Peek Behind the Curtain Part 2: Research for Marketability

This series is intended to help my new-to-writing friends, but also should be of interest if you wonder how books are made.

In the first installment of Peek Behind the Curtain, I shared the lightbulb moment of a new manuscript [cue copious thank yous to Lin-Manual Miranda, Leslie Odom, and Hamilton].

The idea was a nonfiction picture book about animal gestation called The Womb Where It Happens. (I know, right? It still cracks me up.) I envisioned a book similar in feel to Pink Is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals (Jess Keating, David DeGrand, Knopf Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House) with photographs, main text, and sidebars.  I would pitch it as Pink Is For Blobfish meets Nine Months: Before A Baby is Born (Miranda Paul, Jason Chin, Neal Porter Books/Holiday House).

After the Universe gifts me an idea, my first step is to find out if the idea could be marketable. (Sorry, Universe; gotta be pragmatic.)

Why waste the time of my critique groups/partners, my agent, and myself on a manuscript that won’t sell because there is already a:

  1. great book (or more than one great book), 2. in my genre (nonfiction in this case), 3. on that topic (animal gestation), 4. with my slant (Pink Is For Blobfish meets Nine Months), 5. that has been published in the last five years, or 6. is an evergreen title.

Let’s explore these potential barriers to selling. What is:

  1. a “great” book? To me, it’s a book that is developmentally appropriate for the reader’s age, with professional illustrations and design, thoughtfully crafted, and in line with other effective children’s books. I will identify* books on my topic or adjacent to it that meet these guidelines. If I don’t own them already, I order them via interlibrary loan, or if they seem perfect for my research, I purchase used copies to investigate further. These are comparison titles (“If you like this book, you might like that book”), and they might also be competing titles (folks might buy this book instead of mine because it offers the same or similar information).**
  2. in my genre? Nonfiction provides true and actual information no matter how it is delivered. If the comp books are fiction, or informational fiction (true facts told in a nontrue way, e.g., via anthropomorphized animals, etc.), my future nonfiction book could offer something new to the market.
  3. on my topic? Granted, my topic — animal gestation– is broad. As the manuscript is developed, I might be able to lean into various aspects of this topic that aren’t covered now and offer something new to the market.
  4. with my slant? Maybe my slant isn’t the best for the information I will find as I research further. Maybe the content would be better delivered lyrically, in a Q & A format, or even as an older age category. Who knows? I’m honestly not as worried about slants at this point because I’ve learned the information I uncover during research will point me to the right approach eventually. ***
  5. and 6. sort of go together. I have a science affinity and experience researching science topics and therefore, I’m quite confident I will unearth developmental biology findings that are more current. Remember that illustrated picture books take at least two years to produce (when we aren’t in a pandemic — click HERE to read more about the impact of this on my authored book, VIRGINIA WOULDN’T SLOW DOWN! The Unstoppable Dr. Apgar and Her Life-Saving Invention). So any book published five years ago could include research that is at the very least seven years old. That’s a long time in the science world. But, if that title is evergreen, meaning that it is known as the definitive title for that topic, we might have a harder time convincing editors there is room for another book on that topic.

I hope this peek is helpful for your next project.

PS. I go through a similar process for fiction, too. Stay tuned for the next installment of Peek Behind the Curtain: Topic Research-Lite and Agent Check-In.

While you’re waiting, take a gander at these adorable babies inside VIRGINIA WOULDN’T SLOW DOWN! The Unstoppable Dr. Apgar and Her Life-Saving Invention illustrated by the amazing Nancy Carpenter. I love their expressions and little arms! 🙂

* How to identify comp titles? Check out your local independent bookstore,, industry publications like Children’s Bookshelf and Publisher’s Weekly, Horn Book, etc., or other online retailers, ask crit partners, listen at conferences, read children’s book blogs, awards lists, themed posts on social media and Pinterest…there are endless ways to unearth good books!

