031: Cleopatra had Cooties

Cleopatra had Cooties

What Do Kids Care About?

December 23, 2016

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Listener Question of the Week:

Curtis asks:

If my stories are published as magazine stories can they later be published as picture books?

Listen to the episode for the answer!

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You may have heard me mention that the great nonfiction writer––and editor––Andrea Davis Pinkney said, when she keynoted at the online conference, Picture Book Summit, that nonfiction sounds like nonfun.

But you should know, kids love nonfiction.

Sometimes we forget that some readers find nonfiction more exciting––it’s their favorite reading. Also, there are very few magazines that don't buy nonfiction––but there are quite a few that buy only nonfiction. With this reality, most of us can see the value of dabbling in nonfiction, but some find their nonfiction pieces meeting rejection time after time. How do we find the perfect topic and slant to make the sale? Often it comes down to connecting with our kid-side.

Let's sing that old Sesame Street lyric “One of these things is not like the others…” our example is that three of these articles ideas belong together, but one just doesn't belong here. Which one and why?

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I Vant to Suck Your Fluids––Vampire Caterpillars.
Kids In the White House
Overcoming Homework Hassles––Helping Kids Set Priorities

Right, what kid is going to read an article on how to get kids to do their homework? If you wanted to write an article on homework, you would need to do it from the viewpoint of the kid, not of the parent hoping to get kids to work.

Many new writers produce nonfiction that would be of interest to adults––especially parents––but would not be of interest to kids. Now, writing for parents is a potentially lucrative market, but it’s a different market. When you choose a nonfiction topic, realize that no one is going to make the child read it. Therefore, your topic has to be something the child will want to read.

For tips on writing nonfiction kids will care about, listen to this episode.

Click here to download the show notes with extra resoures!


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