Sunday, February 5, 2017

Middle Grade Minded 300!

We have something a little special to present today — our 300th post here at Middle Grade Minded! (Cue the applause, balloons, confetti, and high fives.) To celebrate this momentous occasion, some of our contributors are offering quick reflections on what being a part this blog, and this team, has meant to us. Be sure to read to the end, since we’ve got a pile of giveaways to share!

I’ve had the privilege of being a blogger for Middle Grade Minded since its inception. When the group of us started the blog, we were not just a bunch of MG writers trying to enter a contest, but we were all looking for a MG community. There were tons of YA groups but not many MG ones. And let's face it MG writers are a rare breed in the best possible way. They face a unique set of challenges with respect to market and voice. It was a pressure we all felt but didn't know how to tackle. What I didn't anticipate though, was how much of a network I would gain. I've connected with so many amazing MG writers, and MG Minded has become a support system. I've learned so much from my fellow bloggers and the MG community that has formed around the blog. And if gaining this community wasn't awesome enough, I've also learned discipline. I've always been goal oriented, so actually having the pressure of a blog full of readers waiting on my post has kept me writing something even when I felt like I couldn't write anymore. For all of those reasons I'm so thankful for this blog. When we started this journey we couldn't imagine what this blog would become. But it's so much better than I ever could have imagined. So here's to 300 posts down and hopefully many many more to come. Thanks to the loyal readers of the blog, we wouldn't still be here without you!

When I was getting started on my publishing journey, I scoured the net looking for MG blogs, because there are so many YA and I really needed a community. I think I found MG Minded thanks to Brooks Benjamin, and kept revisiting because there was great information and lots of folks sharing their journey and that really appealed to me. I still blog on my own website, but I like being here because it's nice to feel like you're part of something bigger, which is wonderful, especially if you spend most of your time writing alone at home like I do! I'm looking forward to sharing more and learning more and expanding our number of visitors! And inspiring people to write and read more middle grade books!

MG Minded has strengthened my own writing. I have had the opportunity to review wonderful books, and in reading them and interviewing authors, I have learned a great deal about craft. Plus, it's been fun to give away ARCs and swag and make connections with other writers. This is a wonderful community. I am lucky to be a part of this group.

Tom M.:
I came up as a writer in a very solitary way; no real network to speak of, little support or acknowledgement of my efforts beyond my family and a few trusted friends. When I took my first baby steps onto Twitter and discovered a wide, diverse, and vibrant writing community already thriving, I looked for ways to participate. I followed the early Middle Grade Minded since I knew a few of the people involved from contests we’d all been in. When the opportunity came up to be a part of the team, I jumped at it. Being a part of this group has brought me friendships I otherwise wouldn’t have had, as well as the chance to challenge myself to share ideas and thoughts that hopefully contribute to this wider writing community I’ve been so fortunate to find.

I'm excited to introduce more adults to middle grade literature. It's so easy to get bogged down in the mundane realities of everyday life, that we forget to look for the extraordinary. Middle grade lit is a great reminder that wonder and whimsy are hiding behind every corner, if we'll only slow down long enough to notice it.

I was one of the original members of Middle Grade Minded and boy is it incredible how far we've all come! We started Middle Grade Minded there were a bunch of amazing YA blogs but not many MG ones and we had a strong desire to fill that hole. We started as kind of a ragtag group of aspiring authors who met during blog contests but it couldn't have been more perfect. Middle Grade Minded has been exactly what we all wanted and needed it to be. A community! Friendships with others who love, read and write Middle Grade. It allowed us to reach more MG lovers! Each of our publishing journeys have been so very different but we've all grown SO much! It's been hard for me, at times, to focus on the blog when so many other things are happening but it was an important lesson in discipline (one I'm still learning) and that when you dedicate yourself to something you will find a way. I'm still here! Still learning and still growing! Boy has it been fun!

I joined the Middle Grade Minded bloggers last spring, and it's been wonderful getting to know everyone. Middle grade fiction is such a treasure--full of wonder and magic, and rich with emotion--and I love how both kids and adults can connect so deeply with MG stories. It's a joy and privilege to share book-love with all of you, and I look forward to offering more book recs for readers and more encouragement for writers. Yay books!

To celebrate our 300th post, we’re offering these prizes to help give back to the community that’s been so supportive:
*2 query letter critiques, anything MG
*2 ten-page critiques, anything MG
*1 first chapter critique, MG contemporary
*1 first chapter critique, anything MG

If you’d like to enter, leave a comment below. Tell us your name, some contact info, such as your Twitter address, and which prize you're hoping for. We’ll leave the thread open through the end of February to give people time to find the page and enter. We’d also love to hear any thoughts you’d be willing to share about the site, whether you’re entering or not.

Thanks for sticking with us! We hope you’ll be around to see what happens during our next 300 posts!


PJ Sheridan said...

What an awesome opportunity! I'd love a query critique from the great minds at Middle Grade Minded :) You can find me on Twitter @pursuingthemuse

Michael said...

Thank you so much for starting this community! I've occasionally come upon your posts... But I don't think I've delved in as much as I could. It's really good to know you're out there and it's great to have like-minded writers coming together.

I'm not sure if you already have this... But one thought I just had is that it would be really cool if you had a forum on your website for people to ask questions about MG and do some trades and critiques.

Anyhow, I'm hoping to win a 10-page critique!

You can reach me on Twitter: @truthlovelight.

Thank you so much,


Jamie Krakover said...

So glad you've found us. We love having a great MG community! We don't have a forum or other means at this time but we do have Ask MG Minded if you are interested.

KendraFelder said...

I love this community! It has helped keep me motivated in my writing process. I'm hoping to win a 10 page critique for the MG I'm working on.

Amy said...

Middle grade is the best, and so is this blog. We are indeed a strange and wonderful breed, and I come to this blog whenever I'm feeling alone in a sea of YA. I would love to win a query or 1st chapter critique. That first impression is so crucial! Find me on Twitter @amy_Marden. Thanks and please keep it up!

Anonymous said...

As most of my readers are my 7th grade students, I'd love the 1 first chapter critique, MG contemporary. The book is set in high school, but it clicks with middle grades!

Thanks so much!
I'm on Twitter: @kelleymlikes

Caroline said...

I love how much you all support each other as writers (here and on Twitter), but also how much your passion for *reading* and sharing the heart of MG books shines through. Thanks for all you do here!

And thanks for this giveaway! I'd love a 1st chapter critique or first 10 pages critique. (I'm @Keep_Tha_Faith on Twitter.)

Shari Green said...

Hi Kendra! You've won a 10-pg critique (yay!) but I'm not sure how to get in touch with you. Hopefully you'll see this! Please contact me at sharigreenbooks (at)

Amy said...

I was just commenting on a new post and realized I never found out who won these generous giveaways. I would still love a first chapter or first 10pg critique if the giveaways have not all gotten away. And if I wasn't a winner, better luck next time for me! Thanks again, congratulations on 300, and here's to another 300 :)