I enjoyed your blog post last June about Scott Reynolds Nelson’s book, AIN’T NOTHING BUT A MAN. It's a fantastic middle grade nonfiction read and an excellent mentor text to have on the bookshelf. With the combination of photos, paintings, illustrations, sidebars, text, and jaw-dropping appendices, how would you, as an agent, prepare a book proposal to sell such a book? What's the approach to packaging all the resources together to make an effective proposal or does the focus start with just the text?
The focus is the text, and the concept.
Then we take a look at readability, which drives us all nuts but is important for kids books, particularly fiction. A book that's hard to read won't find fans.
It's not dumbing down, not even close. It's recognizing what 4th grade readers can do. Sure some kids read at a higher level (probably most of us here) but the last thing we want to do is write books for only the top 1% of the reading population.
My goal with kids books is finding and selling books that kids love love love.
The way I had books I read over and over in elementary school.
All the backmatter comes after the story is fully developed.
And often we work with editors on this after they've acquired the book because how much back matter can depend a lot on the size of the book and the number of pages.
You don't need any of that to query.
You query with just the text.