**See how the words, “comp title” get confusing? Most people mean competing when they say ‘comp’ title.

***Don’t I sound confident about this now before I begin writing the manuscript? Just wait, my friend…







Book Baby Being Born TODAY!

I’m thrilled to share that today is the launch day for VIRGINIA WOULDN’T SLOW DOWN! The Unstoppable Dr. Apgar and Her Life-Saving Invention. This book has been a labor of love from the first minute Dr. Apgar’s story hooked me.

Read more about the making of the book in spite of All. The. Things. in my latest newsletter. [Oh. Do you need to sign up for the newsletter? Click HERE.]

Reader reviews are coming in, and we are delighted to see that adults enjoy and learn from the book, too!

“Definitely recommended to homes, schools, as well as libraries. No better way of creating a greater gender balance in STEM fields than by inspiring the next generation of girls through the story of a pioneering woman medical professional! 5 stars.” — Rosh

“I believe more children, especially young girls, need to read about Dr. Apgar and become inspired to live full lives and pursue any career despite any societal or cultural challenges that might deter them from becoming what they want to be. We never know what these children will invent and how their lives could touch us all.” — Michelle

“I have never heard of Virginia Apgar until this afternoon, and now everyone on my I’ve spoken to today know [sic] about her and her contributions to science and medicine.” –Lisa

People ask me how they can help the book reach readers. Here are some of the many ways:

  • recommend this book to your community librarians
  • review the book at your favorite book purchasing and/or review sites
  • purchase copies for yourself, your family, your friends
  • purchase for a special teacher/classroom, health care worker, or health care graduate
  • gift to new BABIES at showers and birthdays
  • and share the book with others through your social communities. Feel free to download and share the cover HERE

Thank you for being an important part of this journey!

Oh! Be sure to snag your free coloring sheets directly from the pages of VIRGINIA WOULDN’T SLOW DOWN! The Unstoppable Dr. Apgar and Her Life-Saving Invention!

You can find them linked here in the newsletter. Thank you, Nancy Carpenter!

Be Unstoppable!

Warmly, Carrie

A Twisty Turny Journey Story: How REAL PRINCESSES Came To Be

Unless we are involved in creating a book, we’ll never know all the twists and turns the book took to live on a shelf. I thought it might be interesting to share the journey story of REAL PRINCESSES CHANGE THE WORLD. Following is an interview from the SCBWI Michigan Mitten blog series, Book Birthdays.  The interview was posted on the book’s release date (April 11, 2023) but the journey hasn’t changed 🙂

PS. The Mitten Blog is a great place to read lots of journey stories by creators of great books for children. If you need a dose of inspiration, check it out.


How did you get the idea for your book?

The idea for this book was born about 20 years ago when our daughters were 8, 6, and 4 years old. They loved to pretend and dress up. One of their favorite scenarios was “princess,” mostly adapted from Disney characters. While I applaud Disney’s cinematography and ability to engage their audience, I always cringed when their princess characters’ behavior and costuming were un-empowering to women. Plus, all of the early Disney princesses presented as white and very young. As parents, my husband and I relied on books to provide experiences to our children outside our own bubbles. I could never find a book about real princesses for young readers. I knew princesses were not the caricature we saw, but I had no evidence.

Many years later, I started writing children’s books. I surveyed students during school visits and found that children still believed that princesses were waiting to be saved by princes, lived in castles, and wore ball gowns on the daily. With this knowledge, I pitched the concept of a children’s book about how real princesses change the world to my agent, and she loved it.

How long did it take to conduct the research for the book and were there challenges?

We submitted the book on proposal as a middle grade. But an editor at Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan asked if I’d consider writing it as a picture book. They were going for a read-alike to Chelsea Clinton/Alexandra Boiger’s She Persisted. It took me about a second to say yes, and while working up a sample for them, I realized that the job would be difficult.

