, which I want to be a trilogy...

Or should I just jump in and finish this first MG trilogy, and then do the YA series? Can't decide which is better... help is very much appreciated on this!!!
Honestly, if you didn't go into this realizing that MG was going to be a very tough sell as an indie, I'd recommend pivoting to the YA. (Disclaimer: I write YA, not MG, so I don't have direct MG experience.) As has already been mentioned, kids are still largely reading print books, often sourced through their schools (either the library or Scholastic, etc). I think it's why the reading market for indie YA has such a high proportion of adult readers. Adults have credit cards, so at the moment they're the main ones reading ebooks off Amazon, etc. And I think there's a much bigger audience of adults who read YA than adults who read MG. I mean, they are out there, and there's the ones who'll buy to read to their kids, etc, it just seems to be much harder to break into than YA. So if you could just as easily go either way...

Of course, realistically, the entire indie market is hard to break into, so there's a strong argument to be made for just writing what you love :) (Plus I think someone mentioned the whole talking in schools thing. If that's something you're interested in, then it could end up being a decent secondary income stream and is probably easiest to do as a MG author.)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
MelanieCellier said:
Honestly, if you didn't go into this realizing that MG was going to be a very tough sell as an indie, I'd recommend pivoting to the YA. (Disclaimer: I write YA, not MG, so I don't have direct MG experience.) As has already been mentioned, kids are still largely reading print books, often sourced through their schools (either the library or Scholastic, etc). I think it's why the reading market for indie YA has such a high proportion of adult readers. Adults have credit cards, so at the moment they're the main ones reading ebooks off Amazon, etc. And I think there's a much bigger audience of adults who read YA than adults who read MG. I mean, they are out there, and there's the ones who'll buy to read to their kids, etc, it just seems to be much harder to break into than YA. So if you could just as easily go either way...

Of course, realistically, the entire indie market is hard to break into, so there's a strong argument to be made for just writing what you love :) (Plus I think someone mentioned the whole talking in schools thing. If that's something you're interested in, then it could end up being a decent secondary income stream and is probably easiest to do as a MG author.)
Yep, you know I've transitioned it from MG to YA pretty well. I still think a MG reader would like it a lot, but on editing I aged the characters up, added Steampunk as a backbone of the type of magic and mechanics already in place, and tossed in some general magitech seeds for later to grow :) I think it's going to be a lot easier than MG!
 
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KD Ritchie said:
Yep, you know I've transitioned it from MG to YA pretty well. I still think a MG reader would like it a lot, but on editing I aged the characters up, added Steampunk as a backbone of the type of magic and mechanics already in place, and tossed in some general magitech seeds for later to grow :) I think it's going to be a lot easier than MG!
Oh, sorry, I didn't see how old the original posts were! Glad to hear it's going well for you :)
 
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