Copycats and Sequels

M.O.T.S. More Of The Same is a needed ingredient in the publishing world. Successful story ideas today will most likely sell tomorrow. Agents and book publishers no doubt look at trends as to what is being read and use it for decisions about what to take on for future projects.

My manuscript, AWESOME SAUCE, is a story about an 11-year-old boy who  believes the dad he has never known is closer than ever but when facts say otherwise it propels him to discover an astonishing truth 8,000 miles away.

Over the past two years I have watched to see if a ‘future’ contemporary family story like AWESOME SAUCE fits in with the most popular books in the Middle Reader genre. There is nothing magical in finding this information. I go to Amazon and use their list of the Top Ten Middle Grade Books so far this year based on sales.

Analyzing the results so far this year demonstrates variety is the key:


A contemporary family story about a child with special needs

Another contemporary family story about a family dealing with tragedy


Animal tale.

Fairy Tale

Historical Fiction


Old West Mystery

Magical Adventure

With this list it is apparent authors are selling books that transports a reader to another time and place. A few keep it real and deal with issues facing a family.

I have read three of the books and my suspicions about the importance of popularity in types of stories have changed. Yes, it is still a good idea to see what parents and their kids are reading. Copycats and sequels are a big part of children’s literature and in cinema too. What hit me most is the superb writing going on in each of these titles. Good writing catches agents and book publisher’s eyes first. Make it a compelling, can’t put down story and a publisher will be at your doorstep.

Hmm, I may still have to write the story about two motorcycle riding ants living in a school’s janitor’s closet in the year 1963. Awesome Sauce is only the beginning.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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