I had already written and sold a picture book biography of one subject [VIRGINIA WOULDN’T SLOW DOWN! DR. APGAR AND HER LIFE-SAVING INVENTION, August 2023], so I knew how challenging it is to distill a person’s life in 1500 words or less. The PRINCESS project would require almost the same work for about 15 people and in 150 words or less each. Turns out that collective biography for young readers is challenging!

One would think it would be easy to research celebrities; for some, I could find good sources. But because these women are accomplished in several areas, I worked hard to 1) unearth current, solid research unrelated to the clothing or jewelry they wore! 2) create a unique, compelling theme for each princess based on that research.

I started researching princesses in mid-2017 for the proposal and turned in the final draft of the manuscript in mid-2021. Yes; you read that right. I wasn’t researching that whole time, but it was a large part of the project.

What is something you hope your reader will take away from your book?

I hope readers see that our caricature of others isn’t always accurate. I hope they realize that people are a diverse tapestry of problem-solvers and that we can use whatever power we have – royal or not – to make the world better.

The book enriches and supports standards for informational/nonfiction texts. It also reinforces STEM-based and other career conversations since several princesses hold professional positions (engineering, computer science, law, business, ambassador, etc.)


What are your marketing plans for the book?

This is my first Macmillan book, so I’m still learning the answer to this! Their publicity program includes ARC distribution and outreach to magazines, newspapers, online influencers (bloggers, BookTokers, BookTubers, Bookstagrammers), educators, and parenting influencers. My local indie bookseller, Snowbound Books, is hosting a signing and the launch will be at a 100+ year-old candy store, Donckers, in Marquette. There are Women’s History Month promotions in the works. Right now, I’m in the mode of doing whatever they tell me before it is due.?

On my end, I contracted our own Deb Gonzalez to create an educator guide, PookyHonk Productions to create a trailer, and Blue Slip Media to fill in the essential promotion gaps. It takes a village, by golly!

What’s next for you?

I’m preparing for the Apgar biography to launch in August 2023. My agent, Kelly Sonnack, is submitting a nonfiction picture book about animal gestation. [stay tuned for news!] Like all creators, I have a multitude of projects in various stages of completion, from snippets on scrap paper to final drafts. The goal is to keep writing amidst all the other book, life, and SCBWI activities!

A little bit about the book . . .

Real Princesses Change the World is an inspirational and diverse picture book profiling 11 contemporary real-life princesses and 4 heirs apparent from all around the world.

There are many ideas of what princesses are: Princesses are sweet, beautiful, and gracious. Princesses wear poofy dresses and strut about their castles. Princesses are just missing a handsome prince. But what message does that send to the children who look up to them?

This picture book compiles biographies of 11 princesses, highlighting who they genuinely are: diplomats, engineers, activists, athletes, and so much more. It focuses on their achievements and contributions, situating them as active global and local community members. This picture book takes readers on a trip that spans the whole world. From Nigeria to Japan, Saudi Arabia to Sweden, and Thailand to Tonga.

With stunning portraits by bestselling illustrator Dung Ho (Eyes that Kiss in the Corners), Carrie A. Pearson’s Real Princesses Change the World showcases princesses in an empowering, feminist light that is both accessible and engaging for young readers.

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan

A little bit about the author . . .

Carrie A. Pearson is an author, a speaker, and a former early education teacher. She lives with her husband on the sandy shore of Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan, and blows daily kisses to her three grown-up daughters. Carrie is a literacy advocate, an SCBWI-Michigan co-Regional Advisor, and on the Steering Committee for the SCBWI Impact & Legacy Fund. She is a mentor for aspiring creators of good books for all children. Carrie knows that narratives about princesses who need saving are most likely fairy tales. For much more, visit 


Facebook: carrieapearson

Twitter: carrieapearson

Pinterest: carrieapearson

Peek Behind the Curtain: Journey To A New Book (Hopefully)

gold curtain with textMuch of children’s publishing feels like a big ol’ mystery especially when we are getting started in the industry. I thought it might be helpful to share the process of a new children’s book from my original lightbulb moment to the eventual book on a shelf.

