Nancy's Books

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Know Your Audience, Part 2

We’ve all heard the adage, Know your audience, but what does it really mean? 

Writing for a particular age group allows an author to be more specific in word choice, sentence length, and content selection. If you’re writing for a younger audience, choose basic information since the focus is an introduction to the subject. Older readers may be more familiar with the topic so consider making a list of what the audience already knows, wants to know, and needs to know. The list will determine the best way to approach the structure and content of the book.  

The age of the audience governs word choice. To be an effective writer, the language must be audience-centered, which is writing that is both understandable and interesting, but that’s not all. Consider the emotional response of the audience. What will they think or feel about this? How interested will they be in the subject? 

Today’s books challenge the readers to think. Creative and interesting ways to approach any and all subjects are the imaginative pearls editors love. Offer the reader a new way of thinking about a subject or character. Rich, vivid language sows the seeds of learning and curiosity. 

Many of us (including moi) are still kids at heart, so tap into your inner child and mine that source to write engaging stories for your target audience. Write what you would enjoy reading. Maurice Sendak, children’s author extraordinaire, said, “I don’t write for children. I write—and somebody says, “that’s for children.”  

Call for submissions for Adult Writers

Sarah Odedina, the new editor-at-large at Pushkin Children’s, is looking to build the children’s list through a new open submissions initiative.

Odedina is looking for full-length novels for readers aged 8+ and is asking potential authors to send in a synopsis of their novel, along with the first 20 pages.

Authors only have 24 hours to send in their work on 20th June before the open submission window closes, however.

Odedina said: “It takes a lot of energy and courage to finish a book and authors must find the process of getting published daunting. Pushkin Press is very positive about talking directly with authors and we hope that our Open Submissions Initiative will help us build bridges with the writing community and lead to some exciting books being published.”

Adam Freudenheim, publisher at Pushkin Press, pointed out that Pushkin Children’s has previously only released books that had already been published in other parts of the world.

“Sarah’s appointment is part of building and extending the children’s list and this open submissions initiative is one innovative way we hope to reach out to and discover up-and-coming writers,” he said.

Odedina joined Pushkin in February, after holding previous publisher and editorial roles at OneWorld, Hot Key Books and Bloomsbury.

The Open Submissions Initiative will run for a 24-hour period on 20th June and authors can send their material to with the subject line ‘SARAH ODEDINA OPEN SUBMISSION MATERIAL’.

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