Okay so you’re ready to write for the juvenile/middle grade market with a head full of ideas. How you go about this is essentially up to you. There are rules and rules are broken every few years. Presently, the genre is saturated with fantasy and horror. Thank heavens for Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series. I have written 5 juvies and am working on the 6th. Two are at various eBook providers and the others mentioned on my website. I never did write them thinking of the market. I wrote them as I saw them through a boy’s eyes, living and breathing them. One nearly turned into an adult story until I toned it down. How did I do this? I gave the subplot somewhat less importance and took out some harder edges, and not because I had to. I still want children to be children. For a time the Young Adult market was really suffering. Seemed all there was available was the Sweet Valley High series and stories about a child whose parents are divorced (or going through one) being farmed out to grandparents and learning life lessons. Boring to tears. Then E.L. Stine saved readers with his Goosebumps series and all of it’s copy-cats. Then Harry Potter came and its copy cats. Now we have the Twilight and Hunger Games books. They are getting gorier and there is a lot more bloodletting. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter proves one can do without the gore.
From what I’ve seen in the genre almost anything goes. A first time young native writer from Northern Canada wrote a book about glue-sniffing and drug-taking, etc, in his town There is so much swearing I could barely read the thing, never mind that the story went absolutely nowhere. But he was a native and therefore pandered to by the literati in Canada. I think the book may have won some award and not for crudity. Then came the recent Go The F0K To Sleep which isn’t really written for children but they may find the copy laying around the house. I also watched a commercial which said, “…freaking crazy…” which was a first on the tube for an ad I think.
On of my eBooks, Archie’s Gold is a mystery. Archie’s friends are only ex-cons and criminals and street people. I thought about making it rougher, but figured I made the mean streets mean enough.
So just write your book and see how it ends up. Don’t make your decision until the first draft is done. Don’t let anything interfere with your creative process. You are your own moral compass and will ultimately decide what you want to expose children to. Unfortunately, eBooks have no gatekeepers so the reins on writers are very loose.