More Hows and Whys When Writing a Middle-Grade or YA Nonfiction Book


As discussed in last week’s “how to write a parenting book” series, the path from conception to adulthood is complex. It’s nuanced.

It’s complicated.

And it’s filled with 5 billion different questions that boil down to how, who, what, where, when and why. Perhaps more than 5 billion. It’s not always easy to calculate.

From the parents’ perspective, there’s the deep desire to know how a baby is forming in utero at each stage.

After birth, it’s often a matter of, “Who’s getting up with the baby this time?”

Those questions will often seem overwhelming at those early phases of child development. But wait… because there’s a whole lot more to come just as soon as those little minds and mouths start working together to form words.

Then parents are really in trouble.

Once children learn how to talk, they usually put their growing voices to good use. That is to say that they don’t let them go to waste.

All of a sudden, it’s all about “What’s that?” and “Where are we going?” and plain old, “Why?” or “Why not?”

Some of those answers are easy enough to give.

Some of them seem impossible.

In the same way, some are best addressed by a parent explaining them directly; others might be better facilitated by letting children learn on their own or through a mixture of direct and indirect education.

Depending on their age, that could be through a middle-grade nonfiction book or young adult nonfiction book. Maybe even the one that you’re planning on writing right now.

If that’s your goal – if writing a middle-grade or young adult nonfiction book is what you want to do – then you doubtlessly already know some if not all of what this blog has discussed so far. For that matter, you probably already know the exact writing Definition described below too.

Fair enough.

But this is just the beginning of our three-part series on the subject. So let’s get the basics addressed and take it deeper from there.

Middle-Grade/YA Nonfiction

Sometimes it’s best to read about how to help your child. And sometimes it’s best to let them read about how to help themselves. Middle-grade nonfiction and young adult nonfiction books exist for those latter cases.

This reading category often focuses on helping children and teenagers figure out life. One particularly popular topic is understanding the physical changes associated with puberty. But middle-grade and young adult nonfiction can also offer advice on healthy ways to handle peer pressure, bullying, and divorce.

That’s some weighty stuff right there, which is why some parents, guardians and children will need the book you’re writing… if you handle it well.

Innovative Editing’s Writing Challenge and Writing Rule for middle-grade and YA nonfiction writing are very draft-focused. As well they should be when the topics are what they are.

Plus, let’s be clear: Your first focus should be to deliver worthwhile encouragement and advice to your readers – both the children and the parents.

With that said, you’re going to struggle to reach those children and parents if you don’t have a certain marketing detail down pat before you begin. So skipping past the writing and editing phases for a moment, let’s pre-establish a major publishing and marketing detail.

Middle-grade nonfiction books and young adult nonfiction books are not the same category. You need to know your audience and keep the presentation age-appropriate in order to properly present it to your publishing or marketing opportunities.

Of course, that advice easily applies to the entire middle-grade and YA nonfiction writing process. It’s all about what you say and how you say it, which is what we’ll start really discussing on Thursday.

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