Caveat: there is no guarantee this will actually be a book on a shelf. More on that to come.

Add any questions in the comments. My goal for this monthly series is to transfer some knowledge you can use.

Let’s go!


On July 3rd, 2020, Hamilton, the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical written by Lin-Manual Miranda, was released on Disney+. We sprung for a streaming subscription, and our family was captivated by the musical. I watched it three times that summer. I particularly loved the song, The Room Where it Happens, performed by Leslie Odom, Jr.

During the last viewing, a picture book-related thought popped into my head. Again. [If picture book-related thoughts were basil leaves, I’d have pesto for centuries.] My thought? What about a nonfiction picture book about animal gestation called The Womb Where it Happens?

Funny, right?

I shared the idea with my family right then and there. Although they laughed out loud (or at least snorted. In my memory, there were extremely loud guffaws), they wanted to keep watching the musical. But later that night, I decided to see if the idea had legs. So I…



If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ve seen me gushing about the sneak peeks of my next authored book for children, REAL PRINCESSES CHANGE THE WORLD. I apologize (sort of). Going forward, I’ll share different information in both places, so be sure to subscribe to both my blog and newsletter if you are so inclined.

Back to gushing…

In our quirky industry, we tend to show only the front cover of books, but in this case, the back cover is equally impressive!

The publisher is Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers. The illustrator is Dung Ho who you might know from her New York Times bestselling illustrated book, Eyes That Kiss in the Corners written by Joanna Ho.
REAL PRINCESSES CHANGE THE WORLD highlights women from around the world and is organized geographically. The map will help readers contextualize where the princesses live. What questions do you think this one page will inspire in young readers?
Because the princesses are all nuanced, busy, passionate people, one of the most challenging parts of this project was selecting only one attribute to highlight for each, such as “Real Princesses Are Engineers,” “Ambassadors,” “Businesswomen,” and “Visionaries.”
After meeting the eleven contemporary princesses and four heirs apparent in this book, young readers will realize that the caricature we construct about others isn’t always accurate.
“It’s a stunning, feminist picture book biography collection of real princesses actively helping their community,” — BabyLibrarians

The book launches on April 11, 2023

Click HERE to Pre-Order

Behind the Scenes: The Making of Just ONE Book

Another tendency of this industry is to give the author and illustrator the limelight of picture book creation. Sure, we deserve credit, but many other people are involved in making just ONE book! There are many more talented people behind the scenes. Here are some of the people I’ve interacted with so far:

  • my critique group and readers (Big smooches for all. You know who you are!)
  • students and family members who participated in my fact-finding missions prior to writing the manuscript
  • Senior Literary Agent — Kelly Sonnack. Andrea Brown Literary Agency
  • Roaring Brook Editorial — Megan Abbate, Connie Hsu, Nicolás Ore-Giron — plus copyediting and vetting
  • Art Director and design team led by Mina Chung
  • Macmillan School and Library and Publicity teams

As we move toward launching the book on April 11, 2023, I’ll work more closely with the folks at Macmillan, at Blue Slip Media, who I’ve contracted to help make connections with readers, with PookyHonk Productions, who will create a book trailer, and with Deb Gonzalez who will develop the educator guide. Can you believe all of these people are involved in ONE book?

The next people to get involved will be readers and reviewers. Fingers crossed everyone likes it as much as we do.

Ciao for now, friends!

Can good worry ignite inquiry? Let’s find out.

It took me all of a second to answer award-winning author Patricia Newman when she asked if I would like to contribute to her highly effective and well-read blog, LitLinks. (See the post below.) I selected a post date in November, the perfect time to talk about animal adaptations to cold and how my worry led to action.  Who knew how cold the weather would get this winter and how much I needed to lean into my research findings?

