A few months ago a debut author contacted me requesting that I create a companion Reader Guide for his middle-grade novel, per his editor’s request. The author had nary a clue what was being asked of him or how a guide would benefit the sale of the new novel. “Why bother?” he asked. “What difference can a guide make, anyway?” I explained that, once he knew the type of guide he or his editor/agent wanted created, it can serve as a solid investment in the longevity of the book’s shelf life. While some publishers employ their art department to create visually appealing works of art, most authors and illustrators are encouraged to seek out an experienced free-lancer, such as myself, for support. Reader’s Guides vary in size, shape, functionality, purpose, and in production price range. There are three guide basic formats to choose from — the Discussion, Activity, or Academic Guide….