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Author: Jennifer Brozek

What Makes a Project a “Passion Project”?

What Makes a Project a “Passion Project”?

For me, a passion project is something that could not be sold in a traditional sense to the mainstream market, but you want — need — to create it anyway. Dear Penpal, Belgium 1980 is the kind of project that I could not sell to a traditional publication house despite it being a middle grade-appropriate cozy ghost story. Partly because it is told in 24 physical letters. Partly because while it is middle grade-appropriate, its ephemeral nature and subject matter will appeal to a broad range of ages — which makes it hard for any marketing department to categorize.

It’s not just a ghost story. Nor is it just a story of a Gen-X, latchkey kid trying to survive in a foreign country. Nor is it just a story about the importance of family (especially a military family) and the power of friendship. It is a project that defies conventional age, topic, and multimedia barriers.

For this passion project, the questions I get most often are: “Why physical letters?” and “Why Belgium in 1980?”

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