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

4.55 of 5 stars 4.55  ·  rating details  ·  143 ratings  ·  38 reviews
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 yo...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Writers Digest Books
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The title promises a lot, and the author is certainly qualified, with a background in writing, publishing and acting.

The first and last chapters are all about the publishing industry, so the title should really say something about 'writing AND PUBLISHING' kidlit. Actually, this dates the book somewhat, with the assumption that everyone is still interested in the traditional publishing route, completely putting aside that a lot of new writers will have decided to self-publisher. But even if you d...more
Wow. Like the title states, this really is "The Ultimate Guide" for writing "kidlit."

A few things I loved about this book:
- Ms. Kole uses excerpts from 35 kidlit books to illustrate the writing craft techniques.
- The whole book is a lesson on good "voice." Her book uses a conversational tone that made it feel like she was just sitting at the table teaching me.
- The market sections. She gives an overview of the YA and MG markets, the YA and MG mindset, and the business side of getting your book...more
I had the dubious honor of receiving one of Ms. Kole's form rejections last summer. And after finishing this book I know why. In the second to last chapter she discusses queries/submissions. And to quote her:

If you're only getting form declines, something's not working, and I'm betting it's your writing sample. Yes, your writing sample. Not your query, as so many writers hope. We can overlook a heinous query if the writing is brilliant, but never the other way around. (pg 259)

The good thing is,...more
Kim Graff
I've read a lot of How To Become An Awesome writer type books. I've attended conferences, webnairs, and followed a lot of writer blogs, and out of all of those great tools and resources, kidlit.com has always been a favorite of mine. So when I heard that Mary Kole was writing a book, I was intrigued. The book is broken down into the important things you need to know when writing for the YA or MG marketplace.

It starts with an overview of the Kidlit Market then moves to describing the MG and YA r...more
Mary Kole is a kid lit agent, so the advice she gives in this info-packed guide comes from a deep knowledge of the industry. For example, there's a list of cliched openings - and mine was one (not wanting to go to your first day of a new school). Ack! But better to know now than after submitting to an agent. I found myself getting lots of ideas for my book, and wound up reading it with my laptop on my lap so I could jot down plot or setting or character points without having to get up. Absolutel...more
This is a must-read book by the awesome agent Mary Kole for anyone writing for children. She is a master, and loved her words of encouragement at the end, too. My favorite quote: Novels are written one word at a time, and every word is a choice.
Dianna Winget
This is an excellent book on writing, and I've read my share of craft books. I love Mary's examples and how she's able to put you in the mind of both middle graders and young adults. I would highly recommend this helpful aid.
Anyta Sunday

It's always great to get the basis drummed into you again and again. I particularly liked the examples, my only qualm with it is that it has increased my 'to read' pile by another 20.

Need more reading time!!!
"Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise." (Proverbs 15:12)

Every writer of young adult or middle grade books who wishes to learn how to write better should read this book. I think that includes every aspiring teenage writer, and anyone else who wants to be good at writing. And everyone who wants to self-publish, this book should be required reading, even if you're still going to self-publish. I myself am still deciding on which road to take.

