Nancy's Books

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Importance of Audience, Part II/Fiction Contest/Call for Submissions

This week I’m continuing the article of writing for a specific audience.

Primary grade readers love picture books and early readers. Their vocabulary has expanded so they’re into more sophisticated storytelling. They love nonfiction as well as fiction and are interested in reading about sports, animals, and the world around them. Humorous books are popular: jokes and main characters that make them laugh. This group also enjoys coloring and activity books. Beginning readers are popular. The sentence structure is shorter than most picture books because the child is reading on his/her own. Fictional picture books are usually less than 1000 words, and many are less than 600 words. Nonfiction books may be longer.

Upper primary grade readers enjoy chapter books, which are longer and more complex than beginning readers. These books have short chapters and cover simple problems of good vs. bad. Common subjects for chapter books deal with friendship, pets, sports, and school. This group wants books that reflect the things that are important and real to them. Most chapter books range up to 10,000 words.

Before you place pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard, consider the age group of your audience. Readers want characters with which they can identify. Make the characters ordinary kids placed in surprising and unexpected circumstances where they display extraordinary behavior.

Next week, I’ll focus on middle grade and young adult audiences.

Pockets Annual Fiction Contest (Adult writers) This is a contest for those who write for children 6-12 years of age.
• Please indicate FICTION CONTEST on both the outside envelope and the cover sheet.
• There is no set theme and no entry fee.
• Stories should be 750–1,000 words. (Stories shorter than 750 words or longer than 1,000 words will be disqualified.)
• Stories must be previously unpublished.
• Please include an accurate word count on your cover sheet.
• Multiple submissions are permitted, but please submit only your best work.
• Past winners are ineligible.
• Award: $500 and publication in the magazine.
• Entries with a SASE will be returned.
Lynn W. Gilliam, Editor
P. O. Box 340004
Nashville, TN 37203-0004
Deadline: August 15, 2011
Details at

For student writers: Highlights Magazine
Every month, we publish readers' work in Highlights magazine. If
you'd like to send us something to be considered for publication,
we'd love to see it! We welcome your drawings, poems, jokes,
riddles, tongue twisters, stories, science questions, book reviews,
Creatures Nobody Has Ever Seen!, recipes, craft ideas, letters to
Dear Highlights, and dinosaur drawings, jokes, and questions.
Mail your work to
Highlights for Children
803 Church Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Details at

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