LitLinks Logo-2022


As book creators and educators, we know that wonder is an ignitor for inquiry. But I posit that a different “W” can be an igniter, and maybe even a more impactful one: worry*

Carrie Pearson with A Warm Winter Tail
Published by Arbordale Publishing, illustrated by Christina Wald

I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where winter comes early and lasts six (or more) months. For years after moving here, I worried about all the animals who couldn’t zip on a warmer coat or snuggle up next to a fireplace. Then, I realized if I learned more about animals’ adaptations to cold, maybe I’d quit worrying. It worked! Well, mostly. I still want to bring animals inside during an extended cold snap or a white-out blizzard. But now I understand regional species’ biological strategies for survival.

Good worry builds empathy muscles

My worry ignited research. My research led to writing a science-based manuscript. That manuscript resulted in an informational fiction picture book, A WARM WINTER TAIL (published by Arbordale, illustrated by Christina Wald).

*I don’t want anyone to promote worry – even little children have enough to go around. I am, however, advocating for concern as a spark for STEM inquiry. Concern builds the muscle of empathy, and empathy can encourage students to care about and protect our other-than-human world.

Does it feel risky to foster an educational environment where concerns are allowed to bubble up during discussions? You bet it does. But remember, worry without action is just worry. Worry that is named, acted on, and understood — or even solved with new knowledge — is power.

Good worry in the classroom

Tapping into feelings: Craft and structure

Before reading A WARM WINTER TAIL, explore the front and back cover and discuss how students feel when they look at the image of the mother fox and her kit. What season is it? How do we know? If readers could be part of the setting and touch the foxes’ fur, might it feel warm or cold? How do students feel about being out in the cold? Do they think the foxes might feel the same way? Why or why not? Open a discussion with students. Ask if they ever think about how animals survive outside when it is cold, and they are bundled up inside.

Snowball toss: Key ideas and details

Initiate an interactive read-aloud with A WARM WINTER TAIL. Generate a list of the main questions the text answers. Depending on the student’s age levels, some questions might be:

  • How do animals keep warm when it’s cold outside? (PreK-K)
  • How are their strategies like humans’, and how are they different? (K-2+)
  • Which animals in the book benefit from parental teaching? Explain how you know this. (K-2+)
  • Are animals’ body characteristics the same or different from their parents? In what ways? Explain how this might affect their ability to stay warm. (1+)
  • What body features help the animals in this book control their body temperatures? (1+)

Write each question on a separate piece of paper. Put students in groups equal to the number of inquiries generated, crumple the papers into snowballs and toss them around the room so each group has one. For independent readers, have each group open their snowball, read the main question, then find one supporting detail from the text that answers the question. Toss the snowballs so each group has a new one, and repeat.

One worry, three facts, and a fib: Integration of knowledge and ideas

After exploring A WARM WINTER TAIL as a group, have students write or draw one remaining worry or concern they might have about an animal in the book or about animals in cold weather. Then write three facts they learned from the book about animal adaptations, followed by one fib. Have them share their facts and fib with another student. The job of the other student is to figure out which statement is the fib.

What can be done with a worry?

Share the author’s reason (described above) for writing A WARM WINTER TAIL. Invite each student to share one worry with the goal of students contributing their feelings within an emotionally safe space. As a class, brainstorm what kind of information might help to solve or learn about each worry. For example,

  • read a book(s) about the topic
  • talk about the concern with an expert or someone who knows more about the topic
  • tap into other informational sources about the subject (internet, books, interviews with scientists, visiting a science center or other related organization)
  • explore habitats or locations related to the topic

Still worried about worry?

Explore Ruby Finds A Worry (Tom Percival, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2019)

Ruby finds a worry

“Meet Ruby — a happy, curious, imaginative young girl. But one day, she finds something unexpected: a Worry. It’s not such a big Worry, at first. But every day, it grows a little bigger . . . and a little bigger . . . . Until eventually, the Worry is ENORMOUS and is all she can think about. But when Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only that, there’s a great way to get rid of them too . . . she just has to share her feelings. This perceptive and poignant story is the perfect springboard for talking to children about emotions and anxieties.”

