Writing Middle Grade Fiction Today

Learn what it takes to break into the middle-grade market


Mary Kole


Live on Wednesday, June 28, or watch the recording


Writers who have never published a MG novel


Closed captions by Otter; transcript provided with recording

Do you have a captivating story for middle-grade readers, but find yourself struggling to make it stand out in the crowded publishing landscape?

Aspiring authors in the middle-grade fiction category face unique challenges when it comes to crafting manuscripts that captivate literary agents, publishers, and—ultimately—young readers. If you’re ready to take your middle-grade writing to the next level, this class is the perfect opportunity to learn how to craft captivating stories for young readers.

Join publishing industry expert and former literary agent Mary Kole as she shares her invaluable insights into breaking into the middle-grade fiction market and crafting engaging stories that will resonate with this specific audience. Mary will guide you through the essential elements and techniques necessary to create a marketable and relatable middle-grade manuscript. Make your work shine, avoid common pitfalls, and develop a strong middle-grade premise and voice.

During this hour-long webinar, you’ll gain insight into:

  • How to stand out in the crowded middle-grade market, from the idea up
  • How to find and embrace your unique writing voice to create compelling stories for young readers
  • How to address controversial topics such as diversity and identity in a thoughtful and meaningful way
  • How to create a “high concept” premise
  • How to tap into your own experiences to create characters and situations that feel authentic and emotionally resonant

This information-packed class has been developed over the years by a former literary agent who knows how the system works from the inside out.

Who should take this class

  • New authors who want to gauge the competitiveness of their middle-grade novel idea for today’s market
  • Writers who are striving to complete a strong and engaging draft of their first middle-grade fiction manuscript
  • Authors already on the submission trail who want to ensure their pitches, query letters, and first pages captivate agents, publishers, and young readers
  • Passionate writers who are eager to learn and enhance their craft, perhaps in a new category

Who should NOT take this class

  • Picture book writers, YA writers, or writers in non-middle-grade children’s categories. While some of the advice in this webinar can be applied universally, the presentation is heavily geared towards “MG,” as it’s called in the industry.
  • Nonfiction writers of any kind, including memoir
  • Writers who are rigidly set on their middle grade fiction idea/draft/manuscript and are not open to learning and considering feedback or alternative perspectives.
  • Writers who are chasing the goal (publishing) instead of the work (writing). Publication is one small facet of a life in letters, compared to the process of actually writing, revising, and learning.

What’s included in all of Jane’s classes

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology (see system requirements). You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. If you don’t receive it within 1 hour of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Wednesday, June 28 2023
  • Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Eastern / 10:00 a.m. Pacific
  • Registration fee: $25

The webinar is broadcast via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Closed captions are provided during the live class. We use Zoom’s automated closed caption service (powered by Otter), which is about 80%+ accurate. We also use Otter AI to generate an unedited transcript, provided with the recording.

About the instructor

With over a decade of experience as a literary agent, freelance book editor, and published author, Mary Kole is well-equipped to help writers succeed in the competitive world of young adult fiction.

Mary received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco and has spoken at dozens of writer’s conferences and workshops across the world. She has been deeply involved with organizations including the SCBWI, Writer’s Digest, and NaNoWriMo. Her book, Writing Irresistible Kidlit, a writing reference guide for middle grade and young adult writers, is available from Writer’s Digest Books.

She has worked with thousands of writers through her editing business, Mary Kole Editorial, and founded Good Story Company in 2019 as an educational, editorial, and community resource for writers providing free and paid craft-focused content. She also teaches the craft and industry focused small group writing intensive workshop Story Mastermind for novelists and picture book writers. She develops intellectual property with the book packager, Upswell Media.


Lots of information packed into one hour. Thank you for addressing age group differences, content expectations, and also voice. This really helps me figure out what tone I should write in!

Warda Nawaz

Mary Kole was an excellent speaker and provided me with much needed direction for the novel I am writing. She handled the Q&A part very well and didn’t miss a beat answering questions. She knows her stuff. It was all very well done. Thank you.

Dee Lopez

Mary’s unique perspective and experience is a gold mine! The material she presents is accessible, helpful, practical and effective. We are very lucky students!

Missy P

All students receive the following

  • Access to the 60-minute live class. After roughly 45 minutes, the instructor will take questions using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 60 minutes. If we can’t get to all of the questions live, the instructor will answer them in writing and you’ll receive the answers with the recording.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 30 days. You do not have to attend the live event to access the recordings.
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.

Event Attendance & Anti-Harassment Policy

We strive to provide an environment where all present—whether attendee, presenter, or staff—can feel supported. In order to ensure a welcoming event, here is what we expect from all who participate.

  • That the presenter and the presenter’s work be treated with respect by attendees and that all attendees treat each other with respect and a generosity of spirit.
  • That attendees will refrain from harassment of any sort including (but not limited to) comments or questions of a racist, homophobic, sexist/sexual, or threatening nature. This includes actions that disrupt or interfere with anyone’s ability to participate. Offenders will be disconnected from the live event.