5 Tips on Researching Your Market

Oh, heck no. Not that kind of market.


The Children’s Book Market.

Before your query is a gleam in its Pappy’s eye, you should do a little research about the market trends in your genre. But don’t get all nuts over it.

seinfeld-the-wrath-of-khan-oI know it’s Monday, but focus, here.

Market research is a fancy way of saying see where your manuscript fits in with published books in your age group. How do you do this? I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED.


  1. Read. All. The books. Some people say you need to read a thousand books to even write a good one–I’m not going to go that far. But you do need to read a goodly amount to see what editors are buying and what kids are reading.
  2. The books your read should have been published within the last three years. Don’t think television, music and the internet have changed how teens think? Oh get with it, sister! When a kid could either throw a knife endlessly trying to be the one who stuck it in the ground closest to a wall, or read one of the three books on the shelf, one of which was the Bible, an author didn’t have to move a story very quickly. (And the kid would sit still for a three-line sentence.) Even forty years ago, a kid would have trudged through all kinds of folderol just to read a book about someone his age. Now, they have choices.
  3. Keep up with book deals. That’s what folks are looking for right now. Check Publishers Weekly or Publishers Market, watch agent and author blogs.
  4. Tote up sub-genres trending in your age group–are you ahead of or behind the wave? For instance, vampires are played out. But if you’ve written a spiffy vampire book that transcends all others, you still have a chance to sell. Just be aware that the market has been glutted for years, and  point out in your query how your story is superior.
  5. As you read, keep track of books that are similar to yours. The kids who read those books are your market. An agent/editor might ask you who will read your book.

Get involved in your profession, keep your ear to the ground, and SELL YOUR STORY.



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