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Legendary children’s editor Ursula Nordstrom (responsible for shepherding classics like Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are) once said:

If I can resist a book, I resist it.

This is the note on which I end almost all of my talks, and the challenge I issue to writers. Sure, the idea of someone resisting your book isn’t a pleasant one, but the trick, especially in this market, is to make resistance impossible. You should never aim any lower than that with your creative work. Am I right? And you do that by learning the marketplace and honing your storytelling craft to razor-sharp edge. How? I’m glad you asked!

It’s in this spirit that I bring you WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers. It’s my writing book. It is inspired by this blog, by my readers, by my clients, by my colleagues at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and Movable Type Management, by the agents, editors, designers, and publishers shaping the industry, by the amazing writers who are working in the children’s book space today, by the SCBWI and the other conferences that have given me a platform, and by my own thinking about story over the years. It would not have been possible without the support of the fantastic team of people at F+W Media and Writer’s Digest, who have been my partners in literary crime for a few years now. (Trust me, some of the jokes I get away with during the webinars could easily be considered literary crime…)

For the book, I culled excerpts from thirty-four of my favorite published middle grade and young adult titles, and analyzed them to give my readers the most relevant examples for craft topics like theme, character, plot, imagery, dialogue, and more. There are tons of my original thoughts on all of these issues, as well as input from published authors and fabulous children’s editors. I also include insights into the children’s publishing marketplace from an agent’s point of view–where the market has come from and where it’s going.

Writing this book has been the thrill of a lifetime. I can’t wait for you all to read it and have a comprehensive picture of just what the heck I’ve been trying to say on the blog and at conferences these past few years. On a special note, I did not repeat any blog content for this book. Since I’ve written so much for this blog on the topics that I’m covering in WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT, it could’ve been very easy to copy and paste some chapters entirely. But I wanted to challenge myself to create completely new content (and maybe I’m a bit of a masochist…probably a mix of both). Plus, I hate “blog books” that end up being repeats and disappointments, and wanted to absolutely avoid letting my faithful readers down. The only familiar sections you’ll notice are from some talks and webinars that I typically give, but not everyone has heard me speak. To balance that out, I’ll be phasing some of the old speeches out of my repertoire after this book is published.

Other than that, all you need to know is that it comes out in late October, 2012 from Writer’s Digest Books! Don’t worry, I’ll be talking more about it as the pub date approaches and doing some giveaways. Thank you so much for your support and early excitement about this project. I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

  1. Julie Daines’s avatar

    The cover is great! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

  2. Gabriela Pereira’s avatar

    This is such exciting news! I’m always on the lookout for new books on writing craft, especially ones that focus on specific genres or categories. Now I can’t wait for October! Congratulations!

  3. Stacey’s avatar

    How exciting!!

  4. Corinne O'Flynn’s avatar

    Congratulations Mary!! Holy smokes you have had a lot of stuff going on. I cannot wait to check it out.

  5. Mary Ann Duke’s avatar

    This is so exciting …for you and for US.
    It will be hard to wait until october.
    Mary-Ann Duke

  6. Temre Beltz’s avatar

    I’ve been a fan of your blog for a long time, and am so excited about your book! I can’t wait to read it πŸ™‚

  7. Kathleen’s avatar

    I can’t wait!!!

  8. Cynthia Leitich Smith’s avatar

    Congratulations! Love the cover! Positive, energetic and the nod to our inner young doodlers is spot on.

  9. Chelsey’s avatar

    I’m excited for this!! Yay Mary!!!

  10. Jennifer Malone’s avatar

    I’m channeling my inner Veruga Salt here to say I…WANT…IT…NOW!!! Why does everything in publishing have to involve such patience? Just kidding- very excited for you!! Count me in for a pre-order…

  11. Ian’s avatar

    Woot! Can’t wait for this!

  12. Melissa K’s avatar

    You aren’t reusing any content from the blog? Wow. You are so awesome. Now I’m even more excited than I was before, and I was pretty excited before.

