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Writing for Children and Young Adults

How to write for young people


I’m super excited about the content of this week’s newsletter, as writing for young people is one of my personal passions. We have some amazing upcoming events to shout about, some gems to unearth and a special announcement for those of you looking for an agent right now.  

WEBINAR: Writing for Children with Catherine Johnson (FREE for members) 

TODAY. Learn about the art of writing for children from the master herself. Catherine Johnson is an award-winning children’s novelist and also writes for film, television and radio. 



Recommended this week: 

FEATURE: An interview with Young Adult author Non Pratt (FREE for members) 

In this revealing interview, we chat to Non about what it really means to make a career out of writing for young adults, including writing process, dealing with rejection and school visits. 



BLOG: How to write a children’s book 

This article is your one-stop-shop for everything to do with writing for children. From how to come up with an age-appropriate idea, all the way to how to get it published. 


NEW: Book a one-to-one with a literary agent! (Discounts available for members) 

We’re excited to announce that we’re now offering exclusive fifteen-minute one-to-one phone calls with our favourite agents. Choose your agent; choose your time and get feedback on your submission and opening 5,000 words. Warning: these sessions will book up fast! 


Age groups and word counts in the children’s fiction market 

What does ‘writing for children’ mean when that includes babies all the way to teens thinking about university? 

The market tends to shift every few years, but in general, the categories within children’s books look a bit like this: 

  • Picture Books (0 – 5 years) Between 300 – 1000 words, depending on who the book is aimed at (babies 300, toddlers 500, pre-schoolers 1000). 
  • Early Readers (5 – 7 years) Less than 10,000 words. These books can be illustrated and are divided up into chapters. 
  • Lower Middle Grade (7 – 9) Between 10,000 – 40,000, depending on the reading age they are best suited for. The lower the reading age, the lower the word count. 
  • Middle Grade (9 – 11) Between 30,000 and 60,000. There is a bit more room in Middle Grade to push the boundaries of wordcount and theme, within reason. 
  • Teen (12+) Usually around 70,000, but there are books in this category as low as 40,000 and as high as 90,000! 
  • YA / Crossover (14+) Over 60,000 words. Fantasy books in this category can push the wordcount to more like 100,000+, but usually around 60,000 – 80,000 is the magic number. 

So – what age range are you writing for? Do you feel like you’re writing in the middle of these somewhere? Sign up for free and share your thoughts and experiences in the Townhouse. 

Sarah J x

Plus, don’t miss: 

In Conversation with Alice Oseman (FREE for members) 

Another brilliant one for those writing for young people, Alice has had an unusual journey to publication and will chat to us about that, LGBTQ+ representation and graphic novels.  

Manuscript Assessment  (Discounts available for members)


Our most popular editorial service matches you to your dream editor and gives you tailored feedback on your work. It doesn’t get better than that. 

Complete Novel Mentoring (Discounts available for members)


Write or edit your book alongside one of our expert mentors, including multi-bestselling authors and commissioning editors. 

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