top of page
  • shannonballoon

January Newsletter

2023 Has Been Quite a Year!

2023 Recap

2023 has been quite a year for the Middle Grade Matters podcast. For several years I’d considered starting a middle-grade-focused podcast, but it wasn’t until a couple of my favorite kid-lit podcasts went off the air that I decided to shake off my fear of putting myself out there and do it.

My first question was whether authors would be willing to be interviewed for a brand-new podcast, and my second was whether anyone would tune in to listen. When I sent out the first few emails inviting authors to be guests, it felt like being in the query trenches, but with one big difference—most of them said yes! (Thank you!)

During the next few months I recorded interviews and worked on building a following through new instagram and twitter accounts. I also learned how to edit and produce a podcast, and I got better at speed-reading middle grade books (there were weeks I read 2-3 to prep). When the podcast launched in September, 2023, the response was overwhelmingly positive. For this I am so grateful, because without you, the listeners, there would be no reason for the show.

As I move into 2024, this podcast is one of my favorite things to do. I love the interviews, discovering books I otherwise might not have, and being a part of the kid-lit community in a way I hadn’t experienced before. Thank you for listening, for being interviewed, for leaving reviews, and for your words of encouragement. It means so much, and has shown me how supportive the kid-lit community truly is.

Now, let’s take a look back at 2023. Twenty-six episodes aired, including interviews with:

  • Six debut authors

  • Four NYT bestselling authors

  • Two editors from publishing houses

  • One freelance editor / writing expert

  • One illustrator

Genres of middle grade fiction represented included:

  • Contemporary

  • Historical

  • Fantasy

  • Horror

  • Illustrated

  • Comedy

At the end of this Newsletter are all the episodes that aired. All are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you’ve missed any, I invite you to check them out.

On to 2024

In 2024 I have several goals for the Middle Grade Matters podcast, and I thought I’d share them with you.

  • Provide more insight on the middle grade publishing industry through interviews with both literary agents and publishing house editors.

  • Feature experts on the craft of writing (similar to my episode with Joel Brigham which aired in 2023).

  • Feature authors who have independently published (a/k/a self-published) middle grade novels so that we can learn more about that path to publication.

  • Explore the process of finding a literary agent with authors who have done this.

I’m always open to new ideas for episodes. You can find information on how to reach me, as well as my process for booking guests, on my Website.


If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the graphics below of all twenty-six episodes of the Middle Grade Matters podcast that aired in 2023. Each one is filled with insight, encouragement, and (I hope) a dose of entertainment. You can find them on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page