  13. Nikki’s avatar

    Congratulations! I’m sure so much of your career has been spent congratulating other writers, and now, it’s your turn for the accolades =)

  14. Melissa H’s avatar

    Congrats! what a wonderful accomplishment.

  15. Rebecca C.’s avatar

    I can’t wait! I’ll totally pre-order it when/if that’s possible.

  16. Valeria’s avatar

    Yay! CanΒ΄t wait to get my hands on it! Also, I love the cover.

  17. Carolyn’s avatar

    Congrats, Mary! I can’t wait to read it!

  18. Carol Riggs’s avatar

    Looks great! Should be an excellent learning tool and resource. πŸ™‚

  19. Taryn’s avatar

    Yay! Congrats, Mary!!! Can’t wait to see it. The cover is so fun πŸ™‚

  20. Laurie Thompson’s avatar

    What wonderful news! Congratulations, Mary!! πŸ™‚

  21. Mary Ann Duke’s avatar

    I recently read an editor saying she did NOT like MS with the word “feel” therein. I’ve always taught my students that the “being verbs” such as: is, are, was, were, are wimpy verbs. Question: Which sentence below is better, the one with the simile (feels like) or the one with the metaphor (is)?

    My heart feels like a red pumping machine.
    My heart is a red pumping machine.

    Thank You,
    Mary Ann

  22. Jackie Yeager’s avatar

    I am so excited for this!! Congrats, Mary. I know it will be worth the wait!! BTW, I love the cover. πŸ™‚

  23. Melissa’s avatar

    Yayyy! Can’t wait to read this!

  24. Ryan Gebhart’s avatar

    Big congrats, Mary! Can’t wait to pick up a copy.

  25. Christy Luis’s avatar

    It looks amazing! Now I know what to buy myself for…Halloween? Congrats!

  26. Erin Scherfling’s avatar

    Honestly, I would have been happy to get your blog posts in book form. I am so looking forward to your new material. Congratulations!

  27. Greta Marlow’s avatar

    I could use this book tomorrow! : ) I’m teaching a scriptwriting class for summer school, and you’re going to be on of my most-quoted resources.

  28. Rachael Harrie’s avatar

    Wow, congratulations! So exciting – can’t wait for it to be published!


  29. Annie McMahon’s avatar

    New position, new book… what’s next? πŸ˜‰ Congrats! You are full of surprises. This looks like a book I’d like to read. I haven’t read a how-to book in a long time. I’m long overdue.

  30. Tina Cho’s avatar

    Congratulations! Sounds exciting and full of great info!

  31. Jade’s avatar

    Congrats! I’m really looking forward to checking it out.

  32. MaDonna’s avatar

    Congrats! I really like the cover! Can’t wait for October to get here….

  33. Juliana’s avatar

    Yay! I can’t wait to get my hands on this!

  34. Jeanette’s avatar

    October? I can’t wait til October. I’m too excited!!!

  35. Shelley’s avatar

    Wow, Mary! I’m so happy for you. And for me. Honestly, I cannot wait to read it. πŸ™‚

  36. B Ziemba’s avatar

    I’ve been reading your blog for half a year now and am so excited to know I can now have your insight on my bookshelf! Best Wishes for the books success.

  37. Megan’s avatar

    It looks great! I love your blog and can’t wait to have the book! Congrats on all the excitement going on in your life right now.

  38. Alice Fleury’s avatar

    I can’t wait to read your kidlit book. I’ll be watching for more. I already looked for it at Barnes and Noble and B & N says release date is December.

    I respect your hard work on not taking excerpts from your blog. Which you are right, blog books can be boring. Although, I have read a couple, I realize and recognize those chapters and usually skip them.

    Best wishes on your new position and your upcoming book on craft.

  39. Shyam’s avatar

    Can’t wait to read it! πŸ™‚
    October is too far away.

  40. Julie Hedlund’s avatar

    This is so exciting, Mary! Congratulations! I’m so impressed that you wrote all new content for the book. Wow!

  41. Jim Hill’s avatar

    Looks great. May I suggest a Robert Palmer cover band for the launch party?

  42. Sheila Brodhead’s avatar

    Sounds like a winner! Can’t wait to read it.


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