Next Generation Science Standards Alignment for A WARM WINTER TAIL

Grade Number Standard
1 E.ES.01.22 Describe and compare weather related to the four seasons in terms of temperature, cloud cover, precipitation, and wind.
1 E.ES.E.2 Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons.
1 L.HE.01.11 Observable Characteristics- Plants and animals share many, but not all, characteristics of their parents.
1 L.HE.01.11 Identify characteristics (for example, body coverings, beak shape, number of legs, and body parts) that are passed on from parents to young.
1 L.HE.01.12 Classify young animals based on characteristics that are passed on from parents (for example, dogs/puppies, cats/kittens, cows/calves, chicken/chicks).
2 L.HE.02.13 Identify characteristics of plants (for example, leaf shape, flower type, color, and size) that are passed on from parents to young.
2 L.HE.E.1 Observable Characteristics- Plants and animals share many, but not all, characteristics of their parents.
3 L.EV.03.12 characteristics and functions of observable body parts to the ability of animals to live in their environment (for example, sharp teeth, claws, color, and body covers).
3 L.EV.E.1 Different kinds of organisms have characteristics that help them to live in different environments.
3 L.OL.03.32 Identify and compare structures in animals used for controlling body temperature, support, movement, food-getting, and protection (for example, fur, wings, teeth, claws).
3 L.OL.E.3 Organisms have different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.
5 L.EV.05.11 Explain how animals’ behavioral characteristics (adaptation, instinct, learning, habit) help them survive in their environment.
5 L.EV.05.12 Describe the physical characteristics (traits) of organisms that help them survive in their environment.
5 L.HE.05.12 Distinguish between inherited and acquired traits.
5 L.HE.M.1 Inherited and Acquired Traits – The characteristics of organisms are influenced by heredity and environment. For some characteristics, inheritance is more important; for other characteristics, interactions with the environment are more important.

Carrie Pearson author photo

Carrie A. Pearson (BA, early childhood education, University of Michigan) is a full-time word wrangler and literacy advocate. She is the proud recipient of the 2019 Gwen Frostic Award for Literacy by the Michigan Reading Association. Carrie has served as a Regional Advisor for SCBWI-Michigan for almost a decade. Her “retirement” gig is as a member of the Steering Committee for the new SCBWI Impact & Legacy Fund, created to support the organization’s charitable activities and community purposes. Look for Carrie’s new nonfiction picture book releases in 2023: REAL PRINCESSES CHANGE THE WORLD (Roaring Brook/Macmillan), which is available for preorder now, and VIRGINIA WOULDN’T SLOW DOWN: THE UNSTOPPABLE DR. APGAR AND HER LIFE-SAVING INVENTION (Norton Young Readers/W.W. Norton). Carrie would love to connect with you through her website on Instagram at

Informational (Non-fiction) Back-To-School Books

Nonfiction children’s book author and thought leader, Melissa Stewart, shared the following post on Nerdy Book Club today and it blew my mind a little. Even though I am an informational/nonfiction book writer, my first ideas for back-to-school books are fiction. That’s crazy, right?

Melissa reminds us in this post that informational/nonfiction books play an important role in our children’s understanding of what it means to go to school. She provides three titles that can augment and enhance this theme. In the process, readers learn about communities outside of their own experiences and can begin to appreciate a broader world.

Check out the post and the books. And creators, what back-to-school or school-life experience might you bring to the table? Thanks, Melissa. My wheels are turning!

Want a Home Library But Don’t Have a Dedicated Room? 14 Tips from Book People

two blue chairs in a home libraryRedfin, the real estate brokerage company, reached out to see if a children’s book author might have an “expert tip” for their upcoming blog piece. Turns out, I did. But there are many more tips here. Take a look and zhuzh up that home library!

