The Problem of Middle Grade Novel Kickstarters
I am on the last week of my Kickstarter for a middle grade fantasy novel.
Well, it’s a story about kittens who become actors and put out their own viral videos. Is that fantasy? Certainly not high fantasy, but I don’t know what else to call it.
Kickstarter is a funny platform, when you step back and look around at what kinds of projects do well. Lots of picture books get funded at astronomical levels. But novels, especially for middle grade, are a hard slog. What Kickstarter does so well is mobilize people around a cause. At one point, there were three projects for children’s picture books where kids learned to correctly name anatomical parts. Each project was motivated by someone who had been sexually abused as a child and had no words to explain what had happened to the adults around them. These are projects which people can get behind and support.
If you are writing for a cause, a passion, a point of view that is even slightly controversial, you’re likely to have success on Kickstarter.
Middle grade novels? I’m passionate about giving 8-12 year old kids a great read! No where in current education standards do kids get to read for pleasure. Instead, they read to learn - in its many permutations. Reading just because you LOVE to read a great story - it’s not in the current standards.
The middle grade audience is mostly invisible. In the child’s preschool year, parents are often passionate about bedtime reading, library visits, and so on. Some parents keep up with the best in children’s literature to share with their middle grade kids, but these kids are becoming more and more independent in choosing books. Which means - libraries. Whatever is in the library, that’s what they read. Teacher and librarian recommendations become crucial. Parents would buy a book here and there, but mostly, they rely on the school and public libraries to supply books.
Which makes a middle grade novel a hard project for Kickstarter. My project for THE KITTYTUBERS is 90% funded, but just sitting there. With six days left, I wonder if it will fund. Click the button below to check it out. If you like it, please share with friends!
The Three Adjacent Industries to Children’s Books
What’s coming for me this fall? The Dallas Toy Fair.
I currently have about 50 books published with Mims House, and should have 55-60 by the end of next year. With a backlist like that, I’m wondering what else could be done with my IP (intellectual property). I decided that this year, I’d investigate the adjacent industries that also entertain and educate kids: video/film, licensing, and toys.
In the spring, I attended a virtual KIDSCREEN Summit, and in the early summer, I went to Las Vegas for Licensing Expo. And in mid-September, I’ll attend the Toy Fair in Dallas.
The question is this: are there possibilities for my IP to cross into one or more of those industries? I’ll come back in late September for an in-depth look at these three industries from the point of view of a children’s book author/publisher. Look for more then.
You keep taking off my blinders! I get so focused working on publishing my first 3 books, I forget to broaden my perspectives. Isn't that what teachers do? :) Thank you!