What is Age Appropriate?

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As writers trying to reach younger readers, we often ask what is age-appropriate in our books. This is a tough question because there are a lot of variables. Below, are four questions to ask yourself that should give you answers for your books.

Who is your audience? Right off the bat, there is a big pitfall. I've seen a lot of authors fall into this one. Often, they answer with who they want to read their book instead of who actually will. If you want to reach unbelievers, the story needs to be very different from the kind you would write for a conservative homeschool kid. By the same token, you can't expect a conservative audience to be okay with the same type of stuff in a secular book. Be honest with yourself. 

What are your goals? I've seen some books on topics that normally wouldn't be "age-appropriate" but are written to help younger readers deal with a specific trauma. At the same time, if you are mainly trying to teach a good lesson and tell a good story, little controversial content will be acceptable for younger readers. Know your goals that relate to your audience. 

What are your convictions? Before you release a story to the world, decide what your convictions are a never violate them. Every book builds your reputation and a rapport with your readers. Being consistent is important. 

What do others think? It's very important when doing books for younger readers, and making sure you have your audience right, that you find people to test read and give you feedback about the content. Even if you don't like what they are saying, listen and evaluate your work to make sure it is right for your audience. 

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