Monday, April 20, 2015

Nonfiction Intensive with Michelle McCann

On Sunday morning, Michelle gave an in-depth presentation about all things nonfiction to a packed room (we had to get more chairs!). Here are just a few of the many great tidbits participants gleaned from her presentation...

Reasons to write nonfiction:

  • Satisfy your curiosity
  • Be a lifelong learner
  • Reuse your fiction skills
  • Sell to a hungry market (You are 8 times more likely to get published if you write nonfiction!)

Brief history of the kids nonfiction book market:

  • textbooks, informational texts
  • In 1988, Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman won the Newbery and nonfiction got sexy.
  • Then, DK came along and made nonfiction look cool.
  • Now, Common Core State Standards are mandating more time spent reading nonfiction texts, so publishers are hungry to acquire it.
  • Nonfiction was the fastest growing area of children’s book publishing for 2014 and is projected to be again for 2015!

Where to sell nonfiction writing: magazines, trade, mass market, and educational market.

Good nonfiction  has the same elements as good fiction:

  • appropriate for the audience and age group
  • promotes a sense of kid power through the knowledge it imparts
  • has a strong opening hook
  • fully fleshed out characters and settings
  • fun, interesting, and well-organized text
  • a beginning, middle, and end
  • a climax
  • an uplifting resolution

How to strengthen your nonfiction voice:
  • Write!
  • Don’t second-guess yourself.
  • Choose topics your passionate about.

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