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One exercise I do for every book I send out is answer the question WHY THIS BOOK? It helps me see where the book fits into the current marketplace and how I can pitch it. It’s also a good indicator of whether this story is worth telling! [1 of 6]
In other words, what makes this book special and necessary? Does it make kids laugh? Does it teach them an emotional skill or highlight an important aspect of life? Does it fill a hole in the market? What are the takeaways from this book for the young reader?
The answer to this question is also business-based: it appeals to a certain kind of reader, it touches upon an issue or topic that is currently in the zeitgeist or relates to current events, it has adaptation potential, it has foreign potential, or the author has a big platform
For kids books, there is also the question of how it can be used in schools: does it have curriculum appeal? Is it a tool teachers and librarians can use in the classroom? How?
I literally make bulleted lists answering WHY THIS BOOK? To me, if I can easily answer this question and have strong, solid responses, perhaps in all three areas—it’s a winner.
I think this is a helpful exercise for any author! Sometimes a cute story is just a cute story—but in this market it most often needs that special sauce. Does your book have that special sauce? This exercise could help you figure that out.
I call it the special sauce, the SO WHAT? factor or the story+ factor that a book most often needs to have to break out in a very competitive space
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