Writing and Selling Sci-Fi & Fantasy for Kids and Teens

Writing and Selling Sci-Fi & Fantasy for Kids and Teens

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Young adult and middle grade are two of the fastest growing and most robust fiction genres in publishing. These juvenile categories have a tradition of fantasy and sci-fi narratives that continues today with wizards, vampires, and clockwork princesses. The young adult and middle grade markets are rich with imaginative and fantastical stories, worlds, and characters.

What makes some stories stand out, and others unsuccessful, cliché, or,worst of all,left buried in the slush pile? How can you refine your craft to create novels at once lasting and fresh? How does writing for kids and teens differ from writing for adults? How can you capture the attention of an agent in this rich and extremely competitive market? In other words, how can you give your story the best chance to get published?

In this webinar, John M. Cusick will answer these questions and more, using his experience as a literary agent, author, and editor to explore the art and business of writing. This invaluable course with an industry insider will help authors open new doors in their craft and career.


  • How to write for young people,capturing the voice, narration, story, and style
  • How to use tropes, myths, and archetypal story structures to create striking, unforgettable fantasy & sci-fi tales
  • How to craft detailed, unique, engrossing worlds, full of history and depth
  • How to bring to life layered and compelling heroes, anti-heroes, villains, and antagonists
  • How to avoid clich√© and trend-chasing, and create wholly fresh, standout novels
  • How to win the interest of an agent in this competitive market.


John M. Cusick knows the business from both sides, as a literary agent for young adult and middle grade fiction at Scott Treimel NY, and as a young adult author. His debut novel, Girl Parts, was published by Candlewick Press in 2010, and his much-anticipated follow-up, Cherry Money Baby, is slated for 2013. His clients include debut novelists and veteran authors. John has lectured for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the Writers' League of Texas, and for Utah's Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. His pieces on writing for teens have appeared in Writer's Market, The New Inquiry, and on multiple online resources for writers. John is also a founder and managing editor of 2012 Saboteur Award-winning literary magazine, Armchair/Shotgun. He lives in Brooklyn and is at work on his third novel.


Writers for kids and teens who:

  • Are currently composing a sci-fi or fantasy novel
  • Wish to incorporate sci-fi and fantasy elements into their writing
  • Have been rejected by agents and editors, and want to evaluate why their novel didn't make the cut
  • Want a professional critique by a literary agent specializing in their market
  • Are ready to write their breakout novel
  • Have only self-published, but now are considering traditional publishing
  • Have non-juvenile publishing credits are making the jump to young adult and middle-grade.

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