Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers

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Captivate the hearts and minds of young adult readers!

Writing for young adult (YA) and middle grade (MG) audiences isn't just "kid's stuff" anymore–it's kidlit! The YA and MG book markets are healthier and more robust than ever, and that means the competition is fiercer, too. In Writing Irresistible Kidlit, literary agent Mary Kole shares her expertise on writing novels for young adult and middle grade readers and teaches you how to:Recognize the differences between middle grade and young adult audiences and how it impacts your writing.Tailor your manuscript's tone, length, and content to your readership.Avoid common mistakes and cliches that are prevalent in YA and MG fiction, in respect to characters, story ideas, plot structure and more.Develop themes and ideas in your novel that will strike emotional chords. Mary Kole's candid commentary and insightful observations, as well as a collection of book excerpts and personal insights from bestselling authors and editors who specialize in the children's book market, are invaluable tools for your kidlit career.

If you want the skills, techniques, and know-how you need to craft memorable stories for teens and tweens, Writing Irresistible Kidlit can give them to you.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books (December 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599635763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599635767
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds

Customer Reviews

The best of the best

21 people found this helpful.
 on January 16, 2013
By Sprocket
I taught writing at university level so the search for a solid text on the craft was always a top priority, and there were not many.

Nice book for beginning writers

16 people found this helpful.
 on March 15, 2014
By Tom
This is another book about the writing craft. Your impression will depend on how many craft books you have previously read. Having read a few I must say I didn’t find much new here, but others may find the ideas valuable and for this reason I’ll give it one more star than I spontaneously would. The book stands out (which is rare in this genre) by addressing those of us who write for children. The first couple of chapters are especially valuable for aspiring kidlit writers, as they cover specifics of the market for midgrade and young adult fiction, and the mindset of the young audience. I also found the last couple of chapters useful, giving advice for anyone interested in a career in kidlit. Between those sections you will find the usual methods, concepts, rules of thumb and advice that you find in most other books on the writing craft.


2 people found this helpful.
 on September 15, 2016
By Tag Jones
LOVE this book. You can think of this book as the “tell all” of writing middle school and young adult books. The author actually gives you the stuff you need to know – not just generalized fluff that so many authors put out there just so they can say they’ve written a book. A great big thank you to the author Mary Kole for spilling it all.

Must Read for Writers

3 people found this helpful.
 on March 26, 2013
By ReadnGrow
Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole is a must have resource for any writer who seriously hopes to create and sell to today’s YA and MG reader market. This book is full of specific-to-the-audience information with examples from the current marketplace that make the information so very unique, enlightening and helpful.

An Excellent Helpful Book

 on October 7, 2015
By Mary T Kincaid
A wonderful instructive book to reinforce all of those things that we as writers know but sometimes push to the background when struggling with character and plot development. There is a clarity that makes it easy to read. It is written in an informal way with humor and simplicity. She uses examples that I understood and appreciate. She speaks from her experiences as an agent and someone with a theater background. I appreciate all that she had to say.

Writing a book? Read this first.

One person found this helpful.
 on September 28, 2015
By Martin E. Rico
I just finished this book and it was exactly what I was looking for – specific, helpful guidance on the craft of writing without any fluff. The book is full of great insights and helpful tips that I can put to work immediately. If you are combing the web looking for advice on writing (which is what I was doing), stop what you’re doing and just buy this book. It will save you tons of time and energy, as it has the whole process laid out in a clear and concise format. As a bonus, Mary Kole’s voice is fun and engaging and helps move the book along nicely. And to Ms. Kole, thank you for writing this book!

THE BEST "how to" book on novel-writing I’ve ever read and …

 on October 20, 2014
By Carol
Quite simply, THE BEST “how to” book on novel-writing I’ve ever read and probably ever will read in my life–and I’ve read plenty. If I find a good book on this subject, it normally means I came away somewhat encouraged to stop procrastinating, face my fears and, as Nike said, “Just do it.” But Mary Kole teaches techniques and subtleties about craft and process that made it imperative that I sit my butt down and apply what I learned to my manuscript–immediately! It’s not just about writing kidlit: This’ll clear out the cobwebs for experienced novelists for all ages and genres. And newbies will benefit by knowing more just starting out than do many with advanced degrees (and the student loan bills to prove it). I keep this book next to my keyboard while I write. If my book sells, I’m gonna build it it’s own little shelf.

Good Guide to Writing for Kids

One person found this helpful.
 on February 6, 2016
By Danielle N. Hart
Good guide to the middle grade (MG) / young adult (YA) writing scene, with solid advice on craft. I like that the author puts more focus on craft rather than how to sell the book – and warns people from writing what’s trendy now. There’s also plenty of good examples drawn from current kidlit. There is basic info on query letters and selling, but the author focuses on how to write the book first.


 on January 6, 2017
By 1Amazon Customer
This is a very good book to add to your library and to refer back to occasionally. So many self-help books are somewhat disappointing; not this one. It’s a keeper!

An Excellent Book from the Proper Authority!

 on January 27, 2014
By Timothy Pecoraro
Unlike many books of this type Mary Kole is not writing from the perspective of someone who writes. She wrote this book, of course, but she does not make her living as an author. Which is exactly what is necessary for a book such as this. Because you, as a perspective writer. Need to know what to do to get published. And it just so happens Mary, being a literary agent is in a position to let you in on some of the things people like her look for. This is an incredible book with lots of great advice. But better still it is arranged in a such a way that the reader can highlight passages and quickly and easily get back to them for a quick refresher.

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