We must be reminded to never stop learning ho...more
Christy Luis
Let me start by raving a bit about the author, Mary Kole. Her blog taught me many writing essentials before I even went to school for writing: character, POV and tense problems, voice and more. When I had read everything on her site, her resource list connected me to other methods of learning. If you're reading this, check out her awesome blog: http://kidlit.com/
Onto the book review. It's nice to read craft books written by agents. Writing Irresistible Kidlit talks honestly about what will or w...more
I read a lot of books about the art/craft/business of writing, and for the most part, they're replete with overlapping information. Some of them are really useful, and some are sadly redundant. This book, Mary Kole's Writing Irresistible KidLit , is now one of my favorites. As the title suggests, Kole has put together a handbook on writing fiction for YA and MG audiences. I picked it up because I am familiar with her as an agent and on Twitter, and I figured she would have a lot to say. I am su...more
Nov 02, 2012 Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: writers all genres
Recommended to Kim by: Writers Digest Books
It's funny, I wasn't even looking for a book on writing, but this one popped up in an email from Writer's Digest, and on a whim I ordered it. I'm working on a mid-grade novel and thought this might have some good information. Boy, was I right. I couldn't put it down, finished it in two days, then went back and highlighted the concepts I found particularly helpful. Mary Kole covers, plot, setting characterization and all the important elements of writing. But what I found the most helpful was tha...more
Jeanne Moran
This renowned KidLit agent has documented her years of experience in this accessible book. The tone is conversational and encouraging, and she shares dozens of splendid examples from middle-grade and young adult fiction as she discusses the publishing market, the readers' mindset, the craft of plot and character, and more. As an agent, she knows what sells and what doesn't. Those of us who write would do well to heed her advice.
Many of the books on writing in my library are written by authors, a...more
I enjoyed this. It was a quick read and I read it on my way to a conference for writers. The information is not so different from what you would get from a conference but what makes the book unique is the kid lit focused examples. It is a useful reference book to have.
YA and MG writing is not what I do. Understand this. I read because it's good information period and the resources are great. Reading things like this also helps give better understanding as a reader of YA and MG material.
Ashley Herring Blake
Mary Kole's book is a must-read for every aspiring kidlit writer. It is filled with not only practical information on craft, but also practical information about the traditional publishing world. I found myself reading it with my computer close by, using Kole's book to help me sift through some problem areas in my own manuscript. Kole is clearly passionate about her work and the world of kidlit and that passion spills over the pages of her book. She helps writers realize the importance of writin...more
Stephen Andrew
Very very helpful read for any aspiring author of children's and YA books. THe biggest strength is the excerpts and examples format the shelves. Much of writing is very difficult to explain why it works or why an author would do certain things, or take things a certain direction. This was very helpful. Lots and lots about the craft of writing.
nothing groundbreaking, but a good guide with excellent examples from recent ya / mg books. something you could refer back to for inspiration if you're stuck.
Good craft/industry book overall. (And her blog rocks, too.)
First of all, this book is very Mary Kole. If you read her blog kidlit.com you will see her poignant style and advice all at display in this wonderfully compiled book.

So, why a 4 and not a 5?

I guess, this book is a perfect companion to her blog and full of insider tips, but it didn't transform my understanding of how to write or inspire me in a profound way like PLOT VS. CHARACTER by Jeff Gerke.

If you are looking for practical, applicable thoughts on what agents and editors are currently looki...more
This has been a wonderful read and journey into writing. I wish I would have had it to read early in my pursuit of writing. Above all else, it gives me hope in one day making it into the published realm. It has helpful secions on plotting and developing characters and examples from successful books. I must read for children's writers and very helpful to writers for adults.
Heather Helene
Wow! I really loved this book. It took me a while to read it only because I read it in pieces here in there. But, I really learned a lot from this book. Definitely a book I'd recommend to anyone wanting to write for the MG or YA crowd. This book is absolutely packed with excellent information and great exercises to try out.
Lenore Appelhans
For my review/interview with Mary, go here: http://apocalypsies.blogspot.de/2012/...

I consciously followed many of the tips I read in this book while I was writing my second book and believe my writing is much stronger for it. Loved the use of concrete examples.
Kelly Hull
Amazing book on writing. It's in my top two and shares company with Stephen King's book "On Writing." I read books on writing because I feel like I constantly need to grow, but this one was actually fun to read too. My favorite parts happened when it told stuff not to do.
Brianna Soloski
The title of this book is deceiving because it applies to writers in all genres. I purchased this based on the title alone and I don't regret it one bit. I've highlighted many passages and will continue to use the text as a reference when working on my writing.
Emily Ungar
If you write kid lit, this book is a must-read for serious writers. It's an excellent resource for learning how to fine-tune your craft, understand your audience, and knowing what agents and publishers are thinking when considering your work.
Laura Hawking
This book is a treasure, full of wonderful resources and precious information. It is complete –covering every aspect of the craft, from the publishing industry to creativity-, and has lots of gems to enrich every writer’s chest. I loved it!
Such a great read!! I found all of the topics covered extremely useful and inspirational. Have got motivation to complete my own children's book now thanks to the leson covered in this book. A must have for anyone interested in writing!!!
Lots of great information in this book. Strongly recommend it - especially the chapter on "Interiority"
This book gave me many "aha" moments. It is full of great insights, as well as so many truths about writers in general. As both a writer and editor, I would put this on my "must read" list.
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A must for authors 1 6 Nov 01, 2012 04:10PM  
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Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers Spades (Book Three)

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