Well, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered a half dozen books all over my daughter’s room. The most intriguing thing they were all Mary Pope Osborne’s books. Who in the world is that? These books weren’t actually what I would call the “real books” of 300 or 350 pages. For me they were more like brochures. Yet, I wasn’t lazy so I did some Internet research. Her “franchise” was worth hundreds of millions of dollars. So, what’s the catch?
I had no other choice than to go further and deeper with my personal research. I know and admit that writing stuff for kids isn’t an easy thing to do. These little readers play by the completely different set of rules. Yet, there was something else that attracted my attention. The structure of the sentences of MPO’s books. The golden rule of successful and appealing writing that gets on my nerves is that you should “write like you talk.” I know that and I do my best to apply it as often and much as I can. Her sentences were short and the simplest ones you can possibly imagine. This is why, I like to say instead of writing as you talk, you should write as if you were to write subtitles for a movie. This is really a good exercise.
And, what is it that I do when I find a piece of writing I like? I run it immediately through the readability checker on the Writer’s website. You can Google about it, or you can check one of my earlier threads about readability. I was shocked! This writer has a readability score of 97!! That’s insane! For example, Harry Potter is in the zone between 70 and 80. The score of 90 is reserved for comic books. 70 is something desirable. 60 is the minimum. All other results bellow this minimum readability score are reserved for Shakespeare, Harvard Law Review, Financial Times, and other contents you need to cry your eyes out to read. Actually, you need to read very carefully and slowly to catch up.
So, MPO nailed it. She matches no other than Dr. Seuss with her readability score. My hat off to success and her writing style. This type of literature I classified as an “unserious” one brought here some very serious success. Can I try to be like here even for a moment? I mean, I’m not going to start writing books for kids now, but is there something I can do about my readability score? So, I took one of my texts. It was around 60. That’s decent. I rephrase it. I took care that every single sentence is as short and simple as possible. Guess what happened? I reached the score of almost 85 just like that. What do you know I’m J. K. Rowling now. For the record this thread is around 80 at the moment, in case you want to know.
Finally, there is one more thing worth remembering about kids who like to read. If your book is properly accepted, then you know for sure that your readers will do their best to get every single book you have ever written. So, when it comes to kids readers, it’s always a win-win. What is the moral of my story? We should all write books for kids? That was obviously a bad joke. Mary Pope Osborne completely adapted her writing style and business approach to her target audience. This is something I would like to apply for my first ebook. I will try to write it to be as readable as possible. In addition, I will keep on mind who are my readers. I’m targeting freelancers who can improve their situation and earnings by reading it. Ah, one more thing equally important. I almost forgot it. If you check Amazon, you are very likely to be surprised by the price for MPO kids books. If I’m not mistaken, you can hardly find a copy both paper and electronic edition for less than $10. That’s impressive. For what is worth, figuring out what the readability is for my writing was the turning point. Let’s see how it will work for my ebook.