14 Expert Tips to Create a Functional Library in Any Space of Your Home

Guest Post: How Knowledge in the Field of Psychology Can Improve Your Writing

How Knowledge in the Field of Psychology Can Improve Your Writing

Credit: Pexels

Writers come from various backgrounds, heavily influencing their styles and techniques. However, the goal of writing remains the same: to connect to an audience. It requires more than just literary proficiency to achieve this; writers also need to have empathy and an understanding of people’s psychological states and motivations. This is especially true when reaching out to today’s audiences who are more in tune with their mental health and its implications.

While having a psychological background is not required to be an effective writer, there are many ways that the field of psychology can elevate your writing:

It can make you a better researcher

Plenty of research is required for writing, whether you’re composing a short story or a blog piece for your website. Psychologists often identify gaps in current research and review similar studies, which can be compared to how writers draw new insights from existing articles or stories to create something new. A review conducted by North-West University discusses various methods of conducting research heavily utilized in psychology. These can teach writers how to better conduct in-depth research and investigations on any given topic or issue. Whether you’re making observations or surveying others for information, knowing how to do it systematically can help you become a more effective writer.

It teaches you about interpersonal relationships

Human development is a complex branch of psychology that deals with social interactions and their effects on thoughts and behaviors. Psychology experts emphasize the huge impact of human, social, and cognitive growth on interpersonal and group relationships. As a SymptomFind write-up on empathy explains, writers can use this knowledge to better demonstrate emotions and their impact on people. As you grasp how characters might feel depending on their development and background, you can learn how to empathize with them as an author or writer. By looking at these relationships within the right context, writers can better produce work that captures aspects of behavior and the human experience. The result is more informed writing that resonates with its intended audience and achieves the desired objective, whether it’s to move, inform, persuade, or otherwise.

It can help you conduct better interviews

Occasionally, part of your research might involve having to conduct one-on-one interviews to collect data for your pieces. These are commonly utilized in psychology as well. It can be as easy as asking carefully chosen questions, but it is also important to have a clear objective so you can get the best responses possible. This will make your writing all the more effective if the interview is part of your process.

It’s best to first assess where the gaps in your knowledge are after reviewing the necessary literature, especially for nonfiction writers. That way, you can frame your questions to encourage responses that will fill those gaps at a more in-depth level. You can then gain more insight and meaning by creating additional questions that can lead to other ideas and points of discussion related to the topic. This can give your writing depth and nuance, which can make your story, article, or blog post all the more informed and effective. Author Nancy Castaldo’s books, for instance, show how effective research and analytical thinking can make a difference in good literature. Employing these skills post-interview can help you draw better conclusions and produce more effective pieces.

Submitted by Heaven Martel

Heaven Martel is a blogger with a passion for writing. She likes to explore the creative process behind writers and hopes her articles give her readers tips on how to be better writers themselves. In her free time, she loves to hike and read.

Want to Create a Storytime-Centric Book?

Today, Nerdy Book Club hosts children’s book author/illustrator Abi Cushman with Ten Ways to Make Storytime Interactive. The post is a great resource for librarians, educators, and caregivers. But let’s give it another look from a creator’s POV. Abi has also identified 10 strategies creators can implement to pull listeners into a story and increase active engagement. Here they are:

  1. Create a guessing game theme
  2. Add movement words
  3. Make it a sing-along
  4. Use repeated lines
  5. Drop in sound effects/onomatopoeia (I use this technique in STRETCH TO THE SUN: FROM A TINY SPROUT TO THE TALLEST TREE ON EARTH, and it really works to increase listener engagement!)
  6. Give a structure that students can mirror
  7. Provide a drawing prompt
  8. Create a storyline that begs questioning during the reading
  9. Be sure the whole book is interesting, not just the main content. Writers, make that backmatter carry its weight! Illustrators, how can endpapers and the case cover contribute to engagement?
  10. Be theatric — can you make your text work for a Readers Theater experience?

What can you add to this list? Share below!

In addition, Abi offers two or three mentor texts for each type of engagement, so you can compare and contrast them with your concept.

Pop on over to Nerdy Book Club to read Abi’s original post and much, much more. Then get crackin’ on that engagement! Let me know how it goes.