There’s definitely an extra obstacle to writing for an audience in which you and your friends/colleagues do not belong.

The other night I had a brief moment of panic. What if what I think middle grade readers will like is not what they will actually like? Just because I like reading middle grade books and I like my story does not mean that it will be loved. But I guess this is the problem all writer’s face. It just becomes a bit more complicated when you are writing for a different age group than the one you fit into.

Reading books in my genre will only take me so far. While I may think my book is on equal footing with other successful ones, what if it’s not? What if I have completely missed the mark? Eventually, I’m going to have to make sure that my book passes snuff.

Although my first draft is a ways from being reader ready, (though I’m still aiming to have it submission ready by the end of the year), I’ve realized I’m probably going to need some 9-12 year old guinea pigs. My first thought was why don’t I have any kids? It would be so much easier. Of course, this would have raised a series of other dilemmas, such as finding the time to write, something that’s hard enough without extra people vying for it.

I remember when I was in fifth grade a kid’s dad came and read us a chapter from the middle grade book the kid’s mom was writing.The story was really interesting. Since then I’ve been dying to know what happened at the end (we only got to hear a couple chapters). As far as I know, the book was never published. If anyone knows of an undersea kids adventure book by an author with the last name Adams, please let me know.

I always thought this was such a good way to reach an audience. But do you need to do this before seeking representation?

What other ways are there to reach out to the middle grade/young adult readers? Do you need a test group of readers or should you just go straight to an agent? Any thoughts?