Launching a middle grade vs a young adult novel.

So how is launching a middle grade different than the young adult?

Publishing a middle grade brings with it the hope of reaching teachers and school-aged kids. Since I’m not in bookstores, my biggest hope is through word of mouth and internet searches: teachers looking for books and activities to go along with their Mayan/Aztec/Inca unit.

That’s why you’ve noticed some Maya style blog posts. SEO baby. J

I spent last Friday morning creating my teacher’s guide that will be available on my blog. (Or I came up with all the questions, vocabulary and literature-related activities. I still have to type it up.)

I looked over Anna Staniszewski’s teacher’s guide for My Very Unfairy Tale Life on her blog. Check it out. It’s done really well and I’m following her example. It gave me a place to start and that’s all I needed.

When the morning was done, I felt satisfied. I love to create. And the idea of organizing a teacher’s guide complete with questions and activities that looks professional appeals to the teacher in me. Just like working in Photoshop to create banners and badges. It’s a different kind of creativity.

But I won’t lie. I’ll be glad when it’s finished and up on my blog.

Preparing the teacher’s guide, especially for a book that has ancient history threaded into it, is just one of the differences between publishing a middle grade over a young adult novel. That’s also why I contacted the most creative and talented social studies teacher I know and invited him to contribute the teacher’s guide. It will be awesome!

The question is: do teachers ever look at the teacher’s guides offered on author’s blogs.

That, I don’t know. J

What are some aspects of this business you’ve worked on that is separate from the writing? Are you able to find balance?

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23 Responses to Launching a middle grade vs a young adult novel.

  1. Natalie Aguirre October 15, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Good question about whether teachers look at the guides. I don’t know the answer to that. I’ll have to remember to check out your teacher guide and Anna’s if I ever get to that point.

    • Laura October 15, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      It will be interesting to see, for sure. 🙂

  2. Dianne Salerni October 15, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    A lot of teachers do look at online resources for the books they teach, so as long as you have these available for download, they probably will get used. Also, I think the appeal of using an indie published book in a middle grade classroom is the potential for contact with the author by SKYPE or even a classroom visit. Most teachers get their books with “points” through Scholastic. If you’re going to convince a school to buy copies of your book, you’ve got to offer them a class visit or SKYPE session to make it worthwhile. Just a suggestion!

    • Laura October 15, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      Thanks! Great idea, Dianne. I can see that being of interest for the teacher – to expose her students to an author.

  3. Donna K. Weaver October 15, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    What a stretch, huh? This whole publishing gig includes things I never considered–like coming up with book club questions. Ugh

  4. Susan Kaye Quinn October 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    I know when I was contemplating self-publishing my MG, that the teacher friend’s first question was about a study guide! So … maybe.

    Great observations, and good luck!!

  5. Jennifer Hoffine October 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    I hope teachers find the book and study guide.

    Offering a study guide could also provide teachers some assurance that your book is backed by research and is worth using in their class.

  6. Alex J. Cavanaugh October 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    No idea!
    I think just about anything that has to do with promotion falls into the non-writing category.

  7. Laurel Garver October 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    The wisdom I’ve heard about marketing is to figure out what themes and issues your book connects to and try get your book in front of people naturally interested in those themes and issues–no matter what age group you write for.

    I’ve been spending lots of time looking at grief/bereavement blogs and youth ministry blogs–places where readers might find benefit from a book like mine.

    And yes, teachers ADORE teacher guides provided by authors–it saves them so much time. Having a link to your website printed in the book will usually lead them there.

  8. Leigh Moore October 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    What a great idea! And contacting teachers for help is so smart. Teachers talk to each other, and they’ll help you spread the word.

    I used teachers’ guides when I was teaching, so I think this is time well-spent for you!

    Hmm… I guess in other jobs I’ve done every aspect of this business up to now. I think doing it all at once has been the most interesting/challenging thing for me. 🙂 <3

    • Laura October 21, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

      That’s good to know! It’ll be interesting to see if the teacher’s guide get used. I hope so!

  9. Anna Staniszewski October 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    I feel like when it comes to all things marketing, we have to stretch ourselves. (Not so different from writing, in that way.) Btw, thanks for the shout-out! 🙂

    • Laura October 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

      I’m so thankful I had your guide to go by, a place to get me started, to show me what I needed to include! Thanks!

  10. Lisa Green October 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    I’m betting there are teachers out there who will look at the guide! It is very different marketing MG vs. YA I’m sure. But how fun!

  11. Karen Strong October 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    I think you may find teachers looking at the guide. Marketing MG may be different from YA that way since some times, the books are chosen by the teachers/librarians.

  12. Matthew MacNish October 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    This is really good to know, thanks Laura! As a writer who hopes to one day have published both MG and YA, I need to know this stuff.

  13. Stina Lindenblatt October 15, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    I’ve noticed more and more YA novels have the same idea at the back of them. They tend to be very thought provoking questions. I’m not sure I could write that stuff, but that’s because I don’t have a teaching background. 😛

  14. Stina Lindenblatt October 15, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    Okay, that wasn’t supposed to be a smiley face. More like a 😛 face.

  15. Miss Jack Lewis Baillot October 16, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    I hope the teacher’s guide finds teachers. Are you self-publishing?

  16. Angela October 16, 2012 at 2:27 am #

    When we have time, we’ll be creating classroom guides as well. I think it really improves your chances of getting integrated into the classroom 🙂


    • Laura October 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      What a great idea for The Emotion Thesaurus!

  17. Jenna Blake Morris October 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    I’ve never actually considered how promoting MG and YA would be different, but that makes sense, and it’s interesting to read about. And good idea about the teacher’s guide! I don’t know about other students, but I’ve always liked reading through the discussion/further thinking questions at the end. Hopefully the guide pays off quite well for you.

  18. Kristine Asselin October 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Kids are also required to do free-time reading, so getting the word out to teachers and parents who have children interested in the time-period is critical. Also librarians.

    Good luck–can’t wait to get the book in hand, Laura!

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